Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letter

Letter to the Colorado Bar Association

Jan. 13, 2010

Charles C. Turner - Executive Director
Colorado Bar Association
1900 Grant St, 9th Floor
Denver, CO 80203

Dear Mr. Turner:

We are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our goal is to help protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. We believe that, as responsible adults, we need to do everything we can to create a welcoming climate, not a hostile one, for abuse victims, young and old, to come forward, call police, get help, expose predators, protect others, and start healing. We also believe that, as responsible adults, we need to warn families about potentially dangerous predators.

These are our reasons for writing you now.

We've been contacted recently by two concerned Kansas City Catholics who report that a credibly accused Kansas City predator priest personally and recently told them that he is now a lawyer in Colorado. These Catholics worry, as do we, that none of his neighbors or co-workers likely know little or nothing of the serious allegations he's faced-allegations of child molestation.

We know Michael E. Brewer hasn't been criminally charged or convicted, and that a civil lawsuit against him ended with no clear resolution due to a technicality. But we also know that

-prevailing in litigation because of a technical defense is no "vindication,"

-no KC diocesan official professes Brewer's "innocence,"

-no one has ever recanted sex abuse allegations against Brewer,

-Brewer resigned his clerical position when accused (which was unusual in the early 1990s),

-even church officials admit that very few child sex accusations against priests are false or mistaken

-most priests who are 'cleared' after wrongful allegations are restored to ministry (and Brewer hasn't been).

We believe your organization has a duty to carefully screen potential members. Regardless of whether that happened with Brewer initially, we hope that you will thoroughly investigate his past now.

And if you find that these allegations against Brewer, as we are confident you will, we hope you will warn unsuspecting families about him, because essentially 'endorsing' or ignoring likely child molesters is problematic in two ways.

First, it rubs salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of many Catholics and victims who still struggle daily with feelings of shame, guilt and betrayal-over both the sex crimes of clerics and the complicity of bishops.

And second, it deters others with information about sex crimes- both victims and witnesses- from contacting the police, from getting help, from speaking up, and from preventing future abuse. When they see predators escape justice with technicalities, and their supervisors staying silent and doing nothing, many victims and witnesses feel powerless and depressed, and opt to keep quiet rather than disclose their pain, hope for justice, and end up being betrayed again.

We believe these facts give adequate reasons for your Association to investigate whether or not Brewer lied or misled them on his application to become an attorney. For the sake of children's safety, please consider this a formal request that you do so.

To help with any investigation you might undertake, let us provide you with at least some of the facts:

In the 1990s, according to the Kansas City Star, Brewer was sent to "an unnamed treatment center, after several families at a KC parish accused him of improperly touching their boys." The priest was previously "accused of caressing a boy's buttocks" two years earlier. But the KC diocese vicar general, Fr. Norman Rotert (816 550 4357 cell), admitted that "we would have been better off to have sent him to a national center for evaluation" sooner. (

Then-Jackson County prosecutor Claire McCaskill criticized the diocese for refusing to provide names of parishioners who had accused Brewer.

In the 1990s, Brewer was sued by a Kansas City man (Michael Gibson) and his parents (Narron and Marianne Gibson) for allegedly sexually abusing Michael when he was a teenager in 1990. The suit charged that after "watching movies in the rectory, and in the early morning hours while Michael slept, Father Brewer touched and fondled (him) in a "sexual, offensive and unwelcome manner." Brewer has maintained his innocence.

In 1997, the Missouri Supreme Court tossed out the lawsuit because of the statute of limitations.

Now, two concerned Catholics have alerted us to the fact that Brewer is a lawyer in Colorado. We are urging KC and Denver Catholic officials to "warn unsuspecting families about him and reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered any crimes or misdeeds" by Brewer.

In a number of cases across the country, bishops have made deals with predator priests to pay for their education in other fields if the priest will quietly move elsewhere. We are asking Kansas City's bishop to disclose whether he or his predecessors had such an arrangement with Brewer.

Internet searches give Brewer's business address as 1123 Spruce Street in Boulder (303 367 5475) and suggests (though SNAP is not certain) he's the director of the Brett Family Foundation (303 442 1200), a non-profit that helps "disadvantaged youth" and "underserved communities" according to its website.

Brewer apparently lived in Silver Spring MD, the home of the Catholic church's primary treatment facility for predator priests. Brewer was ordained in 1986, is around 50 years old, and reportedly still has family in the KC area.

Brewer's alleged crimes happened at St. Elizabeth parish (75th & Main St.) where KC's most notorious predator priests (Msgrs. Thomas O'Brien & Thomas Reardon) also worked. Brewer also worked in Blue Springs MO.

Attorneys involved in litigation about Brewer include James R. Wyrsch (816-221-0080) and Michael P. Joyce (816-421-0644) represented Brewer. Sylvester James, Jr. (816-472-6800), Nancy E. Kenner (816-931-1400) and Brian C. Fries (816-460-5326) represented the Gibsons. James P. Tierney (816-460-5835), William J. Stapleton and Brian J. Madden (816-701-1100) represented Brewer's employer, the Kansas City MO diocese (816-756 2685).

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you.

David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143

314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915

Barbara Dorris
Outreach Coordinator, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster
St. Louis MO 63130

314 862 7688

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests