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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letter

Letter to Mayor Lovero of Berwyn, IL

January 14, 2010

Mayor Robert J. Lovero

City of Berwyn

6700 26th St.

Berwyn, IL 60402

 

Dear Mayor Lovero:

 

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 several Berwyn citizens who report that a credibly accused Chicago child molesting cleric is now an employee in Berwyn. These citizens worry, as do we, that few (if any) of his neighbors or co-workers likely know little or nothing about the serious allegations he's faced-allegations of child molestation.

 

We know Frank Paduch hasn't been criminally charged or convicted, and that a civil lawsuit against him ended with a quiet settlement. But we also know that

-no Catholic official (that we know of) professes Paduch's "innocence,"

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

-at least four others have accused Paduch of molesting them,

- Paduch hasn't ever sued an accuser for defamation (the way some accused predators have),

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

-church officials, especially in the 1990s, rarely paid settlements unless they were convinced that child sex allegations were credible.

 

Finally, we also know that history, psychology and common sense tell us that those who molest kids rarely stop, and that the prudent course of action for civic officials is to err on the side of safety, not recklessness.

 

In light of all this, we are urging you to take immediate action to safeguard Berwyn's citizens. We're especially worried because he works near a school and in a community center where a theatre company is located.

 

We believe you have a duty to carefully screen potential staff members. Regardless of whether that happened with Paduch's hiring initially, we hope that you will thoroughly investigate his past now.

 

And if you find that these allegations against Paduch are credible, as we are confident you will, we hope you will suspend him and publicly 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 victims who still struggle daily with feelings of shame, guilt and betrayal-over both the sex crimes of Catholic clerics and the complicity of church officials.  

 

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 you and your staff to investigate whether or not Paduch lied or misled others on his application to work for the city. For the sake of children's safety, please consider this a formal request that you do launch such a probe.

 

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

 

--In 1997, a civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit was filed in Cook County alleging that Brother Frank Paduch abused a freshman at St. Rita High School in Chicago in 1980-81. Two years later, that lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount by the Chicago Archdiocese and Paduch's, Olympia Fields, IL -based religious order, the Augustinians (708 748 9500.) 

 

--The lawsuit alleged that Paduch "engaged in unpermitted, harmful and offensive sexual contact with a student and that the abuse was so extreme, outrageous and severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it." It also said his Catholic supervisors held Paduch out as a qualified Roman Catholic brother, religious instructor and counselor at the school where he was a theology teacher and coach. The student was a freshman. 

 

--During settlement negotiations in a separate case, a defense attorney admitted that church officials had received previous allegations against Paduch. We are aware of five alleged victims of Paduch.

 

--The defendants in the civil suit were represented by attorney James Geoly (312 840-7000).

 

--According to the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, at least one other known predator, Joshua James Hamilton, lives in Paduch's building. A couple of neighbors have told SNAP Hamilton lives in Paduch's apartment. http://www.isp.state.il.us/sor/offenderdetails.cfm?SORID=E09B5515&CFID=48396052&CFTOKEN=53083730&jsessionid=b0306a173238$1D$FA$B

 

--Paduch also worked in three counties in Texas including, Hardin, Chambers and Jefferson, as an official for the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas from 1988 until 2000.

 

Mr. Mayor, children are precious. They deserve protection. And your citizens deserve straight answers.

We hope to hear from you soon.

 

Barbara Blaine

President, SNAP

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

PO Box 6416

Chicago IL 60680

312 399 4747

 

Barbara Dorris

Outreach Coordinator, SNAP

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

6245 Westminster                               

St. Louis MO 63130

314 862 7688

 

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


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org