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Maine AG Finds Diocese Put Kids "At Risk of Abuse"
New Report Says 65 Clergy/Church Workers Were Accused
Bishop's Self-Reported Figures Contradict AG's Findings
SNAP Calls On Witnesses & Other Victims To Come Forward
Leaders of the nation's largest self-help group for clergy abuse victims today asked anyone who experienced, witnessed or suspected abuse by Maine clergy to "somehow find the courage to come forward" in the wake of the state Attorney General Stephen Rowe's new report on the Catholic molestation crisis.
"The AG's single most significant and troubling finding, we believe, is that a 'number of former priests and clergy members may pose a continuing risk to the public,'" said David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). "So it's imperative that anyone with knowledge of these molesters and their activities and whereabouts do the right thing and come forward."
The AG has confirmed what we long suspected and feared," Clohessy said. "His investigation has found that 'the Diocese's failure to notify parishioners (about abusive priests) placed children and adolescents at risk of abuse.'"
"Somewhere out there is a victim, or a victim's relative, or a former church employee who has information about possible crimes but hasn't spoken up yet," Clohessy said. "Now more than ever, it's critical that he or she finds the strength to contact police, prosecutors, therapists, or support groups, so that children are protected from these dangerous men."
No new criminal charges are being filed against abusive priests or their supervising bishops largely because of what Clohessy called "antiquated laws," some of which may still need further reform.
Clohessy is also troubled by the apparent discrepancy between the numbers of accused clerics disclosed by Bishop Joseph Gerry and found by the AG.
"Gerry says there were 41 accused priests, but the AG says there were 58,'" said Clohessy,. "Clearly, the bishop has some explaining to do."
Seven of the accused investigated by the AG were Catholic employees or lay people.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests