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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For immediate release:
Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2004

For more information:
Michael H. Knellinger Chair, Dayton Voice of the Faithful 937-470-3489
Kristine Ward National Vice President, Voice of the Faithful 937-293-1742
Christy Miller SNAP Cincinnati 513-383-2198
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314-566-9790 cell,

Sex Abuse Victims Support Groups Want Probation Terms Enforced on Convicted Ohio Priest

Groups Write Judge

Two support groups for clergy sex abuse victims are urging a judge to more vigorously enforce the conditions of probation that she laid down for a Catholic priest convicted of crimes against minors.

The local chapters of Voice of the Faithful [VOTF] and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP]) are writing Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Katherine Huffman about Father Thomas Kuhn.

Last June, Kuhn pled "no contest" to ten counts of providing alcohol to minors and one count of indecency for masturbating in front of a minor. He also faces several current civil molestation lawsuits.

In July, Huffman sentenced Kuhn to five years probation with stringent requirements. At the time, she advised Kuhn that any violation would result in revocation of the probation and immediate incarceration for the maximum term allowed by law.

Among other steps, Kuhn was ordered to stay away from anyone under the age of 21, seek treatment for his alcohol, sexual and gambling issues, and write, within 60 days of sentencing, letters of apology to the victims, parishes and schools that where harmed by his actions

However, VOTF and SNAP say they've seen no evidence that Kuhn has "written the apology letters and or sought treatment for his sexual difficulties."

Further, the groups are upset that in September, Kuhn showed up at Elder High School in Cincinnati, violating his probation restriction against being around youngsters.

"Church officials contend students were gone that day," said Mike Knellinger Co-Chairperson of Dayton, VOTF. "That may or may not be true. But he has no business going anywhere near a school at any time." Knellinger added that even on days when school is not in session, some students are around, rehearsing for plays, practicing sports or meeting with teachers.

Kuhn's presence on campus was witnessed by several individuals and acknowledged by Father Joseph Binzer, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati

"He was at Elder the day after the tragic death of a student." So if Kuhn was with kids, they may have been in a particularly vulnerable condition, which makes his showing up there even more alarming," said Christy Miller the Cincinnati Area SNAP Director.

Kuhn's probation order also called for him to stay away from establishments that serve alcohol, to pay a fine of approximately $10,000, to forfeit his passport, and to remain in the state of Ohio.

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), is the nation's oldest and largest support group for victims of clergy sexual abuse with support groups in over 60 cities nation wide.

VOTF (Voice of the Faithful) is an organization of Catholics intent upon supporting victims of sexual abuse by priests and working to change the environment in the Church that allowed it to occur.

A copy of the letter to Judge Mary Katherine Huffman, sent today by hardcopy and e-mail, is below:

============================================

December 29, 2004

Dear Judge Huffman:

Last June, Father Thomas Kuhn stood in your courtroom and pled "no contest" to ten counts of providing alcohol to minors and one count of indecency for masturbating in front of a minor. He now also faces several current civil molestation lawsuits.

In July, you sentenced Kuhn to five years probation with stringent requirements. At the time, you advised Kuhn that any violation would result in revocation of the probation and immediate incarceration for the maximum term allowed by law.

Among other steps, Kuhn was ordered to stay away from anyone under the age of 21, seek treatment for his alcohol, sexual and gambling issues, and write, within 60 days of sentencing, letters of apology to the victims, parishes and schools that where harmed by his actions

In speaking with Kuhn's victims, and with the pastors and principal of the parishes and school who were to receive letters of apology, we have been told that no such letters have been received.

Further, we are upset that in September, Kuhn showed up at Elder High School in Cincinnati, the day after the tragic death of an Elder student, violating his probation restriction against being around youngsters. Kuhn's presence on campus was witnessed by several individuals and acknowledged by Father Joe Binzer, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Your Honor, you yourself said in the courtroom last summer that Thomas Kuhn was remorseless and that he "just didn't get it". Apparently nothing as changed... Apparently it is acceptable for him to ignore or pick and choose which conditions of probations that he will follow.

It is our hope that the court will look further into this current situation with Kuhn and make sure that our young people are protected from further transgressions by this man.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Knellinger
Chairperson, Dayton Voice of the Faithful

Kristine Ward
National Vice President, Voice of the Faithful

Christy Miller
Leader, SNAP Cincinnati
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

 

 


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


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