Press Release



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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For Immediate Release:
Thursday, April 10, 2008

For More Information:
David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP 314 566 9790
Patrick Noaker, attorney 612 961 1307

State appeals court refuses to toss out clergy sex case

Judges deny last ditch appeal by Catholic archdiocese

Ruling moves Indiana’s first ever clergy molestation trial closer

Attorney says victim is “anxious to finally see archbishop face hard questions”

An Indiana appeals court has given a green light to a civil lawsuit against the state’s largest Catholic institution alleging child sexual abuse and cover-ups. The result may be the first, full-scale trial against a pedophile priest in the state’s history.

In a two page ruling issued on April 7, the Indiana Court of Appeals refused to hear an appeal by lawyers for the Indianapolis Archdiocese. They claim that an alleged victim of former priest Harry Monroe waited too long to take legal action and that his case should be tossed out. The court, however, disagreed, and are letting the case proceed to trial.

Experts estimate that fewer than 30 civil clergy sex abuse cases have ever gone to trial. The overwhelming majority are either settled out of court or rejected because the statute of limitations has expired.

“This brave man deserves what other crime victims have; a chance for his day in court,” said Patrick Noaker, attorney for the victim. “He really wants to see Indiana’s top Catholic officials have to explain, under oath, why they refused to call the police about this serial predator and kept quietly moving him around so he could molest dozens of innocent boys.”

Noaker predicts that a trial will be scheduled soon.

“Hundreds of times Catholic officials across the country have successfully exploited legal technicalities and kept devastating child sex crimes under wraps,” said David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We are thrilled in this instance they have failed.”

At least a dozen lawsuits charge that church officials knew of Monroe’s child sex crimes but kept them secret while moving him to new parishes with no warning.

Some news accounts refer to Monroe as an ex-priest, and he was suspended from parish work in 1984. However, in his deposition, he says the archdiocese never ‘defrocked’ or ‘laicized’ him, which is required when the Vatican wants to permanently oust a priest.

Monroe now lives in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee.

Noaker’s firm represents dozens and has represented hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims in all faith groups.

Contact David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP 314 566 9790

Patrick Noaker, attorney 612 961 1307

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests