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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For immediate release:
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pair of Wisconsin clergy sex offenders expected to plead guilty

First convictions since high court upheld state’s sex predator “tolling” statute

Yet, if Torro and Soppe had remained in Wisconsin, statute would have long expired

Victims, families will be calling on passage of “Wisconsin Child Victims Act” after sentencing

WHAT

A former Catholic seminarian, Dale Soppe and a former Methodist and now current United Church of Christ minister, Rev. Angel Toro, will be pleading guilty tomorrow in Barron County to child sex assault.  Both men fled the state of Wisconsin years ago after committing their crimes and were brought back to face justice because Wisconsin law “tolls” the criminal stature on child abuse when an offender leaves the state.  Two weeks ago the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the tolling provision. 

The men, who brought the cases, after victim impact statements at sentencing, will hold an impromptu press conference with their families urging Wisconsin citizens to support a new anti-child abuse bill “The Wisconsin Child Victims Act,” co-sponsored by 35 state democrats and republicans. 

WHO

Two adults who were child victims of Soppe and Toro, one who lives in Barron County and who today lives in Florda, who are also members of SNAP or The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation’s oldest and largest self help organization for clergy sexual abuse survivors.

WHERE

Barron County Justice Center, 1420 State Highway 25 North, Barron, Wisconsin

WHEN

Toro is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:00 and Soppe at 2:00 p.m.

WHY

For several years, two men sexually assaulted as youngsters by Wisconsin clergy in Barron County and their families have been prodding the District Attorney to  bring charges against Dale Soppe, a former Catholic seminarian, and Angel Toro, a one time Methodist and now ordained United Church of Christ (UCC) minister.

Although the crimes occurred outside of the six year criminal stature of limitations on child sex crimes in Wisconsin committed before 1989, both Soppe and Torro fled the state.  Unknown, apparently, to both offenders, Wisconsin law “freezes” or “tolls” when they left the state, leaving time on their statute. 

Only recently, with the eruption of the clergy sex abuse crisis have Wisconsin prosecutors however, started to apply the state tolling provision and offenders like Soppe and Torro arrested and extradited to face charges.

Some 16 clergy have been prosecuted in Wisconsin using the tolling provision, most over the past four years.

Yet, if these same clergy had simply remained in the state, as the scores of most sex offenders from the state do, the statute would have long expired.

Last week in Milwaukee County, Brother David Nickerson, who confessed to Milwaukee police that he had raped and sexually assaulted a 8 year old altar boy on numerous occasions, and is now living outside St. Louis in a treatment compound run by the Catholic church, was held over for trial. 

That is why the victims of Toro and Soppe and their families will be calling upon Wisconsin citizens to call their legislators to support the “Wisconsin Child Victims Act,” an anti-child sex abuse law anticipated for introduction this fall in the state legislature.  The bill, which would eliminate the civil statute on child sex abuse and open a window for past claims, has some 35 democratic and republican co-sponsors.

CONTACT:
Tricia Guillen, wife of Douglas Guillen, who was assaulted by Toro and SNAP Florida members:  954.347.7817 (cell), 954.742.9815 (home)
Richard Hinde, assaulted by Soppe, and SNAP NW WI member:  715-837-1676
Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, Milwaukee:  414.429.7259 (cell)

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest self help organization for victims of clergy sexual abuse, with over 8.000 members in 63 chapters (SNAPnetwork.org).


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


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