Press Release



Roster of Press Releases


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For immediate release:
Saturday, August 30, 2008

Clergy sex abuse victim to hand out fliers to Mass-goers

A predator priest worked at local Catholic parish years ago

Earlier this week, jury awarded $5 million to a man he molested

Head of support group urges others “who saw, suspected or suffered abuse” to come forward


A clergy sex abuse victim will hand leaflets to Catholics as they leave Mass. The fliers will prod anyone with information about a notorious pedophile priest to get help and contact police. It also urges parishioners to contact their bishop and insist that he work harder to ‘protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded’


Sunday, Aug. 31, 10:00 a.m.


Outside St. Joseph Catholic church, 101 N. Centennial Street, (618 893 2276), Cobden, IL 


A St. Louis man who was sexually abused by a priest and is the long time national director of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (


On Wednesday, a St. Clair jury awarded $5 million to an Illinois man who was repeatedly molested by Fr. Raymond Kownacki in the 1970s.

In the 1980s, Kownacki was sent to work at this Cobden parish, even though Belleville Catholic officials knew of allegations that he’d sexually assaulted several kids in earlier assignments.

SNAP suspects there are others who have information about Kownacki’s crime. Since he lives alone in Dupo near a school, is still a priest and faces no criminal charges, SNAP wants them to come forward, get help, and contact police so that he might be charged, convicted and jailed.

Kownacki’s also accused of abusing a teenaged girl and performing an abortion on her.

Jim Wisniewski of Champaign was sexually abused for five years during his childhood by Kownacki in a Salem, Illinois parish. In 2002, Wisniewski sued the diocese because they knew of Kownacki’s crimes but moved him from town to town, not warning parishioners, police or the public about him. Last week he won that lawsuit, and his attorneys announced they have a second, similar lawsuit they’ve filed too.

On Thursday, SNAP wrote to Belleville’s Catholic Bishop Edward Braxton begging him to “resist the temptation to delay justice, forestall healing, waste money, and further hurt victims and Catholics by dragging this horror out even longer” by appealing the jury’s decision to a higher court.

 The victim’s attorneys are Mike Weilmuenster and Steve Wigginton of Belleville (618 257 2222). The diocese was represented by attorneys David Wells of the St. Louis firm of Thompson Coburn.

Parish staff include Fr. Federico Higuera, Deacon Patrick Patterson & Sherri Haddick. 618-893-2368.

CONTACT - David Clohessy 314 566 9790, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests