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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Clergy sex group appeals to NYC Cardinal

Clergy sex group appeals to NYC Cardinal

“Parishioners are intimidating victims,” they say

SNAP to Egan: “Make Catholics take town ‘predator’s shrine’”

“Publicly praising pedophile priest is unhealthy,” self help group believes

Victims blast archdiocese for “moving slowly & secretly” in the recent case

In last 5 years, at least two pedophile priests worked at prominent Harlem parish

What:

At a Manhattan sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will blast New York Cardinal Edward Egan for

-- not disclosing the whereabouts of a high-profile, recently-suspended pedophile priest, and

-- letting parishioners erect a ‘shrine’ to the accused predator and make harsh public comments about his victims, creating an atmosphere that intimidates other victims into staying silent.

Later they will hand out fliers door-to-door in Harlem near a parish where the priest worked. (In recent weeks, he’s been accused of molesting at least ten boys). The leaflets urge Catholics to

-- ask everyone they know if they were molested by two pedophile priests who worked there,

-- urge victims and witnesses to call police and get independent help, and

-- defend their accused pastor privately, so other victims aren’t intimidated from speaking up

When:

TODAY, Tuesday, Oct.21

Where:
Noon – In Manhattan, outside archdiocesan chancery office, 1011 First Ave at 55th

2:00 p.m. - In Harlem, outside Church of St. Charles Borromeo, 211 W. 141st St. (near 7th Ave.)

Who:
Three men who were molested by priests (including a Harlem man victimized by this predator and a Missouri man who is the national director of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Details:

Last month, the Manhattan DA’s office disclosed that ten men have now accused a high-profile, politically-connected priest, Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, of molesting them as kids. In August, the New York archdiocese suspended him from his post at St. Charles Borromeo.

At St. Charles, some parishioners have erected a ‘shrine’ to Harris, with signs on the fence outside the church expressing support for him. SNAP believes this is dangerous because it deters others who are being or have been molested from speaking up. It also rubs salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of those Harris has already hurt. SNAP wants Egan to force parishioners to remove the ‘shrine.’

Harris has allegedly denied the charges but won’t speak publicly. He helped organize the Pope’s spring visit to New York, chairs the archdiocesan priests’ council, gave the invocation at Gov. Paterson's inauguration, and has been called ‘a rising star’ within the church.

SNAP feels the archdiocese moved too slowly and ‘severely mishandled’ the case. For the sake of public safety, the group wants Egan to disclose where Harris is living now.

Another priest assigned to the parish was convicted of molesting a 12-year-old girl in 2003, and sentenced to a prison term of four months, according to the NY Times.

The first Harris victim to speak publicly about his abuse is a former police officer, Eric Crumbley, who now pastors the Harlem Faith Center in NY (646) 552-7660).

Harris was ordained in 1972 and Crumbley’s allegations stem from that time period when Harris worked at the Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family on 125th Street. Other accusations involve students at Cathedral Prep, where Harris taught. The school has since closed.

Contact:
David Clohessy of St. Louis MO SNAP national director (314) 566-9790
Bob Hoatsen 862 368 2800, Barbara Dorris, SNAP outreach director (314) 862 7688

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


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