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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Monday, November 10, 2008

Clergy sex abuse victims want action on ten predatory bishops

Clergy sex abuse victims want action on ten predatory bishops

For first time ever, a church panel just announced that one of them is guilty

Group wants a new national abuse committee created to help resolved such cases

It also releases a list of suspended predators who committed more crimes recently

Since so few pedophile priests are jailed or supervised, this trend will grow, SNAP says

WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will call on
-- ten dioceses to investigate child sex abuse allegations against current and former bishops, &
-- the US bishops conference to create a new panel to probe sex charges against bishops

They will also
-- release a list of suspended pedophile priests who’ve recently gone on to commit more crimes, largely because church officials refuse to provide them with supervision and/or treatment &;

-- repeat their public call, issued yesterday, to the head of the US bishops conference to resign because of recent abuse and cover up cases and disclosures in his archdiocese (including his secret decision to keep a convicted predator priest on his payroll even now).

WHEN

TODAY, Monday, Nov. 10, 2:30 p.m.

WHERE

Outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, where hundreds of America’s Catholic bishops are meeting this week (700 Aliceanna Street, 410-385-3000)

WHO

Several clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters, including a Chicago woman who founded a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY

For the first time ever, a week ago, a diocesan panel announced that an alleged predator bishop is guilty of molesting kids. At least ten other bishops have been similarly accused, but essentially remain in ‘limbo,’ their whereabouts unknown and little or no monitoring or resolution of the charges against them. SNAP now wants other diocesan panels to investigate child sex allegations against them.

While some of the accused bishops have attracted considerable attention (Anthony O'Connell in Florida & Thomas Dupre in Massachusetts), several others have not (Louis Gelineau in Rhode Island, Joseph Hart in Wyoming, & Kendrick Williams in Kentucky. Only two (O’Connell; Rembert Weakland in Wisconsin) have admitted abuse. (NOTE:  Rembert Weakland in Wisconsin admitted abusing an adult).   http://www.bishop-accountability.org/bishops/accused/

SNAP believes it’s irresponsible and reckless to let accused pedophile prelates walk free with little or no supervision and no adjudication of the charges against them. Hundreds of predatory priests won’t be criminally prosecuted and aren’t being defrocked. But virtually none of the predatory bishops face either penalty/discipline or even the slightest supervision, SNAP says

The group also believes it’s very tough for a local diocesan review board, appointed by a bishop, to objectively look into child sex allegations against that bishop. So SNAP is urging that a new national panel be created for this purpose (despite their strong belief that all clergy allegations be handled by police).

Massachusetts has the most accused bishops, two of whom are still alive (George Rueger of Worchester and Dupre of Springfield) and two who are deceased (Christopher Weldon of Springfield and Timothy Harrington of Worchester). Two others worked in the Palm Beach Florida diocese (Joseph Symons and O’Connell). A few (Mahony in California, Egan in New York) have apparently been wrongly accused.

Now retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart faces the most allegations of any bishop. Civil lawsuits by six men he molested in Kansas City have been settled, some as recently as August 2008. A children’s home in Torrington, Wyoming dedicated a residence hall to Hart and has rebuffed efforts to change the name.

At least 31 men report having been sexually abused as kids during the 1950s and 1960s by Bishop Lawrence Soens when Soens taught at an Iowa City school. He went on to head the Sioux City diocese and is now retired. On Monday, the Davenport diocese said that Soens did abuse some of the boys.

SNAP is also releasing a list of pedophile priests who, while suspended and unsupervised, committed more crimes recently. SNAP predicts this will be a growing trend, as predators get inadequate or no therapy or  monitoring, and live on their own. Instead, SNAP believes those who cannot be jailed should be forced to live at independently, remote, professionally run treatment centers with full disclosure to nearby residents and law enforcement.

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915, Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044 cell, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home

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