Press Release



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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Monday, December 22, 2008

Two groups complain to national panel about bishop

Organizations beg top Catholic committee to ‘discipline’ Braxton

They also push Belleville church officials to say where predators are living

“If you won’t defrock or supervise them, at least tell us where they are” they plead

At a sidewalk news conference, concerned Catholics and clergy sex abuse victims will announce that they are writing to a national church panel about Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton.

For the first time ever, they're urging
-- that panel to ‘excoriate’ Braxton for “excessively defending known predators” and for ignoring the groups’ letters and refusing to meet with them, and
-- Braxton to notify the public where his pedophile priests are now living.

They’ll also again urge Braxton to
-- apologize for recently calling a proven abuse victim an “alleged victim,” and
-- meet with them soon to discuss better ways to protect kids in the church.

TODAY, Monday, Dec. 22, 1:00 p.m.

Outside the Belleville Diocese headquarters (‘chancery’), 222 South 2nd Street in Belleville

Leaders of two Catholic reform groups (FOSIL, the Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity) and of a victims’ self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

For the first time, the groups are writing the National Review Board, a lay committee set up in 2002 to monitor the church’s on-going sex abuse and cover up crisis. It is headed by Judge Michael Merz of Dayton OH (937 512 1550, They want the NRB to formally censure Braxton for his ‘continued callous mishandling’ of clergy sex cases.

In the past, the groups have urged Braxton to take a number of abuse prevention steps, including a) meet with them, b) post the names of predator priests in/on the church newspaper and website, and c) put proven, admitted and credibly accused predators (like Kownacki) into treatment centers. Braxton has consistently ignored these requests.

So now, for the first time, the groups are asking Braxton to at lesat disclose warn neighbors where the diocese’s pedophile priests are living. (SNAP and FOSIL estimate that there are roughly a dozen such men living throughout the diocese among unsuspecting neighbors and getting little or no supervision.)

The organizations are upset that Braxton is spending millions to appeal two clergy sex cases involving ‘proven predators’ to higher courts: (Fr. Kenneth Roberts this past summer and Fr. Raymond Kownacki, earlier this fall).

In a recent letter to southern Illinois parishioners, Braxton refers to a Kownacki victim, who won a trial, as an ‘alleged’ victim. SNAP considers his “pathetic, hurtful and mean-spirited” given that a jury found the abuse happened and church officials have never even claimed it didn’t. They want Braxton to publicly apologize to the victim and his family.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566 9790 cell
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Coordinator (314) 862 7688
Ann Harter of Belleville, FOSIL Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity (618) 593 7891, (618) 277 7594

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests