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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

Clergy sex abuse victims blast Catholic officials & hospital

Priest who worked at 7 New Jersey sites just pled guilty to molesting a child

Yet SNAP says his Union City superiors fight boy in court using ‘technicalities’

And for 5 months, St. Mary’s ignores SNAP’s plea to help find pedophile’s victims

“Cowardice & legal hardball maneuvers,” violate national church policy, group believes

After a sidewalk news conference, child sex abuse victims will
--- harshly criticize a New Jersey Catholic group and a Passaic Catholic hospital,
--- urge a religious order to drop its ‘hair-splitting, hardball legal moves’ and let a young abuse victim ‘have his day in court’, and
--- try to hand deliver a letter to hospital administrators about a recently-convicted pedophile priest who worked there.

The letter asks hospital staff to
-- write former patients and staff and patients asking if he hurt them too,
-- put announcements about the pedophile in the hospital and on its website,
-- send out a news release to area media about him, and
-- do all they can to prod victims to come forward, get help and contact law enforcement, so that he can be successfully prosecuted and jailed for a long time.

Friday, Feb.13, 1:30 p.m.

Outside St. Mary's Hospital, 350 Boulevard (between Oak St. & Howe Ave.) in Passaic, N.J.

Three clergy molestation victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a Missouri man who is the group’s long time national director and its North Carolina & New Jersey directors.

Last week, Fr. Robert Yurgel pled guilty to molesting a 14 year old North Carolina boy in 1999. Also last week, the Charlotte Observer disclosed that Yurgel’s supervisors are trying to get the civil case tossed out the statute of limitations and other legal technicalities, even though the priest admitted repeatedly abusing the boy.

SNAP believes it is inherently immoral for alleged spiritual leaders to try and exploit archaic and arbitrary time limits and hid behind other similar legal maneuvers in child sex cases, especially when the guilt of the predator is undisputed. The group is calling on Yurgel’s bosses, with the Union City-based Capuchin Franciscan Friars (201 863 4036), to ‘fight clean, not fight dirty’ on ‘the merits, not the technicalities.’

In April 2008, Yurgel was arrested while working at St. Mary’s hospital (973 365 4300). And last September, almost five months ago, SNAP asked hospital administrators to reach out to anyone who suspected, or suffered Yurgel’s crimes. Their request has been ignored, but they are trying again now that the priest has pled guilty.

Yurgel worked as St. Mary’s chaplain starting in 1999. From 1993-96, he studied at Our Lady of Lourdes Friary in Paterson. Yurgel also worked at three area parishes: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Passaic, Our Lady of Lourdes in Patterson, and Conception in the Bronx. He sometimes also said mass at St. Francis Catholic Church in Hackensack.

SNAP feels that church officials in North Carolina and New Jersey have a duty to help reach out to others who may be suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.

The Capuchins have admitted it is paying for his legal defense. The hospital is located within the Paterson Diocese (973 777 8818).

Attorneys Seth Langson (704 377 1504) and James E. Ferguson (704 375 8461) represent Yurgel’s victim (who is now in his early 20s). Yurgel’s criminal attorneys are George Laughrun and Andrew Murray. The Charlotte diocese is represented by Richard Lucey. All the attorneys are from Charlotte. The civil suit, filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court (NC), seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial.

Mark Crawford of Woodbridge Township, NJ SNAP Director 732 632 7687 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790 cell
David Fortwengler of Charlotte, SNAP North Carolina Director 704 562 4529

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests