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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

Unusual new lawsuit by clergy sex abuse victim is announced

Predator molested child and manipulated & got his mom's estate

Then, when child molester died, he gave money to Episcopal church

Diocesan officials admit abuse & apologize but won't help wounded man, SNAP says

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk conference, a Philadelphia clergy sex abuse victim and his attorney will disclose and discuss a lawsuit against local Episcopal church officials which charges that
-- a prominent minister repeatedly molested a boy,
-- had him involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, and
-- manipulated the victim's mother into leaving her substantial property and assets to the cleric, cutting her son (the victim) out of her will altogether.

The group will urge the Pennsylvania diocese to
-- respond to the lawsuit with compassion, not combativeness, and
-- avoid exploiting and hiding behind legal technicalities (like Pennsylvania's predator-friendly statute of limitations law).

Wednesday, June 10th, 10:30 a.m.

Outside the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania headquarters, 240 South 4th Street (corner of Locust) in Philadelphia

The 81 year old victim, his attorney, and two clergy sex abuse victims who are directors of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a California woman who is SNAP's western regional director

More than 60 years ago, and over an eight year period, an Episcopal priest, Rev. Gibson Bell, repeatedly raped and sodomized then-teenaged Ralph White at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Wynnewood, PA . In addition, according a recently filed civil lawsuit, Bell also manipulated White's mother into giving him her entire estate, leaving White with nothing.

Church officials admit White was molested and posted on their website a "public apology" to him for the "the horrific physical and sexual abuse and exploitation" he experienced and for "fail(ing) to address adequately the injuries and injustices" he suffered "both by the acts of a priest and the failure of the church to adequately care for him."

Now deceased, Bell is the founder of the Montgomery School and a scion of Main Line society. When White threatend to make Bell's crimes public, Bell conspired to have him arrested, imprisoned and, ultimately committed to Norristown State Hospital. During his imprisonment, White was subject to shock therapy and threatened with a lobotomy. Bell left a portion of White's mom's estate to All Saints Church in Wynnewood, where White was repealtedly raped and sodomized by Bell.

The lawsuit also charges that the diocese is breaching its duty, and has come into wrongful possession of Mr. White's property and should return it to him immediately. Church officials tried to have White's suit dismissed. On May 28, however, they lost the first round of legal challenges, and must now file an official response by June 22 .

More information on White's situation can be found at

White is represented by Philadelphia attorney Robert A. Wade of Wade, Goldstein (610-296-1800 office, 610-724-9602 cell).

Joelle Castiex of Newport Beach CA (949-322-7434), David Clohessy of St. Louis (314-566-9790), Karen Polisir of Horsham PA (267-992-9463)

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests