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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Two trials are set for local alleged predatory clerics

A former high school teacher and two priests are accused

One of them, a priest, hasn’t ever been publicly accused before

Clergy sex victims urge school and church officials to “reach out” to the wounded

Group also wants proven, admitted & credibly accused molesters on put on church website

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child sex abuse victims will disclose two trial dates for three Seattle area Catholic clerics who are accused of sexual misdeeds.

They’ll urge Seattle’s archbishop to personally visit parishes where a popular accused predator priest worked, urging victims and witnesses to come forward, and
-- permanently post on his website the names, photos and whereabouts of predator priests & ex-priests,

And they’ll push Catholic school officials to -aggressively reach out’ to students, former students and alums, prodding anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to come forward, get help and call police.

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 1:00 p.m.

Outside O’Dea High School, 802 Terry Avenue (corner of Columbia S), in Seattle

Four clergy molestation victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a Missouri woman who is the national outreach director

Trial dates have been set in two civil sexual misconduct cases involving local clerics. In both cases, Catholic officials failed in their efforts to get the lawsuits tossed out on the statute of limitations and other technical defenses. Both are pending in King County Superior Court.

One alleges that in 1969-1970, Fr. August Banasky "continuously" abused a sixth/seventh grader at St. Paul’s parish in southeast Seattle and that in 1974 Brother Edward Courtney abused the same boy during his 9th grade year at O’Dea High School. (Months earlier, Courtney admitted molesting a student at a Chicago Catholic school, was removed, and quietly sent to O'Dea.) In 2005, the suit says, memories "began flooding back" and the man entered therapy.

The other lawsuit alleges that "under the guise of providing therapy and guidance," an archdiocesan priest, Fr. John Sarkies, sexually violated a vulnerable 24 year old prospective seminarian in 2004 & 2005. (Sarkies was seeing the young man as a “spiritual director,” the suit says.) Church officials "knew or should have known" Sarkies "had a history of such relationships with parishioners," according to the suit. In Sept. 2007, Sarkie was suspended from his post at Holy Rosary parish.

The Seattle Archdiocese is a defendant in both suits. The Seattle-based Christian Brothers of North America is also a defendant in the first suit (because Courtney was a member of the religious order).

SNAP believes that others with information about these predators may exist and that other victims may be trapped in silence and self blame. The group believes anyone with suspicions or knowledge of clergy sex crimes or cover ups have a moral and civic duty to contact law enforcement.

They want Seattle’s archbishop to personally visit parishes where Banasky and Sarkie worked and prod anyone with knowledge or suspicions of his misdeeds to call police immediately. They also want school officials (at St. Paul's and O'Dea) to use alumni lists, websites, and other resources to find and offer help to others who may have been hurt by Banasky and Courtney.

Banasky, as best SNAP can tell, hasn't ever been publicly accused of abuse before. In 1998, Courtney pleaded guilty to a felony indecent-liberties charge.

The Banasky/Courtney trial date is July 12, 2010. The Sarkie trial date is June 2012. Banasky is deceased, Courtney lives in the Seattle area, and Sarkies now lives in Arizona.

The victims are represented by Seattle attorneys M. Lorena González (206 622 8000) and Rebecca Roe (206.622.8000).

Roughly 15 Catholic dioceses have posted on their websites the identities of proven, admitted and credibly accused church employees. SNAP is asking Archbishop Alexander Brunett, for the sake of public safety, to do likewise.

Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP 314 503 0003
David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP 314 566 9790

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests