Roster of Press Releases


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex abuse victims blast Charlotte Catholic officials

Diocese stays silent about “scandalous” lawsuit filed months ago

It says two priests molested a boy in Asheville, while a third man watched

Bishop should help “aggressively” determine whether charges are true or not

And if true, church officials should “reach out and help” others who may have been hurt

Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim will
-- criticize Charlotte's Catholic bishop about pedophile priests' crimes and church cover ups.
-- urge him to stop ignoring and start publicly discussing a recent “stunning” pedophile priest case, &
-- prod him to use his “considerable resources” to seek out and offer help to anyone who was hurt by priests, brothers, nuns, seminarians, and other church employees (especially a Charlotte pries who was named as a predator in a recent lawsuit)

She’ll also
-- discuss how common cases are that involve one victim and multiple priests,
-- urge anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered clergy sex crimes to call police & get help, &
-- current and former church employees to consider being “whistleblowers” and disclose what they know about priestly misdeeds

Tuesday, September 29, 11:15 a.m.

On the public sidewalk outside the Catholic diocese headquarters (‘chancery office’ or ‘pastoral center’), 1123 South Church Street, in Charlotte, N.C. (704-370-6299)

Two adults who were molested as kids by clergy and who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a Missouri woman who is the organization's national outreach director

In June, a 47 year old man, Scott B. Souder, filed a civil lawsuit in Asheville charging that two priests molested him while a third unidentified man watched. The clerics are Fr. Justin Paul Pechulis of the Charlotte Diocese and Fr. John McCole of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The complaint claims that church officials engaged in conspiratorial schemes to protect pedophile priests.

When the suit was filed, Charlotte diocesan spokesman said there would be no comment since church staff allegedly hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit. Now, after three months of essentially nothing but silence, SNAP wants Charlotte’s bishop to publicly address the lawsuit and use his diocesan website, parish bulletins, weekly newspaper and dozens of employees to aggressively reach out and help determine whether the allegations are true and, if so, find and help others who may have been hurt by the predators. The group wants the bishop to personally visit the

Some of the crimes allegedly happened in the 1970s at the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville, where Pechulis was pastor at the time.

McCole is now retired and Pechulis died in 1983. The alleged victim is represented by Philadelphia attorney Jay Abramowich, who has handled dozens of cases against pedophile priests. Defendants include the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the diocese of Charlotte, and McCole.

SNAP believes that Charlotte Catholic officials have made little or no real efforts to find and help those who have been sexually assaulted by clerics - whether priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers or lay employees. The self-help group also strongly feels that Charlotte's bishop has not honored his pledges to be 'open and transparent' in child sex abuse and cover up cases.

Roughly 15 Catholic bishops across the country have posted on their websites a list of the proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. SNAP has asked Charlotte church officials to do likewise. But their request has been ignored. Meanwhile, the diocese continues to face legal action for clergy misconduct.
--- In May, an Asheville Catholic music minister (Paul Lawrence Berrell) was charged with multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a minor—statutory rape—and indecent liberties with a child.
--- In June, a Charlotte diocesan priest Fr. John Schneider) was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting porn from the accused music minister's computer.
--- In February, another Catholic priest (Fr. Robert Yurgel) pled guilty of molesting a Charlotte boy. A civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit against that priest and the diocese is pending.

Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, David Clohessy 314 566 9790

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests