SNAP
Press
Release



BACK TO:


Roster of Press Releases



 

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

New records show "Playboy to Priest" lived in mid-MO

His presence here is publicly disclosed for the first time

A new IL court ruling last week let predator 'off the hook'

He faces allegations of molesting children in three states

But a St. Louis area firefighter's case against him is now thwarted

Clergy sex abuse victims seek out others who were hurt by 2 notorious clerics

Jeff City bishop should "aggressively reach out" to victims and witnesses, group says

WHAT
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
-- disclose that a notorious Texas predator priest lived (and may have worked) in mid-Missouri,
-- provide two copies of previously-secret church records proving this, and
-- discuss a new Illinois Supreme Court ruling that lets the suspended cleric to escape legal action.

Afterwards, they'll try hand deliver a letter about 2 high-profile predator priests to local Catholic officials.

The letter urges church staff to
-- admit that both priests are dangerous and spent time in their diocese,
-- put notices about the two predators in every parish bulletin, begging victims and witnesses to come forward,
-- 'come clean' about other secret settlements involving predator priests and other church employees, and
-- disclose the identities of any other child molesting clerics who have changed their names.

WHEN
Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 10:45 a.m.

WHERE
At the Jefferson City Diocese headquarters (573-635-9127), 2207 W. Main St. (near Forest Hill Ave.) in Jefferson City

WHO
Three victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization's long time national director

WHY
New court records show that a notorious, nationally-known author and predator priest, Fr. Kenneth J. Roberts, lived in the Jefferson City Diocese. Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a civil case against Roberts could not proceed because the victim didn't come forward quickly enough.

The group will release copies of two documents proving this. One is a letter from Roberts to his bishop, indicating that he's living in Osage Beach and has "a close priest friend" and other friends there. The other is an "intake form" for pedophile priest cases, filled out by hand by a church official. In it, Roberts' home is listed at the Osage Beach address.

Since he faced allegations nearby (St. Louis and Belleville IL), SNAP suspects that Roberts hurt others in Missouri who are still suffering in silence, confusion and self-blame. The group wants to seek them out and help them.

SNAP has also just learned new information recently about another mid-Missouri pedophile priest, Fr. Jerry Howard, who has been in the news in recent weeks. Former staff and patients at now-closed Charter Hospital in Columb ia, report that Howard worked there in the 1980s as a counselor to troubled teenagers.(SNAP will provide copies of a recent letter from one of Howard's former co-workers who is now a Columbia police officer confirming Howard's employment at the hospital.)

Born Carmine Sita, he legally changed his name after being convicted in New Jersey of molesting a boy in 1982. Catholic officials sent him to treatment, then to Boonville's Sts. Peter and Paul parish, where he molested at least one boy. That victim, Dr. Mark McAllister, won a $600,000 settlement in late June from three defendants - the Newark archdiocese (where Howard is from), the Jefferson City diocese (where Howard was sent), and a St. Louis-based Catholic group called the Paracletes (which allegedly 'treated' Howard between diocesan assignments). Until August, when SNAP announced the deal, church staff kept silent about Howard's crimes and McAllister's settlement.

After being ousted from his Boonville church, Howard moved to Columbia and reportedly took counseling courses at the University of Missouri. SNAP is upset that Jefferson City's bishop has disclosed virtually nothing about either predator, nor has he tried to find and help other victims or witnesses. This is especially callous and reckless, the group feels, since both priests are alive and walking free. (Cooper County law enforcement authorities have a pending investigation into Howard.)

At least eight other men have contacted SNAP indicating that they too were sexually assaulted as kids by Howard.

For five years, starting in 1983, Howard repeatedly gave drugs and liquor to the then-teenaged McAllister, and severely sexually assaulted him. (McAllister's devout family belonged to the parish.) The crimes took place several places, including church property, and on trips to Manhattan, New Jersey and elsewhere

Almost two years ago, McAllister reported the abuse to church officials, who quickly found him credible but chose to keep his allegations secret. In late June 2009, McAllister agreed to the settlement Howard remains a Newark priest, though he's allegedly not working in a parish. Church staff refuse to disclose his whereabouts. As part of the settlement, McAllister insisted that church authorities begin defrocking Howard.

For six years (1976-1982), Howard worked at a Jersey City Catholic parish, where he abused a young parishioner. Howard i He was born in 1945, is now in his 60s, and was ordained in 1976. McAllister is in his 30s, married and lives in Roanoke VA now. He is represented by two Missouri attorneys Ken Chackes of St. Louis (314 872 8420, 314 369 3902 cell) and Bryan Bacon of Columbia (573 874 7777, 314 566 8386 cell). Attorneys representing the defendants include Charles Carella (for the Newark diocese, 973-994-1700), Lucie Huger, Bernard Huger, & Ed Goldenhersh (for Jeff City diocese, 314 241 9090) and Jeffrey Jones (for the Paracletes, 505 466 3426).

((At 1:15 p.m. today, outside the police station in downtown Columbia, SNAP will hold a similar event.))

CONTACT
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, Judy Block Jones, 636 433 2511, Don Asbee 573 864 1459


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org