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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex abuse group blasts Austin Catholic officials

They've ignored victims' request to reach out to "others in pain"

Self help organization discloses 12 settlements against former priest

He's the "most prolific" child molesting clergyman to have ever worked here

Another pedophile priest, publicly exposed just months ago, also worked in Austin

SNAP again urges diocese: For public safety, disclose all credibly accused clerics

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk press conference, victims of clergy sex abuse will disclose that
-- a little known priest who worked in Austin for more than 30 years was the diocese's worst predator, and
-- at least 12 civil claims, totaling $2.8 million, have been settled against him.

They will also prod
-- anyone who saw, suspected or suffered the cleric's crimes to come forward and get help
-- Austin Catholic officials to 'come clean' about all predator priests who have worked here.

Finally, the group will harshly criticize the local church hierarchy for ignoring their plea, five months ago, to try to find and help victims of a different predator priest who was "outed" earlier this year.

When:
Thursday, October 1, 11:00 a.m.

Where:
In front of the Austin diocesan headquarters, 1817 East 6th Street (near Chicon) in Austin (512-236-0144)

Who
Two-three men and women and their supporters who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri woman who is the group's national outreach director

Why
SNAP has learned that more than a dozen civil child sex abuse claims have been settled over the past six years against Fr. Rocco Perone. For more than 30 years (1957-1988), Perone worked at St. Austin's parish (2026 Guadalupe Street, 512-477-9471, next to the UT campus) in Austin. (Most of Perone's crimes occurred in the Portland Oregon Archdiocese.) This makes Perone, as best SNAP can tell, the most prolific child molesting cleric to have ever worked in this diocese. SNAP is urging Austin church officials to work harder to find and help his victims.

Church records obtained through litigation show that Perone's church supervisors were repeatedly warned and informed of his inappropriate, suspicious and criminal misdeeds.

It's especially important for church authorities to reach out to others who may have been hurt by Perone, SNAP says, because according to a Daily Texan article, "when he was reassigned to St. Austin's, (Perone) became a missionary - based in Austin but traveling throughout Texas to preach in other parishes."

Since May, however, a similar request by SNAP about a different pedophile priest has been ignored by the Austin diocese. The group held a news conference about Fr. Gregory Patejko, who was moved to Austin in 1981 after abusing a North Dakota boy several years earlier. (In 1994, the Fargo diocese quietly settled with him.) In May, a North Dakota newspaper disclosed the allegations and settlement for the first time. That same month, SNAP urged the Austin diocese to try and find anyone injured by Patejko, but SNAP has seen no evidence that church staffers acted on its request.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2009/05_06/2009_05_06_Lee_ACrime.htm

The organization will blast the local church hierarchy for its "timid, passive, irresponsible" mishandling of such cases, and beg it to "aggressively use its considerable resources to do what Jesus would do - go out and find and comfort the lost and wounded sheep."

Finally, roughly a dozen US Catholic bishops (including Philadelphia, Toledo, Milwaukee, Baltimore and others) have, under pressure, posted on their websites the names of the predator priests who've worked in their dioceses. But Austin's former bishop, Gregory Aymond (recently promoted to the New Orleans archdiocese), repeatedly refused to release a full list of proven, admitted and credibly accused pedophile priests. SNAP will publicly prod the interim leadership of the Austin diocese to reconsider, and, for the safety of children, disclose such a list (including the offenders' current whereabouts, photos and clerical status.)

Perone, now deceased, was ordained in 1949 as a Paulist priest. He also worked in Canada, Utah, Illinois, New York, Wyoming and Oregon (where, apparently, most of his crimes happened). Patejko was ordained in 1953 and is also believed to be deceased. He also worked in New Jersey and the Netherlands before returning to Poland in 1993.

Portland Oregon plaintiff's attorney Kelly Clark has represented a number of Perrone victims (503-306-0224, kellyc@oandc.com).

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2002_04_24_Wang_DeceasedAustin_Rocco_Perone_1.htm

http://www.archpdxpriestfiles.com/category/priests/perone/

CONTACT
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP National Outreach Director (314) 503-0003
David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790


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