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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Catholic officials settled case but insisted on secrecy

Alleged wrong-doer was then transferred here from California

Victims' support group wants suspension, probe and disclosure

SNAP urges those who "saw, suspected or suffered" clergy misdeeds to "speak up"

Healing is possible, organization says, but only when victims & witnesses take action

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, two advocates for clergy sex abuse victims will urge Wheeling Catholic officials to
-- suspend a Catholic university board member who was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit,
-- explain why he was appointed despite the allegations against him and a settlement involving him, and
-- urge local university and Catholic officials to investigate the original accusation.

They will also urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or misdeeds to come forward, get help and call police

WHEN
TODAY, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral, 1300 Eoff St. (corner of 13th) in Wheeling, WV

WHO
A Missouri couple who are leaders of the nation’s largest support group for clergy sex abuse victims, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) http://www.snapnetwork.org/

WHY
In the 1990s, Fr. Thomas F. Gleeson and two other priests were sued for allegedly sexually harassing a seminarian at Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley CA. In 2000, that civil lawsuit was settled out of court with no admission of wrongdoing. Now, SNAP has learned, Gleeson sits on the board of another Jesuit institution, Wheeling Jesuit University.

SNAP learned of Gleeson's role at Wheeling Jesuit in news accounts last month about the university president's recent firing.

The suit, brought by John Bollard (310 694 7880), charged that Gleeson had asked to masturbate with the young student (among other allegations). Bollard's lawyer was James Wagstaffe (415.371.8500, attorneys@kerrwagstaffe.com).

Bollard, now 44, works at a college in Southern California.

Jesuit officials claim that the allegations were "unsubstantiated." However, America's Catholic bishops adopted a first-ever national policy on clergy sexual misconduct in 2002. That policy pledged "openness" in such cases, and promised that credibly accused priests would be promptly suspended while accusations were investigated. SNAP believes that, in light of this policy, Jesuits and/or the Wheeling Diocese need to be cautious, suspend Gleeson, and launch a probe into Bollard's charges.

Gleeson's fellow board members include William G. Fisher , Fr. Brian O’Donnell (304 243 2375), Fr. Gerard Stockhausen (313 993 1455), Charleston attorney Rudolph DiTrapano ((304) 342-0133 ) and Fr. Edward Glynn, Dr. Donald Hofreuter, and Lynda C. Wolford, C.P.A., (recently resigned) Other board members can be found at http://www.wju.edu/academics/catalogs/under07_09/Financial%20Information/Directories.pdf

A former Wheeling University president, Fr. Charles L. Currie (202 797 2171), has defended the school's decision to keep Gleeson on its board.

According to Jesuit websites, Gleeson has also been affiliated with two Jesuit facilities in Pennsylvania: a retreat center at Wernersville (http://www.jesuitcenter.org/members.htm) and a college in Redding (http://69.7.224.37/donorsreport/board-of-trustees.html).

A photo of Gleeson is available at http://www.jesuitcenter.org/members.htm

SNAP has also started a website with information about accused West Virginia clerics: http://wheeling-charlestontruth.org/

Last night, the group held its first support meeting in Charleston WV.

CONTACT
Judy Block Jones, SNAP Ohio Valley director, 314 974 5003 cell, 636 433 2511 home
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell


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


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