The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
New pedophile priest & cover up case is filed
Predator killed himself after allegations surfaced
Cleric is Denver native and attended Catholic parish here
In unusual move, bishop wins court order to keep records hidden
Group wants Denver archbishop to help fight secrecy & reach out to others
Two other victims hurt by same predator priest have gotten undisclosed settlements
WHAT: At a news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 1:00 PM
WHERE: At the Entrance to the Archdiocesan Center of Denver, 1300 S Steele St at E. Louisiana Ave. (Main Gate)
WHO: Two individuals who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including a Denver man who is the organization's long time Denver director
WHY: According to the new lawsuit, which was filed late on Friday, Fr. Andrew Burke sexually abused a ten year old boy from 1970 to 1973 while Burke was a priest at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Pueblo.
Yesterday (10/20), church officials sought and won a court order that means dozens of pages of records about Burke and his crimes will remain "sealed," out of public view.
While under investigation for sexual abuse allegations in September 2005, Burke killed himself. He confirmed some of the abuse allegations in a phone message left for a Denver Post reporter the night before his suicide.
Burke was born and raised in Denver, baptized at Holy Ghost Catholic church in Denver, and attended St. Philomena’s Parish in Denver. A pastor there, Msgr. William Higgins, recommended Burke for ministry in Pueblo, which is somewhat unusual, because most diocesan priests work for the diocese in which they were raised. (Higgins has also been accused of abuse.)
Burke later married and worked in mental health. His widow lives in Denver now.
In 1973, Burke left the priesthood, and according to a police report, he wrote a letter to the Vatican explaining his decision to leave, mentioning his struggle with a “psychosexual behavior disorder.”
In 2002, America's bishops adopted a national child sex abuse policy that mandates "openness and transparency" in such cases. SNAP maintains that the Pueblo diocese's efforts to hide Burke's records violates this policy.
SNAP is appealing to Denver's Archbishop for help since 1) he is the Colorado’s highest-ranking Catholic official, 2) Burke is from Denver, 3) some of Burke's victims likely live in Denver, and 4) because there's a leadership transition in the Pueblo diocese (Bishop Arthur Tafoya just retired and his replacement hasn't yet arrived).
The victim in the new lawsuit is represented by Miami attorney Adam Horowitz (305 931 2200) who has handled hundreds of clergy sex abuse cases, including dozens in Colorado.
District Judge Victor Reyes granted the diocese's "protective order." (719 583 7000)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests