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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Church wants to 'gag' victims of sexual abuse

Diocese insisting they not speak of clergy crimes

Self help group will leaflet as church-goers walk by

They seek parishioners' help in pressuring bishop to end secrecy

One civil case against serial pedophile has already been 'sealed'

Ex-cleric now faces three more accusers; Case set for trial next month

He allegedly molested at two Episcopal schools - in Austin and Houston

"Secrecy enables more child sex abuse," support group tells church officials

WHAT: As church-goers enter a noon service, victims of clergy sex abuse will hand out fliers harshly criticizing Texas Episcopal officials for
-- trying to insist that 3 victims of a child molesting clergyman keep silent, and
-- "sealing" one civil settlement already reached against the predator

The group will also
-- urge congregants to call their bishop and beg him to stop pushing victims to stay silent, and
-- urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered the ex-priest's crimes to call police, get help and start recovering

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 22, 11:45 a.m.

WHERE: Outside Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, Houston (713 222 2593)

WHO: Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Chicago woman who is the group's founder and president.

WHY: The Houston-based Episcopal Diocese of Texas is facing four men who have filed civil child sex abuse lawsuits. The litigation stems from alleged child molestation by Fr. James Lydell Tucker's that he perpetrated at St. Stephen’s boarding school in Austin in the 1960’s. In 1968, the diocese allegedly transferred Tucker to another school, St. James Episcopal in Houston, after receiving "misconduct complaints" about Tucker.

According to a Houston Press article several months ago, the diocese has settled one case involving a victim of St. James. Church authorities insisted, however, that the case be "sealed."

Now, church authorities are trying to insist that Tucker's victims sign confidentiality or "gag" orders if they're interested in resolving their cases out of court. Such "gag" orders were required by Catholic officials for decades, and are one reason thousands of Catholic priests were able to molest tens of thousands of boys and girls without being detected. SNAP believes such requirements are morally wrong, psychologically harmful and practically dangerous.

SNAP's flier will ask Episcopalians to call their bishop and urge that he stop pressuring victims to stay silent and work harder to find and help others who saw, suspected or suffered Tucker's crimes.

The trial against Tucker is set for November 3rd in Corpus Christi, Texas. Most of Tucker's alleged crimes took place in the 1960s. Just last year, diocesan officials defrocked Tucker for sexual misconduct.

Tucker’s victims are represented by attorneys Felcia Peavy (281 787 8244), felepeavy@juno.com) & Tahira Merritt (214 503 7300, tahira@tkmlawfirm.com).

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine, Founder and President of SNAP, 312 399 4747
David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP, 314 566 9790
Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP, 314 503 0003


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