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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Court tosses out 3 child sex abuse lawsuits

Self help group will leaflet as church-goers walk by

They’re upset that church "exploits legal technicalities"

Episcopal Diocese can now "hide" records of clergy crimes

SNAP seeks parishioners' help in urging bishop to end secrecy

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

Ex-cleric faces 3 more accusers; Cases were to be tried next month

But judge sided with bishop, saying suits were filed too late

Priest allegedly molested at two prestigious schools - in Austin & 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
-- using "an archaic, predator-friendly legal loophole" to get 3 cases against a child molesting clergyman tossed out of court,
-- keeping records about the predator priest hidden and under a court "seal," and
-- "sealing" one civil settlement already reached against the now-defrocked pedophile.

The group will also
-- urge congregants to call their bishop and beg him to open church records about the predator priest, and
-- urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered the ex-priest's crimes to call police, get help and start recovering

(Note – the priest worked at this parish in the 1950s.)

WHEN:
Sunday, October 25 at 11: 45a.m.

WHERE:
Outside All Saints Episcopal Church. 209 W. 27th Street, Austin, TX 78705 (http://www.allsaints-austin.org/ - 512 476 3589)

WHO:
Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis woman who is the group's national outreach director

VISUALS/RECORDS
A copy of the judge's order, not yet covered by any news media and handed down late Friday afternoon, will be provided.

WHY:
On Friday, a judge tossed out four civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against the Houston-based Texas Episcopal Diocese, agreeing with Bishop C. Andrew Doyle (713-520-6444) that the statute of limitations has expired on crimes by a former Episcopal priest James Lydell Tucker.

The suits charged that Tucker molested the boys at St. Stephen’s boarding school in Austin in the 1960s. 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, because of Friday's ruling, church authorities can keep records about Tucker's crimes "sealed."

For decades, SNAP says, this kind of secrecy enabled Catholic officials to quietly transfer thousands of predator priests to unsuspecting parishes and is one reason thousands of such priests were able to molest tens of thousands of boys and girls without being detected. SNAP believes such secrecy is morally wrong, psychologically harmful and practically dangerous.

SNAP's flier will ask Episcopalians to call their bishop and urge that he stop "exploiting" the statutes of limitations, release the records and work harder to find and help others who saw, suspected or suffered Tucker's crimes.

The trial against Tucker was 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).

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2009/10/episcopal_protest.php

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


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


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