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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Convicted sex offender cleric says mass here

Another accused child molester was made bishop

Victims blast head of Columbus-based denomination

Group wants church officials to explain their “recklessness and deceit”

It urges anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy crimes to come forward

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose that a small Columbus-based Catholic denomination
-- let a convicted child molesting priest officiate at a mass last month in Columbus, and
-- ordained a former Roman Catholic deacon as a bishop despite his being arrested on abuse allegations,

They will also urge
--- the church group to more carefully ‘vet’ candidates for church positions in the future, and
--- anyone who may have been harmed by either of known sex offenders to come forward and get help

When:
Thursday, Nov. 19, 1:00 p.m.

Where:
Outside "Ascension of Our Lord" Cathedral, 787 E. Broad Street (corner of S. Monroe), Columbus, OH (It’s a former Episcopal church)

Who:
Two people/abuse victims who are members in a Chicago-based support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Visuals/Handouts
SNAP members will provide photos of the offenders and 20 pages of supporting material.

WHY
A relatively small and new Columbus-based denomination let an accused sex offender become a bishop and a convicted sex offender become a priest, and allowed the priest to participate in a church ceremony in Columbus just last month.

The disclosures are based on church records (including memos written three weeks ago by two bishops). They involve the Reformed Catholic Church, which is headed by a Columbus man, Bishop Phillip Zimmerman, who is also the CEO of a Columbus non-profit agency which helps HIV/AIDS patients.

One of the criminals, Rev. Sean-Michael Lyons (also known as Michael S. Lyons), is a registered sex offender, having been convicted in 1985 on ten counts of lewd acts with young boys. He was sentenced to 12 years in state prison in New Jersey. Last year, he was sent back to prison for failing to register under the provisions of Megan’s Law. http://www.njherald.com/story/news/01LYONS-web

http://blog.nj.com/ledgerupdates/2007/08/former_pastor_fails_to_registe.html

Yet, last month, Lyons was invited and participated as a priest at a special church event in Columbus.

The other sex offender, Patrick Batuyong, an ex-Roman Catholic deacon, was made bishop in the denomination in 2006. In 1993, he was arrested in Fayette County GA on six counts of aggravated sexual abuse, solicitation of juvenile prostitution, criminal abuse, and criminal sexual assault. His victims were minors. The court file is now sealed. In 2006, Zimmerman made Batuyong bishop of the denomination’s southeastern region.

SNAP believes church officials should pledge to never again ordain or welcome credibly accused sex offenders and should aggressively reach out to anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Lyons or Batuyong recently.

Lyons lives in Oceanside CA but has also reportedly lived in New Jersey and in Mexico. Batuyong died in April 2009.

http://www.njherald.com/story/news/01LYONS-web, http://www.reformedcatholicchurch.info/

A photo of Lyons participating in the recent Columbus event is available at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=76082064183#/photo.php?pid=9330517&op=19&o=all&view=all&subj=76082064183&aid=-1&oid=76082064183&id=599645376

The Reformed Catholic Church just began renting this Columbus church in July, from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio (headed by Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal, tbreidenthal@diosohio.org) Zimmerman also heads the Pater Noster House, a temporary residence for homeless HIV/AIDS patients.

Zimmerman can be reached at 614-358-4487 or presidingbishop@reformedcatholicchurch.org. He is a Philadelphia PA native and sometimes uses the first name George.

http://www.reformedcatholicchurch.info

http://blog.nj.com/ledgerupdates/2007/08/former_pastor_fails_to_registe.html

http://onanite.blogspot.com/2008/02/sex-offender-charged-with-failing-to.html

http://new.live.mediaspanonline.com/printerfriendly/17LYONS-web

Contact:
Carol Zamonski, 614-447-2084, Judy Jones 314 974 5003 cell, 636-433-2511 home,
David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home, Barbara Dorris, 314 503 0003 cell


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


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