The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009
Convicted predator priest to live in Manhattan
Clergy sex victims blast serial predator’s sentence
Judge lets church officials ‘monitor’ child molesting cleric
Just 3 years ago, he allegedly assaulted two Massachusetts boys
Clergy sex abuse victims are harshly criticizing a judge’s decision to let a convicted predator priest stay in a church facility in New York City for the next five years.
Instead of jail time, yesterday a Maryland judge sentenced Fr. A. J. (“Aaron”) Cote to ten years of probation. He will live at the Dominican Provincial House in New York City, run by a Catholic religious order called the Dominicans. It’s at 869 Lexington (at 65th) near St. Vincent Farrar’s church in Manhattan.
Leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) say the move is “reckless.”
“He belongs in prison or at the very least in a secure, remote, professionally run treatment center,” said Barbara Blaine of Chicago. She’s SNAP’s president and founder. “He’s accused of sexually violating kids in every place he’s worked – Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia even Peru.”
Blaine says that judge should never let Catholic officials oversee predator priests.
“Time and time again, history has shown this is a recipe for disaster,” she argued. “If his bosses wouldn’t stop him from molesting kids before, why would they suddenly be able to now?”
Pedophiles are generally shrewd, cunning and psychologically driven to assault children, another SNAP leader maintains, and highly educated ones and unrepentant ones like Cote are especially dangerous.
“There’s a reason we lock up child molesters. It’s the only way to keep them away from kids,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis. He’s SNAP’s director. “Cote is young, healthy and compulsively addicted to sexually violating youngsters. We’re convinced his colleagues won’t be able or willing to really control him and we absolutely believe he will molest again.”
SNAP feels that church officials should also aggressively reach out to anyone who has knowledge of Cote’s crimes, especially because he’s a known offender who essentially walks free. For the sake of public safety, bishops in every diocese where Cote worked should post his name on their websites and make personal visits to his former parishes, the group says.
This afternoon, members of the group will try to hand deliver a letter to Rhode Island’s bishop about Cote, urging him to beg anyone with knowledge about Cote to contact law enforcement, so he might still be prosecuted and jailed. (For details, call Bill Nash 413 219 4312, Skip Shea of Uxbridge MA, 508 282 9847, Paul Kellan 781 526 5878).
In 2003, Cote was accused of abusing Brandon Rains, a Maryland teenager. Shortly thereafter, Cote was sent to work at a Providence parish. Two years later, the diocese finally suspended him.
While on suspension, in 2004, Cote lived with family members in western Massachusetts. A 2008 civil lawsuit charges that during this time, Cote sexually assaulted two young brothers who were then under six years old.
Thirty pages of previously-secret documents, obtained in litigation, show that Catholic authorities were worried and warned about Cote’s excessive drinking and his disturbing interest in children even during his seminary days. They considered not ordaining him. Yet they kept transferring Cote to new parishes until Rains sued in 2005.
Rains’ lawsuit against Cote and his church supervisors settled in 2007 for $1.2 million.
Cote has worked in
His case is clear proof, victims say, of how church officials in general (and religious orders in particular) ignore the US bishops weak and vague but highly-touted child sex abuse policies adopted seven years ago
Rains and the Massachusetts victims are represented by St. Paul MN attorneys Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Mike Finnegan (612 205 5531).
More on yesterday’s sentencing is here: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=98170
Cote’s full work history is available at BishopAccountability.org
CONTACT - David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314-566-9790 cell, Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP National Outreach Director 314-503-0003 cell
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests