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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex abuse victims blast predator’s sentence

Pedophile priest, who molested 4 years ago, gets no jail time

He’s also accused of assaulting two young kids here in 2004 and 2005

Judge ‘recklessly’ decides to let him live with other priests near a school

Serial predator, still a priest, is accused of molesting every place he was

SNAP “The only hope now is for other victims and witnesses to step forward”

Group begs Western MA law enforcement & Springfield bishop to step up their efforts

WHAT
Holding signs and photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will blast
-- a judge who’s letting a convicted predator priest avoid jail and live with colleagues, and
-- Catholic officials who’ve done little or nothing to seek out others hurt by the predator.

They will also beg
-- parishioners at two local churches to ask everyone they know about the pedophile and
-- anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police and help safeguard other children from the proven pedophile.

He faces allegations of molesting two western Massachusetts kids as recently as 2005.

WHEN
Monday, Nov. 30, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
In front of the Springfield Chancery, 65 Elliot Street, Springfield, MA (413-732-3175)

WHO
Two clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a nationwide a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
Last week, a judge sentenced Fr. Aaron Joseph (“A.J.”) Cote to ten years of probation for a molesting boy in 2001-2002, and assigned him to live in New York City with other priests.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/11/24/2009-11-24_rev_aaron_cote_on_probation_for_molesting_altar_boy_lives_near_manhattan_catholi.html

SNAP feels this move is “terribly reckless,” because those same priests kept silent about credible abuse allegations against Cote in virtually every place he lived or worked, including the Springfield area.

After being suspended because of credible abuse allegations in 2005, Cote lived with family members in western Massachusetts. A 2008 civil lawsuit charges that during this time, Cote also sexually assaulted two young brothers here who were then under six years old.

According to church records, Cote worked at Catholic churches in Westfield (St. Mary’s, from 1992-1996) and in South Hadley (St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus, from 1991 -1992).

Thirty pages of previously-secret church documents about Cote 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.

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.

Last Tuesday, members of the group hand delivered 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.

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

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/16/AR2005111602414.html

Cote, now 58, belongs to the Dominican religious order and also worked in Maryland in the DC suburbs of Bethesda

and Germantown (where the abuse for which he was jailed took place). Cote’s work history is available at BishopAccountability.org

Cote’s Maryland victim and his Massachusetts victims are represented by St. Paul MN attorneys Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Mike Finnegan (612 205 5531).

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=98170
http://www.gazette.net/stories/11232009/montnew162902_32558.shtml
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/16/AR2005111602414.html

CONTACT
Bill Nash, 413-219-4312 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314 566 9790 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president 312 399 4747 cell


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