The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 14
For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790
Priest accused of molesting elsewhere now works here
He’s apparently around Spanish immigrants and may work for the state
Victims urge Savannah’s Catholic bishop to warn his flock and the public
A suspended priest who is accused of molesting a boy in Kentucky now apparently lives and works in the Macon area, and clergy sex abuse victims want Savannah’s bishop to warn families about him.
Fr. Theodore Meisner, who was first sued for alleged child sexual abuse in Kentucky, is now listed on-line as associated with a non-profit called La Ermita – The Hermitage (www.laermita.org). Meisner is a former priest with a Canada-based religious order called the Congregation of the Resurrection. A newspaper story from 2002 says he “works part time as a computer assistant with a Georgia agency dealing with migrant workers' health issues.”
But leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say a concerned Catholic alerted them to Meisner’s presence in Georgia last week. The organization is writing Savannah Bishop Kevin Boland and urging him to “use your diocesan newspaper, diocesan website and dozens of parish bulletins to warn Catholics and citizens about a potentially dangerous man.”
In 2002, Meisner was accused in a civil lawsuit of sexual abusing a boy, Sean J. McCulloch, in the Louisville Catholic diocese. Meisner, a Louisville native, has denied the allegation. That lawsuit, along with dozens of others against current and former Louisville area priests and nuns, settled in 2003.
“We believe it’s the duty of each bishop to warn his flock about credibly accused predator priests who live and work nearby,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director. “That’s the bare minimum Catholic officials should be doing.”
SNAP wants Boland to use his “diocesan website, diocesan newspapers and local parish bulletins to alert families about the ex-priest’s presence in the area and the allegations against him.”
Ordained in 1957, Meisner worked at Resurrection Church in Louisville and at assignments in various other states and countries before leaving the priesthood in 1989.
McCulloch, now 39, said he was taken to Meisner by an aunt for counseling for emotional problems. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, McCulloch said that in 1981, while he was telling Meisner his problems, the priest locked the door, caressed his shoulder, told him everything was going to be OK, then masturbated the boy. Meisner has denied the allegation, saying he counseled McCulloch but never touched him.
When he filed his suit, McCulloch told a newspaper "As a kid I was scared. Now I'm not scared anymore. I'm not afraid if anyone knows, because I don't want it to happen to any other children."
Meisner apparently lives at 239 Orange Street in Macon (478-746-9659, 478-345-6002, Director@Laermita.org, Ted@Laermita.org) He also taught at St. Mary's College in KY (1959 - 1960), and spent time in Bermuda KY (1964 - 1968), St. Louis MO (1969 - 1973) and Las Vegas NV (1984).
Meisner is listed on LinkdIn.com under "Independent Religious Institutions Professional" with an interest in "New ventures."
Macon is located in the Catholic Diocese of Savannah - http://www.diosav.org/parishes/by_city
A copy of SNAP’s letter, sent today by fax and e mail, is below:
Dear Bishop Boland
We are worried about the safety of children in the Macon Georgia are who live near Fr. Theodore Meisner – a credibly accused predator priest. We are also worried about the well-being of adults in several states (Georgia and Louisville) who may have been hurt by Meisner and may still be suffering in shame, silence, and self-blame.
For the sake of both groups - kids still at risk and adults still in pain - we ask that you take further steps to warn others about Meisner, and urge victims and witnesses to contact the police about him, if they have seen, suspected or suffered any misdeeds or crimes by him.
As you know, Meisner is a Kentucky native and one-time Louisville priest who has been sued for alleged sexual abuse and the lawsuit against him was settled. While not
Helping Meisner's victims and safeguarding his neighbors, we believe, is your responsibility. Catholic officials recruit, ordain, hire, train, supervise, transfer, shield and often protect predator priests. Even when those predators move or quit, church authorities have a moral obligation to safeguard others from them.
We understand that you cannot "order" Meisner to do anything. But we also understand that "where there's a will, there's a way." We firmly believe that you can and should alert your flock, the public and his neighbors about his past.
And even if you can't control Meisner's behavior, you can control your own.
You clearly manage your archdiocesan newspaper. So we respectfully ask you to use that publication to warn unsuspecting parents about known and suspected abusive clerics, especially Meisner.
You control your diocesan website. So we respectfully ask you to use this vehicle to warn unsuspecting parents about Meisner and other known and suspected abusive clerics.
You control your archdiocesan parish bulletins. So we respectfully ask you to put notices in them, even just one Sunday, to warn unsuspecting parents about known and suspected abusive clerics, especially Meisner.
You control your own schedule. So we respectfully ask you please go to the parishes near where Meisner lives. Again, please prod anyone who may have witnessed, suspected, or experienced Meisner's crimes to come forward and get help and to contact the police.
None of these requests are costly, complex, or controversial. These are simple, common sense steps that might help one victim heal or might help one child be protected.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
David Clohessy, National Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Barbara Blaine, President, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Barbara Dorris, Outreach Coordinator, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Ann Brentwood, Southeast Regional Director, 865 607 6119
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests