The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 15
For more information: Judy Jones 636 433 2511, David Clohessy 314 566 9790
Clergy sex victims blast Vermont authorities
Priest broke bail agreement, returned to Missouri
"Someone's letting predator go free," group contends
It writes prosecutor and state trooper saying, "He belongs behind bars"
An accused child molesting cleric, who was told two weeks ago by a judge to steer clear of his accuser and stay in Vermont, was spotted last week minutes away from her in Missouri.
Yet the alleged abuser hasn’t been jailed again and a victims’ support group is crying foul.
A Vermont law enforcement official confirmed late last week that Paul J. Cool has returned to the state and that police know where he is living. But leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests, believe Cool should be behind bars.
Cool is a former lay priest associated with a controversial Independence MO-based church where several other church leaders have also been arrested recently on child sex charges. The former Blue Springs, MO man was first arrested for alleged child sexual abuse on November 16th in DeKalb County MO. A White River Junction district court judge freed Cool on Dec. 4 providing he have no contact with his alleged victim or any girls younger than 18.
But witnesses spotted him at a Wal Mart, in St Joseph, Mo. about 20 minutes from his home in Amity, Missouri, earlier this week.
“Something’s seriously wrong when a judge tells an accused criminal ‘stay here’ and ‘keep away from your accuser,’ yet he immediately travels across country to be near her and suffers no consequences,” said Judy Jones of SNAP. “How can an alleged child molester so quickly, clearly and egregiously thumb his nose at a judge and get by with it?”
“We don’t know or care whose fault this is,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s national director. “But one way to protect kids is to make sure accused predators honor the conditions put on them by the courts for their release, and that’s clearly not happening here.”
Jones said that Cool’s victim was very nervous when a friend called and told the victim early last week that Cool was spotted getting car repair at a Wal-Mart in St. Joseph’s, MO.
“Law enforcement officials sometimes wonder why child sex abuse and adult rape victims don’t report the crimes,” said Jones. “One reason is this kind of callousness and recklessness.”
Cool’s victims should be protected, SNAP says.
“The brave young woman did her moral and civic duty cooperating with the law,” said Clohessy. “Now, it’s time that the law protect her from more harm.”
“Child predators are often shrewd and cunning. Once arrested, they can become especially desperate, and have been known to intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, and even flee the country,” Jones said. “All of this is much easier if you’re walking free, instead of behind bars.”
Like several other alleged child molesters who were recently arrested, Cool was associated with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which since 2001 has been known as the Community of Christ. The men were arrested in November in Lafayette County MO on multiple charges of forcible sodomy and rape. At least six victims of these men have come forward and described the horrific childhood abuse they suffered. Authorities believe there is a "strong possibility" of more victims.
In an email to Jones last Thursday, Vermont Detective Trooper Megan Sheridan wrote “Cool is in Vermont and the State Police know where he is residing. As far as your other questions are concerned, Vermont is handling the case and I can’t talk about it further with you.”
On Friday, Jones sent an email to Windsor County prosecutor Martha Neery asking why Cool hasn’t been arrested. Jones has received no reply.
Neery is at 802 295 8870 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Addison County prosecutor David Fenston is at 802 388 7931. (Cool’s been charged in both counties.)
Detective Trooper Megan Sheridan 802 234 9933 (email@example.com). The Windsor Court House is at 802-295-8865.
The Walmart Tire Express in St. Joseph, MO, where Cool was spotted, is at 816 390 8855.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests