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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

SURVIVORS NETWORK OF THOSE ABUSED BY PRIESTS (SNAP)
AND
NEW HAMPSHIRE VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL

Contact:
Joannie Barrett 603-627-5576; Carolyn Disco 917-620-8172 cell; David Clohessy, St. Louis 314-566-9790 cell

Connecticut Priest brought victims to NH home; outreach to possible victims here

MANCHESTER, NH, December 14, 2009 – Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and NH Voice of the Faithful are reaching out to anyone in New Hampshire who may have been abused by Rev. Raymond Pcolka at his vacation home in Washington, NH in the 1970’s. We ask Bishop John McCormack to join in that effort.

Pcolka is accused of molesting 16 boys and girls, some as young as seven and eight years old. The charges include anal and oral rape, accompanied by violence, sadistic language and beatings while naked. Complaints go back to 1970. Pcolka was sent for evaluation in 1989 and 1993, suspended in 1993 as lawsuits were filed by his victims, with settlements paid in 2003. Laicization proceedings began in 2002.

We know Pcolka, now 70 years old, is not a Manchester diocesan priest, was not ordained here, was not assigned here, and or on the payroll here. We all understand that.

But we also know he molested kids in New Hampshire, may have helped out in a New Hampshire parish,, and perhaps could be criminally prosecuted under New Hampshire law.

New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker agreed yesterday to examine the case, and we are forwarding all pertinent documents to his office. The statute of limitation may be subject to suspension, since Pcolka left the state about 1977 – the same type circumstance that allowed for the trial, conviction and imprisonment of Fr. Joseph Maguire in 2004 in Dover at age 72.

We know the Dallas Charter adopted by US bishops commits Bishop McCormack “to have a special care for and a commitment to reaching out to the victims of sexual abuse and their families.” We believe he has a moral duty to act.

We call on Manchester diocesan officials to:
-- use resources like the diocesan website and parish bulletins to reach anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Pcolka’s crimes,
-- scour their files for any documents about Pcolka, and
-- turn over to law enforcement immediately any records about Pcolka they may have,
-- urge parishioners and the public to call police, get help, and start recovering if they were hurt by Pcolka or have information about his crimes.

"McCormack has a chance to turn over a new leaf and show, by his actions, that he wants victims to come forward and get help," said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP's national director. "On the other hand, his inaction would clearly signal that he'd prefer that victims keep staying silent and a predator keep walking free."

The Pcolka records were part of a release last week of 12,000 documents ordered by the Connecticut Supreme Court against the Diocese of Bridgeport. Bishop William Lori fought a seven-year legal battle all the way to the US Supreme Court to keep them secret. Even so, Lori unilaterally withheld 12% of the documents, some of which relate to Pcolka, so the legal battle for full disclosure continues.

Two of the Pcolka documents released include an affidavit by a witness of abuse at his New Hampshire house, and a deposition by that witness’ mother. Pcolka himself was deposed in 1995, when he invoked the Fifth Amendment over 100 times, and claimed celibacy meant only staying single, not abstention from sex with either an adult or a minor.

The Diocese of Bridgeport failed to provide complete abuse records about Pcolka to the treatment center, and adamantly denied any prior complaints when the 1993 lawsuit was filed. Released documents show the Diocese had been in negotiations over four years at the time, with a lawyer for other victims.

Pcolka allegedly walked out a treatment center in 1993 against the bishop’s wishes, after which he was suspended.

Links:
Secret Files: Diocese of Bridgeport
Deposition of Rev. Raymond Pcolka on January 16, 1995
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/docs/bridgeport/#pcolka_depo

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SNAP is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. Founded in 1988, it is based in Chicago and has nearly 9,000 members nationwide. Despite the word “priest” in its title, SNAP helps people who were victimized by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Their website is SNAPnetwork.org.
SNAP has two goals: to comfort the wounded and protect the vulnerable.

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Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) is a lay organization formed in 2002 in response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. It started in the basement of a church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has since expanded worldwide with more than 150 Parish Voice affiliates and 30,000 members. The entire organization is committed to helping the Catholic Church.


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