The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009
For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790
Clergy sex abuse victims issue “end of year” report
Thirteen point summary blasts top Catholic & Protestant officials
A support group for sex abuse victims is issuing a thirteen point “end of the year” summary of clergy sex cases which blasts the heads of two of the nation’s three largest Catholic archdioceses, one Protestant denomination, a retired Catholic Cardinal and a judge.
Leaders of a self help organization called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, single out the current and former top prelates in the New York Catholic Archdiocese, Timothy Dolan and Edward Egan respectively, for criticism of public remarks both men made.
SNAP also has harsh words for Chicago’s Catholic Cardinal, Bridgeport’s Catholic Bishop and a Maryland judge for actions each have taken during the past year.
Among Protestants, the group also denounced the Kansas City-based Church of the Nazarene and a Louisville KY congregation.
Here is SNAP’s summary of noteworthy developments and clergy sex abuse and cover up cases for 2009:
1) Most reckless church move (Catholic)
He admitted to police that he molested a boy (and later recanted). He was found guilty by a jury in a criminal trial (later overturned on a technicality). His boss, Newark’s Archbishop John Myers, promised a prosecutor that he would never work around kids again. Despite all this, earlier this year, Myers quietly reassigned Fr. Michael Fugee this year as a hospital chaplain.
2) Most reckless church move (Protestant)
Despite considerable controversy, staffers at Louisville KY’s City of Refuge Worship Center ordained a convicted child molester, Mark Hourigan, as their minister in September. They discussed their plan in advance on CNN despite the fact that
-- in 1998, Hourigan was convicted on two counts of sexually assaulting an 11 year old,
-- has apparently used an alias (Mark Wells),
-- lives with another sex offender, James Kaegin, at 3404 Rowena Rd. #2, Louisville,
-- is on the registry for life, a designation that's generally reserved for the most serious offenders, and
SNAP asked the congregation to delay its planned ordination and hold an open public meeting before making a final decision and wrote to the Lexington-based Kentucky Council of Churches, urging it to speak out against Hourigan's ordination.
3) Most secretive church supervisor
First, Bridgeport’s Bishop Lori fought for seven years to keep thousands of pages of records about predator priests secret. Now, he’s fighting to keep hidden 126 boxes of church files about 8 accused child molesting clerics who worked at just one Connecticut parish.
And in between, he kept silent about allegations from three men that they were sexually violated as kids by Msgr. William Genuario (Two of the men were quietly paid $20,000 each by church officials.) Even now, Lori is being secretive as to why Genuario is still in active ministry and why Lori apparently deems all three accusers “not credible” despite $40,000 in payments to two of them.
4) Most ludicrous church claim
Unbeknownst to anyone, New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan has apparently secretly been glued at the hip to now-retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan for Egan’s entire 52 year clerical career. That’s the only logical conclusion to draw, based on Dolan’s official statement in November that Egan “properly dealt with all allegations” regarding clergy sex crimes and cover ups (emphasis added).
5) Most callous church legal move (Protestant)
In court papers, the Kansas City-based Church of the Nazarene says that “any injuries or damages suffered” five girls who were allegedly molested by a minister “were caused or contributed to by their own conduct.” (The minister had earlier been criminally convicted of molesting girls.)
6) Most callous church legal move (Catholic)
In an unprecedented move, shortly after seeking Chapter 11 protection, Delaware Catholic officials asked a judge to legally guarantee continued payments to predator priests during the bankruptcy process. At the same time, Delaware’s bishop spent $100,000 to hire a new public relations firm.
7) Most inexcusable church delay
Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George waited more than two years to publicly disclose child sex abuse allegations against Fr. Edward Maloney and to remove him
8) Most deceptive move by church supervisors
Records released this year show that a New Jersey priest was convicted in 1982 of molesting a boy, sent to a church-run ‘treatment’ center, and allowed to change his name, then transferred without any public or parishioner warning to a Missouri diocese where he molested again.
(He’s Fr. Carmen Sita, a.k.a. Carmine Sita, a.k.a. Fr. Gerry Howard.)
(A second Newark priest is accused of changing his name following sexual misconduct. Church records show that in 1998, a church employee complained that Fr. Wladyslaw Gorak was kissing his coworkers. In 2004, a New Jersey Catholic woman moved to Florida and Newark church officials then sent Gorak to Florida too. She repeatedly complained to Gorak's Florida pastor that Gorak kept bothering her. In Nov. 2004, Gorak broke into her house and sexually assaulted her. He was removed from ministry in Orlando in Dec. 2004. In 2005, Gorak legally changed his name to Fr. Walter Fisher and church officials made no announcement of it. Now Gorak/Fisher faces a civil lawsuit for similarly assaulting the woman. A judge recently set a March 2010 civil trial date for Gorak/Fisher.)
9) Most underreported deceptive move by church supervisors
Research by BishopAccountability.org this year shows that the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis has, over the course of a decade, moved at least five predator priests to the archdiocesan headquarters and listed them in the Catholic directory as “chancery pro forma” employees, a designation that apparently no other Catholic jurisdiction in America uses or has used. The unusual move
-- helped deceive the flock about the real reason the clerics were moved, but
-- also casts unfair suspicions on dozens of priests who were also designated “chancery pro forma” staffers
10) Most bizarre quote by a church official
In a deposition released this year, Cardinal Edward Egan said "These things happen in such small numbers. It's marvelous when you think of the hundreds and hundreds of priests and how very few have even been accused, and how very few have even come close to having anyone prove anything. So it is not a commonplace, by any means at all. It's a unique and unexpected occurrence.''
11) Worst criminal sentence for predator priest
In November, a judge sentenced Fr. Aaron Joseph (“A.J.”) Cote to ten years of probation for a molesting boy in 2001-2002, but gave Cote no jail time. Equally disturbing, the judge assigned Cote to live in New York City with other priests.
SNAP feels this move is “terribly reckless,” because those same priests kept silent about credible abuse allegations against Cote in almost every place he lived or worked, including:
--Peru, where records show that church officials received reports that he sexually abused kids, and
--Ohio, where he was also accused of molesting a boy years ago in the Columbus diocese. (For months, however, church officials refused to turn over, despite a judge’s order, the name of a key witness in that incident. Ultimately, under court order, that individual’s identity was finally disclosed.)
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 in Springfield MA who were then under six years old.
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.
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
12) Worst papal appointment
Joseph Cistone, a Philadelphia auxiliary bishop, was named head of the Saginaw diocese, despite the fact that a Philadelphia grand jury found that Cistone
-- was complicit (in 1996) in silencing a nun who tried to alert members of a parish about an abusive priest,
-- took no action (in 2002) to wan a suburban school district that one of its teachers was an ex-priest who had abused kids, and
-- took no action against a priest despite reports that he sometimes made boys strip and pricked some with pins.
The findings also concluded that top Philadelphia church officials, including Cistone, “excused and enabled the abuse.”
Cistone claims “it would not serve any purpose” to “revisit” the grand jury report. SNAP disagrees and believes Catholics deserve (and victims need) Cistone and other church officials to publicly explain their “callousness, recklessness and deceit” if there’s any change for real healing. The organization asked Cistone to participate in the public forum, with a question and answer session, and give parishioners a chance to hear directly from Cistone about these specific charges. Cistone ignored SNAP’s request.
13) Most reckless living arrangement for a child molesting cleric
At least six civil child molestation lawsuits have been filed against Brother Raimond Rose. All involve boys at he sexually violated when they were students at Catholic schools. His supervisors, the Christian Brothers, settled one of them for more than $1 million and no one is claiming he’s innocent. Yet church officials are letting Rose live next door to a Catholic school in Chicago.
There were many considerable positive steps taken in 2009, SNAP says, including
-- Several courts, including the US Supreme Court, rebuffed repeated appeals by a Toledo priest who was convicted of murdering a nun and is accused of molesting girls.
-- A federal prosecutor in Los Angeles launched a probe of the Catholic archdiocese there and how it handles clergy sex crimes.
-- Prosecutors in Illinois mounted or are mounting efforts to get two notorious predator priests (Fr. Daniel McCormack and Fr. Fred Lenczycki) declared “sexually violent predators” so they can remain locked up even after their criminal sentences are completed.
-- A national group of African American pastors (the National Black Church Initiative) has joined with clergy sex abuse victims in working to reform archaic, predator-friendly child sex abuse laws.
-- Four Catholic bishops have resigned in the last few weeks because of clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Ireland because of a government investigation revealed widespread deceit and recklessness by church officials.
“Of course the most encouraging fact in this whole sad saga continues to be the courage of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who keep regaining their power, reporting these crimes, exposing these cover ups, and both protecting innocent children and healing wounded victims as a result of their brave actions,” said Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP’s founder and president. “The incredibly deep compassion and selfless sacrifices of our brothers and sisters in this movement is very instrumental in making this society safer for kids and healthier for all of us.”
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests