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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex abuse victims blast bishop

They release 110 pages of church records about predator

Secret documents have never been publicly exposed before

Therapist said he had “sex disorder” but priest kept on working

Catholic officials talk of "embarrassment" & "sensitive situations"

Group alleges that pedophile's personnel file has been "sanitized"

Self help organization begs others with information to step forward

WHAT
Holding childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- release, for the first time, 110 pages of church records about a predator priest,
-- accuse the diocese of destroying or hiding other documents about the sex offender,
-- blast Orlando Catholic officials for doing “little or nothing” to warn others about the pedophile or reach out to others he has wounded.

Afterwards, they'll try to hand deliver a letter to Orlando church officials urging them to
-- use their diocesan website, parish bulletins and other resources to reach out to anyone else who may have been hurt by the predator, and
-- release the names and whereabouts of all current and ex-church staff who are proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters

And the victims will beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered the pedophile’s crimes to call police and start healing.

WHEN
TODAY, Friday, Jan. 22, 1:15 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Orlando diocesan chancery office/headquarters, 50 East Robinson (near Rosalind) in Orlando

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

WHY
SNAP, a self help group, has obtained 110 pages of long-confidential church records about Fr. Jose Mena, who faces two pending child sex abuse and cover up cases and is believed to have fled the US for Europe.

Mena was in the news just last week when another lawsuit against him was filed.

In a nine-page 1994 therapist’s report, Mena is diagnosed as having a sexual disorder. It also determines there’s likely “substantial truth” to two child sex abuse allegations against him. Yet church officials quietly moved him to Immaculate Conception parish in Jacksonville where he remained until 2002.

The documents also include allegations of financial irregularities. But for more than 11 years, there are absolutely no records in Mena’s files, which is highly unusual. SNAP believes Orlando church officials ‘scrubbed’ the files before turning them over to one of Mena’s victims in litigation.

SNAP wants Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski “aggressively reach out” to others Mena may have hurt in Florida. SNAP also believes there’s a possibility that any Florida victims or witnesses might be able to initiate more prosecution of Mena or get law enforcement to pursue and extradite him.

The group says next weekend, Wenski should start personally going to each parish near where Mena worked and emphatically beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police and get help.

Church officials say Mena worked in four parishes in the Orlando diocese: Epiphany in Port Orange and St. Paul in Daytona Beach in the 1960s; Resurrection in Winter Garden in the 1970s; and Blessed Sacrament in Clermont in the 1980s. His victims are represented by Miami attorney Adam Horowitz (305 931 2200).

Last year, SNAP blasted Wenski for keeping silent about the settlement of two abuse lawsuits against Fr. James Vallely (who lives in the Orlando area) and Brother Jorge Acosta (who worked for the church in Orlando, saw an Orlando therapist for at least 1.5 year and played in an Orlando area band). The organization has also criticized Wenski for his deception surrounding allegations against Fr. Carlos Bedoya.

In 2007, Bedoya was quietly suspended from active ministry in Deltona. A Volusia County sheriff’s complaint charges that Bedoya “participated in sexual battery against a man” along with a Catholic seminarian. But Wenski wrote parishioners that “personal issues” had arisen for Bedoya. And earlier, diocesan chancellor told a reporter that “(Bedoya’s removal) is not due to inappropriate behavior with minors, or children, or anything like that." (The next day, media accounts disclosed that Bedoya and a seminarian were under criminal investigation for the recent rape of a man.)

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/community/news/clermont/orl-priestabuse2608apr26,0,348757.story
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-priest-sex-abuse-orlando-20100114,0,7524009.story

CONTACT
David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, Karen Polisir 267 992 9463, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044


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