The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 22, 2010
For more information: Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314-566-9790
Accused pedophile priest taken off city’s website
Victims want answers on Berwyn’s alleged “investigation”
Group also blasts Catholic officials over “continuing inaction”
SNAP urges church officials to tell flock and citizens about predator
Worried that a predator ex-priest walks free and may still be on the payroll of a Chicago suburb, clergy sex abuse victims are now asking city officials to clarify his status and whereabouts while reaching out to others he may have hurt. Victims also want Catholic officials to do more to locate and help other victims.
Leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (www.snapnetwork.org), are concerned about Fr. Frank Paduch, who allegedly molested five children in the 1980s. Since 2005, Paduch has worked for the City of Berwyn. He was suspended in mid-January, after SNAP publicly disclosed the accusations against him and the fact that a civil child sex abuse lawsuit against him was settled in 1999. City officials said they’d launch an investigation into Paduch’s past.
In a letter sent today, leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (www.snapnetwork.org), are urging Berwyn Mayor Robert J. Lovero to disclose the results of their investigation.
“It’s been more than a month since Berwyn suspended Paduch and more than a decade since Catholic officials settled a child sex abuse lawsuit against him,” said Barbara Blaine of SNAP. “It’s time for clarity, honesty and outreach by both entities. The public, parishioners, taxpayers, Catholics and victims deserve no less.”
On January 14, SNAP submitted a letter to the Berwyn City Hall asking for an investigation into Paduch’s past.
On January 22, a Texas bishop admitted that Paduch has been defrocked because of credible child sex abuse allegations there.
Recently, Paduch’s name reportedly disappeared from the town’s website where he is employed as “Senior Advocate.” Neighbors say he hasn’t been seen around his apartment in the suburb and that men have moved furniture out.
“That suggests your town has made some findings or decisions about his future with Berwyn,” said SNAP’s letter. “If this is true, you owe the public an explanation of both why he’s not with Berwyn any more and of how he got hired in the first place, given the serious allegations against him.”
The support group also believes Catholic authorities should speak out, warn the public and reveal what they know about Paduch's history of abusing children.
“Without a peep, Catholic officials settled a child sex abuse case against Paduch, and their silence no doubt helped this predator get a taxpayer-funded job working across the street from a school,” said Blaine. “This is essentially what the church hierarchy has done for decades – deal secretly with predators and enable them to go elsewhere and put other kids at risk.”
Specifically SNAP wants the Chicago archdiocese and a religious order called the Augustinians, which employed Paduch, to use church websites and newsletters to urge anyone with information about his crimes to call law enforcement.
“For the sake of public safety, this is the absolute bare minimum Cardinal (Francis) George and other church staffers should do,” Blaine said.
SNAP alleges Paduch, who has worked for the city since July of 2005, lives with Josh Hamilton, a registered sexual offender. Hamilton, who shares the same address as Paduch, was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Tennessee, according to the Illinois Sex Offender Information registry.
Berwyn City Administrator’s is Brian Pabst and the town’s Police Chief is William Kushner.
SNAP’s letter, sent today by fax and e mail, is below
Feb. 22, 2010
Mayor Robert J. Lovero
Dear Mayor Lovero:
Citizens need and deserve to know the status and whereabouts of a predator priest on Berwyn’s payroll.
Frank Paduch was suspended five weeks ago. Berwyn officials claimed they would investigate child sex abuse allegations against him. One month ago, Beaumont TX Bishop Curtis J. Guillory admitted that Paduch had been accused of sexually abusing a high school student and has been defrocked.
And recently, Paduch’s name reportedly disappeared from your town’s website. He’s no longer listed as the head of "Senior Services" for Berwyn. That suggests your town has made some findings or decisions about his future with Berwyn.
If this is true, you owe the public an explanation of both why he’s not with Berwyn any more and of how he got hired in the first place, given the serious allegations against him.
Regardless of his status with Berwyn, if your investigation is on-going, Catholics and citizens deserve to know that as well. You and your staff should prod them to step forward if they saw, suspected or suffered any misdeeds or crimes by Paduch.
Some have told us it looks like Paduch has moved from his Berwyn apartment. That makes us even more worried and increases your obligation to disclose what you and your staff have learned about his past.
Child molesters count on and thrive in secrecy. By keeping quiet about Paduch’s crimes and status with Berwyn, you are only helping a predator, not your constituents, his victims, or Chicago area parents.
We hope to hear from you soon.
National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests