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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex victims blast ‘bizarre’ new archdiocesan defense

SNAP calls it’s “the worst legal move ever” by church here

Group will leaflet today outside Archbishop’s special mass

Judge rules that church admits abuse could have been stopped

But Carlson exploits technicality: crimes weren’t on church property

SNAP begs him to “change course” & stop the “hair-splitting” tactic

What
As Catholics and lawyers go into a special mass with St. Louis’ archbishop, clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers that
--the archbishop’s unprecedented new legal move to block a child sex lawsuit against a known predator and
--strongly urge him to drop the effort and pledge to never exploit this “bizarre” technicality again.

The leaflets will also
--beg the Carlson to honor the Pope’s recent stated wishes and “come clean” about all proven, admitted and credibly accused predatory priests who have been or are in the St. Louis archdiocese, and
--beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups to call police, get help, expose predators, protect others and start healing.

When
Friday, May 7 at 1l:40 a.m.

Where
Outside St. Joseph Catholic Church, corner of Maryland & Meramec avenues in Clayton

Who
A few clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including the organization’s long time executive director

Why
City Circuit Court Judge Donald McMullin has found

1. that an alleged child sex abuse victim “has evidence” that the archdiocese knew a priest “had a history of sexual abuse,

2. that leaving (the priest) alone with children was certain. . .to result in harm to (others),

3. church officials "disregarded that known risk, and, as a result,"

4. (at least one boy) was sexually abused by (the priest.)”

Still, in an unprecedented move, the Archdiocese is arguing that it “can only be held liable if the abuse occurred on (church property).”

In March, the judge agreed with the archdiocese and tossed out the case. Last month, the victim filed an appeal which is still pending.

SNAP calls the church’s defense “a bizarre, rare and inexcusable technicality” – the fact that the crimes allegedly took place off church property (at a “clubhouse” on the Big River). It’s believed to be the first time in Missouri history that church officials have successfully used the argument, which SNAP finds morally deplorable. The organization calls the church’s move “possibly the most mean-spirited legal maneuver in archdiocesan history.”

Church officials usually win in court using other technical defenses, notably the statute of limitations. So even though the archdiocese has used the “not on church property” tactic before, until now, it’s never been the sole reason that a clergy sex abuse case was tossed out by a court.

Cooper abused the then-12 year old boy at St. Mary Magdalen parish in south St. Louis from 1970 to 1971. He filed his suit in 2005.

Cooper was ordained in 1955, retired in 1993, died in 2003, and worked in Webster Groves, Hazelwood, University City, Jennings and St. Louis city (and perhaps other locations). In 2003, when the suit was first filed, archdiocesan staff refused to provide a list of where Cooper worked. SNAP is urging Carlson to do so now.

The archdiocese’s lawyers are Bernie Huger, Luci Huger and Ed Goldenhersh, who are sponsoring a reception today for Archbishop Robert Carlson.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2005_06_23_Patrick_SuitAlleges_Thomas_Cooper.htm

Contact
David Clohessy 566 9790, Mary Ellen Kruger 962 0964 home 807 2372 cell, Barbara Dorris 503 0003


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