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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims want action on year-old abuse case, 17 others

They will hand fliers to church-goers leaving mass

Catholic officials have been silent since cleric was ousted

They also refuse to obey court decision to turn over documents about serial molester

Documents could also expose other predators, including former bishop

SNAP begs anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” abuse to come forward

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos, victims of childhood sexual abuse and their supporters will hand out fliers to mass-goers about two alleged pedophile priests. One was suspended a year ago and the other worked at this church. The fliers will urge people to:
-- Ask people what they may know about both predators (one who stands accused of raping 30 boys)
-- Urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered their crimes – or any clergy crimes - to call police and get help, and
-- Call Baton Rouge’s Catholic bishop and tell him to immediately disclose the status and whereabouts of one cleric and turn over all documents about the other to the courts.

Where:
Outside St. Pius X Catholic Church, Hooper Road at Mickens Road, in Baton Rouge, LA

When:
Sunday, May 23 at 11:00 am

Who:
Two to three men and women who are clergy abuse victims or supporters and who belong to a Chicago-based support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a woman who is the group's Western Regional Director.

Why:
A year ago (April 2009), a Baton Rouge priest, Fr. Thomas Duhe was suspended from his post for credible allegations of child sex abuse. A year and a half ago (Nov. 2008), a judge ordered church officials to produce documents about another credibly accused priest, Fr. Christopher J. Springer, to several victims who are suing. But church officials have been silent about Duhe’s whereabouts and status. They have fought hard in court to prevent disclosure of records about Springer.

SNAP wants local citizens and Catholics to call Muench and insist that he

1) Update parishioners and the public about the probe into Duhe, and

2) Obey the court and turn over the records about Fr. Springer and 17 other predators in the diocese.

Fr. Thomas Duhe was suspended as pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Baton Rouge for allegedly repeatedly molesting a child. SNAP contends that no church probe into such allegations should take a year and that Catholics are entitled to know where Duhe is and what has been learned about the alleged crimes over the past 13 months.

Duhe worked in the diocese since the 1980s at several locations including Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Lakeland and St. Alphonsus in Greenwell Springs as well as St. Thomas More.

Springer and other perpetrators

State District Judge Curtis Calloway issued the disclosure order about Springer’s files in April of 2009, as a part of sex abuse civil suits against the cleric. To avoid the order and delay the case, the Diocese appealed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ordered another judge, Wilson Fields, to inspect the documents. Fields then gave the Diocese until Sept. 17 (2009) to file the documents with the court. But Baton Rouge Bishop Robert Muench continues to fight the order to keep the records secret, which relate to as many as 17 predators in the Diocese including the late Bishop Joseph Sullivan (whom church officials admit molested kids).

Springer worked in more than six parishes in Louisiana (including St. Gerard Majella in Baton Rouge, St. Pius X in Baton Rouge, St. Mary’s of False River, Pointe Coupee Church, Our Lady of the Assumption in Clinton, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Slidell and St. Alphonsus Parish in New Orleans).

The lawsuits against him allege sexual assaults between 1973 and 1984 while Springer “served in a position of authority for the devoutly Catholic families,” according to The Advocate.

Springer now works and lives at a retirement community in Pearl River, LA. Last year, Springer had authorized the release of the Diocese's file, but later withdrew his consent, claiming he’d agreed to the disclosure “under duress.”

Charles Cusimano is one of the attorneys for the diocese, Cyrus Greco is one of Springer’s lawyers. Houston attorney Felecia Peavy (713-222-0205) represents all the former altar boys who are suing.

Cusimano said, at one point Springer worked in the Clinton area and had a trailer there.

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/53523557.html

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2006/11_12/2006_12_28_Angelette_3ExAltar.htm

Contact:
Joelle Casteix 949 322 7434 or 225 618 0395, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, David Clohessy 314 566 9790


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