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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex victims pushes new bishop for action

Alleged church probe into predator enters 8th month

But there’s no evidence that anything’s happening, says SNAP

Self help group knows of no one who’s been contacted about priest

Cleric impregnated vulnerable young woman & ignored their child

Suspended last fall, he is also accused of molesting a Quincy teenager

SNAP to Springfield’s new bishop: “Citizens, Catholics & victims deserve answers”

Victims also want Paprocki to post on his website the names of all child molesting clerics

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Springfield’s new Catholic bishop to
-- aggressively reach out to anyone with information about an alleged predator priest who was ousted last fall, and
-- tell his flock where the predator is now, and
-- post all the names of central Illinois child molesting clerics on his diocesan website.

They will also prod anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups to call police, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing.

WHEN
Wednesday, June 30, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the North Campus of Quincy University, a Franciscan school, at the corner of N. 18th St. & Seminary Rd. in Quincy IL

WHO
One - two members of a Chicago-based support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis woman who is the organization’s associate Midwest director

WHY
This is Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s first full week in his new job as head of the Springfield Diocese. SNAP is asking him to take two immediate steps to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

First SNAP wants him to do what 24 other bishops have done, and post on his website, for the sake of public safety, the names, whereabouts and priestly status of child molesting clerics who are or have been in central Illinois. Second, SNAP wants him to work hard to find and help anyone who may have been hurt by a priest who is accused of sexually violating an Illinois girl.

Last October, Fr. Henry Willenborg was suspended from active ministry because of allegations that he molested a Quincy teenager years ago. At the time of his ouster, Willenborg was working at Our Lady of the Lake church in Ashland, Wisconsin (in the Superior Diocese). The move was prompted, in part, by a long, page one New York Times story which disclosed that Willenborg seduced a young devout Illinois Catholic woman, impregnated her twice, urged her to have an abortion once, then for more than two decades essentially ignored the boy he fathered. In the same article, another woman said that Willenborg had sexually abused her when she was in high school in Quincy. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/us/16priest.html

Despite immediate pledges by church probe to investigate the accusations, SNAP sees no evidence that any such investigation has taken place or is taking place. SNAP wants Paprocki to use his considerable resources church bulletins and websites and newspaper to aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered any crimes by the cleric.

Since October, all of the relevant church officials have been silent about Willenborg’s whereabouts, status, and their supposed investigation. These include bishops in Wisconsin and Illinois, and Willenborg’s direct supervisors in a St. Louis-based religious order called the Franciscans. SNAP says it doesn’t know of a single person who’s been contacted by church officials about Willenborg, and hasn’t seen a single sign of any public outreach, like news releases, ads, letters to current or former church members or employees.

Such silence and inaction violates the US church abuse policy, which calls for sensitivity toward victims and openness in clergy sex cases, SNAP says.

Willenborg is also accused of sexually exploiting other parishioners, and trying to talk one woman into an abortion.

According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccoutnabilty.org, there are eight publicly accused Springfield diocesan child molesting clerics. One of them, Fr. Alvin Campbell, was in the news across the world last month because newly-released church records showed that Pope Benedict refused to defrock him even after Campbell was convicted of child sexual abuse.) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7787175/Pope-failed-to-defrock-priest-despite-being-asked-to-by-bishop.html

SNAP notes that the actual number of Springfield area pedophile priests is likely much higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodge in the public domain inn civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.

In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose names. A good current example is the Philadelphia archdiocese: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm. Here is a list of all the dioceses that have disclosed names: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm

Here is an earlier story about SNAP outreach in Quincy: http://www.whig.com/story/news/SNAP-110509

(SNAP is holding a similar news conference today in St. Louis about Willenborg.)

CONTACT Judy Jones 636 433 2511 or 314 974 5003 cell
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com


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