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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex victim speaks publicly for first time

He blasts ‘bizarre’ new archdiocesan defense

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

Judge rules that church admits abuse could have been stopped

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

Group begs Carlson to “change course” & stop the “hair-splitting” tactics

What
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a south St. Louis man will speak publicly for the first time (and take questions) about his childhood sexual abuse by a priest. He will also
--blast the St. Louis archbishop’s unprecedented new legal move to block his child sex lawsuit against a known predator,
--strongly urge the archbishop to drop the “hardball” move and
--pledge to never exploit this “bizarre” technicality again.

He and other victims will also
--beg the archbishop 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
--obey the Pope’s recent pledge to “do everything possible” to prevent future abuse.

When
Tuesday, July 20 at 1:00 p.m.

Where
Outside Mary Magdalen Catholic church, Kingshighway and Bancroft, on the city’s south side

Who
Paul Alvino of St. Louis, along with two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Why
In a formal ruling, City Circuit Court Judge Donald McMullin has found

1. that an alleged child sex abuse victim, Alvino, “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. In April, Alvino 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 Missouri court.

Cooper abused Alvino, who was then around 12 years old, at St. Mary Magdalen parish in south St. Louis from 1970 to 1971. Alvino 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 2005, when the suit against him 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 several weeks ago sponsored a reception in downtown Clayton for Archbishop Robert Carlson.

Alvino, identified only as John Doe, discussed his case in the most recent issue of the Riverfront Times:

http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2010-07-14/news/sins-of-the-father-whatever-happened-father-cooper-cabin-1971-archdiocese-is-not-responsible/

Here’s the original story about the filing of Alvino’s lawsuit:

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

Contact
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003


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