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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Local predator priest has parole hearing next week

Another child molesting cleric got out of jail late last week

Clergy sex victims hand out fliers warning about both men

One has been convicted of sex offenses before & now walks free

The other, convicted in 2002, may also be freed soon, SNAP fears

SNAP praises brave child victims & urges others to ‘step forward’

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood pictures, clergy sex abuse victims will hand fliers to passers-by about two convicted St. Louis predator priests, one who faces an upcoming parole hearing. The leaflets urge citizens to
--write state officials and urge that the child molesting cleric be kept locked up, and
--contact Archbishop Robert Carlson, asking him to also write the parole board with the same message.

The group also wants
---Parents to ask youngsters if they may have been abused by either priest,
---Anyone who saw or suspected their crimes to call police (so they might be prosecuted again), and
---local Catholic staff & groups to use their websites & other resources to warn the public about them.

WHEN
Tuesday, Aug. 10, 11:30 am

WHERE
Outside the St. Louis County courthouse, 7900 Carondelet Avenue in downtown Clayton

WHO
Three-four clergy abuse victims who belong to an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
In one week, at a parole hearing in Bonne Terre, Fr. Gary P. Wolken will ask for early release from prison. In 2003, he was convicted of sexually abusing of boy over a three year period starting about 1997 when the child was five years old. Wolken was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.

Last Thursday, city prosecutors announced that a now-defrocked priest, Fr. Joseph D. Ross, has been released from jail despite being initially being charged with molesting a St. Louis child in 2000. (Those charges are being dropped because, according to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce "(Though) we continue to have full confidence in the victim's allegations but, due to evolving circumstances, no longer feel we have sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial." So now Ross walks free. His whereabouts are unknown.

SNAP worries that both men, if given a chance, may molest again.

The recent criminal case against Ross can be re-filed later. Both his victim and the Wolken victim are still teenagers.

According to news accounts, Ross pleaded guilty in 1988 to sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy. He was sentenced to two years probation and treatment. During the investigation, Ross admitted that he had earlier been accused of molesting a different child in 1970s and had been twice been arrested for other sex crimes - propositioning an undercover police officer for sex and for public indecency.

The archdiocese placed Ross on leave March 2002 and defrocked him in August 2007. A civil suit against him was filed in November 2002 alleging that he abused a 14 year old boy in 1977. It’s not clear whether this is the same boy involved in the 1988 criminal case.)

Ross worked at parishes in University City (in the late 1990s), Lemay, Pacific, Woodson Terrace and, most recently, until 2002, in St. Louis city (at St. Cronan’s parish on Boyle in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood).

Wolken worked at parishes in St. Louis City, University City and Chesterfield. In 2006, Wolken tried to win early release but failed. Roughly 25 years earlier, Wolken had abused another boy but was not prosecuted. In 2004, a civil suit filed b y one of Wolken’s victims in 2004 was settled for $1.6 million.

The Pope recently promised to "do everything possible" to protect children and help victims heal. In light of this pledge, SNAP is asking Carlson to write to the parole board urging them to deny parole.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_e0ae9b05-1bfe-5855-a5dd-19ab86095a69.html

Photos of Ross and Wolken are available at BishopAccountability.org

CONACT
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688, 314 503 0003 cell, Mary Ellen Kruger 314 962 0964


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