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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Twice accused predator priest still working

Victim to speak out publicly for the first time

Sex abuse organization blasts bishop for not ousting cleric

SNAP calls alleged pedophile case “one of the most troubling ever”

Bishop should post names of all predator priests on diocesan website

Self-help group wants others who saw, suspected or suffered misdeeds to come forward

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a former Tulsa resident will speak publicly for the first time ever about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a still-working local priest. With other clergy sexual abuse victims, he will
-- harshly criticize Tulsa’s Catholic bishop for not ousting the twice-accused predator priest, and
-- urge him to suspend the cleric immediately, and publicly explain and apologize for his “reckless delay,”

The group will also beg
--others who saw, suspected or suffered abuse by the cleric to call police, protect others, get help and start recovering, and
--Tulsa’s bishop to post names of child molesting clerics on the diocesan website.

When:
Thursday, Aug. 12 @ 2:30 p.m.

Where:
Outside the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral, 810 S. Boulder in downtown Tulsa

Who:
Two adults who were sexually victimized by clergy and are members of a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a Colorado man speaking about his abuse( in Tulsa) for the first time and a Missouri man who is SNAP’s long-time executive director

Visuals:
The group will hold signs, photos of the accused priest & of themselves as children.

Details:
Six months ago, Paul Weber reported to Tulsa church officials that Fr. Paul Eichhoff molested him in 1978 when he was a nine-year old at St. Mary’s Parish in Tulsa. But Tulsa Bishop Edward Slattery hasn’t yet suspended Eichhoff from his post at St. Cecelia Parish in Claremore (918 341 2343). SNAP is alarmed by this inaction and believes it puts kids needlessly at risk and violates the US Catholic bishops’ national sex abuse policy.

The group wants Eichhoff suspended immediately, for the safety of children.

This is at least the second allegation of child sex abuse against Eichhoff. In 2002, he was accused of molesting then 8 or 9 year old Kelly Kirk of Tulsa when Kirk was in the second or third grade at St. Mary’s school in the 1970s. According to the Associated Press, within 24 hours of Kirk’s abuse report to the bishop, Eichhoff sued Kirk, claiming “slander.” SNAP believes Eichhoff’s goal was to intimidate other victims into staying silent.

In 2004, however, Eichhoff lost his slander lawsuit, however. (The same jury determined that Eichhoff hadn’t molested Kirk.) http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_press_releases/2004_press_releases/101804_tulsa_trial.htm

Eichhoff and another priest, Fr. Ken Lewis, were both accused of molesting kids while at St. Mary’s. A lay ministerial worker, Evelyn McMahon, reported that in 1993, Eichhoff had threatened to fire her if she told anyone about seeing associate pastor Lewis in bed with a boy and giving boys “back rubs.” http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2002_07_28_Egerton_AccusedPriest_Kenneth_Lewis_1.htm

In January/February 2010, Weber contacted diocesan lawyer John Jarboe. (Weber's family reported his abuse to the church even earlier, in November 2009.) Late last year, Weber also filed a police report with Tulsa Detective Darrin Carlot (918-669-6502) of the Child Crisis Unit (Report #2009064227). (Copies of these documents will be released.)

Eichhoff has been represented by Tulsa lawyer Ken Brune (918 599 9600). A photo of Eichhoff is available at BishopAccountability.org.

SNAP hopes to persuade those who saw, suspected or suffered clergy crimes to report to secular authorities (not church officials), expose molesters and protect kids.

Six weeks ago, Pope Benedict promised that the Catholic hierarchy would “do everything possible” to prevent future abuse. In light of that pledge, SNAP is urging Slattery to follow the lead of 24 US bishops and disclose the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics and church workers who have lived or worked in his diocese. In recent months, bishops in two Massachusetts dioceses (Boston and Springfield) have said they will release such lists. http://www.cbs3springfield.com/news/local/96332319.html and http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/13/cardinal_sean_omalley_cites_progress_made_against_clergy_abuse/

SNAP wants the list to include ALL credibly accused clerics - living and dead, diocesan and religious order, those ordained here and those ordained elsewhere, and those in all religious positions (deacons, brothers, nuns, bishops, seminarians and lay workers). The group wants the names permanently posted on the archdiocesan website and included periodically in each of the hundreds of weekly parish bulletins given out at mass. The information should include the cleric’s seminary background, assignment history, and current status, and be regularly updated to include newly accused individuals.

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

Contact:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314) 566-9790 cell, Barbara Dorris (314) 503-0003


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