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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Mom to make impassioned appeal

Her son’s father is a Catholic priest

She wants to help with investigation

Priest is accused of molesting Quincy girl

But church officials “drag their feet” on “probe”

Group invites bishop to “open, public discussion”

SNAP to Paprocki: “At least sit with us & hear our concerns”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a St. Louis mom whose son was fathered by a priest will try to hand deliver a letter to Springfield’s new bishop giving him information about an Illinois teenager who was molested by the same priest.

She and a clergy sex abuse victims’ advocate will also urge the bishop to
--hold an open public discussion about how to best protect kids in Catholic churches, and
--reconsider his decision to NOT list child molesting clerics on his diocesan website.

WHEN
Wednesday, Aug. 18, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Springfield Catholic headquarters (chancery office), 1615 West Washington, in Springfield IL

WHO
Two Missouri women who are members of SNAP the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). One is the mother of a boy whose dad is a priest. The other is SNAP’s Associate Midwest Director.

WHY
Last October, the New York Times reported that a priest who worked in Quincy sexually exploited a Catholic parishioner, Pat Bond, impregnated her twice, tried to persuade her to have an abortion, and for years essentially ignored the child he fathered. He is also accused of sexually abusing another unnamed girl in Quincy.

The priest is Fr. Henry V. Willenborg. He worked at Our Lady of Angels Seminary from 1976 to 1987, now known as North Campus of Quincy University. After the Times story ran, Willenborg was suspended from the large parish he headed in Ashland, Wisconsin (Our Lady of the Lake, 715-682-7620, http://www.ourladycc.org/About/staff.htm, www.ourladycc.org) with a parochial elementary school next door (715-682-7622). Church officials claimed they would investigate the child sex allegations against him.

But neither Bond nor SNAP officials have been contacted regarding any such inquiry. Nor have they, over the past ten months, heard from anyone else who has been or seen any evidence of such a probe.

SNAP and Bond worry that Willenborg may have exploited/abused innocent girls and/or vulnerable adults while in Quincy. SNAP has asked new Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki to use his resources and pulpits to see if Willenborg hurt others in the Springfield diocese. He has refused.

Bond is detailing what she knows about the abused Quincy teen (much of it she has learned first-hand). She’ll offer also to help church officials look further into the report against Willenborg.

On June 30, SNAP wrote Paprocki, urging him to post on his website the names and whereabouts of child molesting clerics who lived or worked in the diocesan website. On August 4, Paprocki wrote to SNAP and refused. SNAP is asking him to reconsider and to join with them at an open, public event to discuss the pros and cons of listing predator priests. (Roughly 24 US bishops have taken this step, which SNAP says is the “bare minimum” bishops should do to protect children.)

Bond plans to provide a similar letter to the St. Louis-based Franciscans who are Willenborg’s direct supervisors. The regional head of the Franciscans is Fr. John Doctor (314-353-3421, DocOFM69@aol.com, Provincial@TheFriars.org, ProvincialOffice@TheFriars.org). A St. Louis lawyer who represents the Franciscans and is very familiar with the case is Catherine A. Schroeder (314-552-6000).

Besides Springfield, Willenborg also worked in dioceses in New Orleans, Chicago and Superior WI. Willenborg's e mail is henrywill4@aol.com.

CONTACT
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Judy Jones 314 974 5003, snapjudy@gmail.com


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