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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Child sex abuse victims want bishop to do “outreach”

Serial child molesting cleric abused while at local church

Six men resolved civil lawsuit last fall in Dallas against predator priest

Despite multi-million dollar settlement, he’s never been “outed” in San Antonio

And a different predator, living here now, just hit with 1/2 million dollar judgment

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- disclose a new ½ million dollar judgment against a San Antonio child molesting ex-cleric,
-- discuss a $4.6 million child sex and cover up lawsuit settlement last fall with Texas Catholic officials involving a different predator, and
-- beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered the pedophiles’ crimes or misdeeds to get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, and start healing.

They will also prod San Antonio’s archbishop to explain and apologize for his secrecy about both allegations and settlements.

WHEN
Thursday, Aug. 26, at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Catholic headquarters (chancery office), 2718 West Woodlawn, in San Antonio

WHO
Two clergy sex abuse victims who are members of a support group called SNAP the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org),

WHY
Earlier this month, a $500,000 judgment was reached between a former Catholic brother and a Missouri man who he sexually assaulted as a child. And last October, a $4.65 million settlement was announced involving lawsuits by six men who were abused as boys by a priest. Both clerics worked in San Antonio.

They are William Mueller, who still lives in San Antonio, and Fr. Thomas Behnke, who is now deceased. Neither the settlement nor the judgment has been publicized in the San Antonio area before.

Mueller worked for a decade at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, starting 1971. Behnke worked at several places in the San Antonio archdiocese, including Moore, Bigfoot, Derby Dilley, Pearsall, and twice in San Antonio itself (at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Teresa (from 1949-50 and again from 1989-92). According to a sworn deposition, he allegedly molested at least one child in San Antonio in the 1950s.

As best SNAP can tell, Behnke’s crimes and his presence in San Antonio have never been publicly disclosed by San Antonio church staff or local news media.

SNAP will challenge San Antonio church officials to publicly apologize for and explain their silence about both settlements. The group will urge church staff to use church websites, parish bulletins, local pulpits, and his archdiocesan newspaper and website to publicize Behnke’s crimes and Mueller’s crimes.

All six boys known publicly to have been molested by Behnke were about 11-12 years old when the abuse began. Most were students at St. Mary of Carmel School in Dallas. The crimes happened in the rectory and during trips. Some of the abuse took place while Behnke worked in Oklahoma. Behnke also worked for three years at Dallas’ Catholic Cathedral before being sent to work in San Antonio.

Behnke belongs to an Oklahoma City-based religious order called the Discalced Carmelite Friars (405 235 2037), which was one of the two defendants in the cases. (The other was the Dallas Catholic diocese.) Behnke died in 2008.

Behnke’s victims are represented by Dallas attorneys Lori Watson and Tahira Merritt (214 503 7300). Mueller’s victims are represented by St. Louis attorney Ken Chackes (314 872 8420) & Miami attorney Adam Horowitz (305 931 2200). Mueller is represented by St. Louis attorney Martin Hadican (314 863 0500).

Two years ago, the Express found Mueller “living at a West Side home with his older brother.” http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2008/09_10/2008_10_30_Levy_MarianistsSettle.htm

Mueller’s victim is not trying to collect the judgment.

SNAP is holding a similar news conference about Mueller today in St. Louis.

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 Beltran 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 archdiocese. 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
Barbara Garcia Boehland 210 725 8329 or 210 723 8286, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003 cell


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