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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex abuse victims blast NY archbishop

He “quietly and deceptively” lets serial pedophile resign

Harlem pastor gets to step aside instead of being ousted

At least ten men accuse prominent cleric of molesting them

Still, Dolan lets alleged predator write “self-pitying” letter to parish

Deceit leaves some parishioners in doubt and kids at risk, group says

SNAP: “This is one of the most troubling cases we’ve seen in last 8 years”

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their loved ones will blast New York’s archbishop for acting “recklessly, deceptively and callously” by
-- letting a prominent suspended serial predator priest voluntarily resign, and
-- letting him send a “misleading, self-serving” letter to his flock.

Then they will try to hand deliver a letter to the archbishop insisting that he
-- protect kids by clearly telling the truth about the accused pedophile and
-- aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered the priest’s crimes.

The victims are also asking all New York area Catholic parishioners to
-- ask their friends and loved ones if they were ever hurt by a Catholic cleric,
-- if so, urge them to call police officials, not church officials.

WHEN:
TODAY, Thursday, September 23, 1:15 p.m.

WHERE:
Outside the home of the New York City archbishop, southwest corner of Madison & 51st (near St. Pat’s) in NYC

WHO:
A Harlem man and former cop who was abused by the cleric and reported the crimes to police, along with 5-8 clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY:
Two weeks ago, Archbishop Timothy Dolan quietly let a prominent and powerful priest, Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, resign from his Harlem parish and left the impression that Harris is stepping aside because of alleged health problems.

But Harris is an accused pedophile priest who was temporarily suspended in 2008 and who faces at least ten men who report having been sexually abused by him as children.

Harris is also Governor David Patterson’s pastor. In 2008, he coordinated Pope Benedict's Sunday afternoon Mass at Yankee Stadium. For years he has headed St. Charles Borromeo parish (where the abuse took place).

Last week, SNAP disclosed Dolan’s quiet move, calling it “reckless, deceptive and hurtful” and “one of the most troubling clergy sex cases anywhere in the last decade.”

SNAP also made public two deceptive letters – from Dolan and Harris - to church-goers at St. Charles Borromeo. One was by Dolan. The other was from the pedophile priest, Msgr. Wallace A. Harris. Neither letter mentioned the words “child sex abuse allegation,” much less acknowledged that at least ten men have come forward reporting that Harris sexually assaulted them in the 1970s and 1980s.

SNAP contends that Dolan should have clearly, publicly and permanently ousted Harris months ago. Instead, Dolan “kept silent, leaving parishioners in doubt, victims in pain, and kids at risk,” the group maintains. The group also believes that Dolan’s refusal to “tell the truth” about the allegations will cause some Catholics to consider Harris innocent and trust their kids around him, which may lead to more child sex crimes.

Several of the ten accusers have reported to police and prosecutors about Harris’ crimes. None have filed civil lawsuits. The first man to reveal having been violated by Harris is a former police officer, Eric Crumbley. Crumbley is now a minister and he disclosed his name when he stepped forward. These facts, SNAP maintains, speak to the victims’ credibility and motives.

Harris is the second predator priest to have worked recently at St. Charles Borromeo. In 2003, Fr. Francis Xavier Nelson was convicted of molesting a 12 year old girl in Brooklyn.

According to the New York Times, “church officials supervising (Nelson) had been aware of the allegations in 1999 and considered them credible, but he was allowed to transfer from Brooklyn to the Archdiocese of New York.”

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2002_05_24_Wakin_PriestCharged.htm

According to BishopAccountability.org, Nelson “has since returned to his church in India, where he works in the bishop's office.”

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/03_04/2010_04_14_MercuryNews_SnapshotsOf.htm

Copies of the letters from Dolan and Harris sent to the Harlem parish are available here:

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ny_newyork/2010_08_28_Harris_MyDearParishioners.pdf
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ny_newyork/2010_09_02_Dolan_MyBrothers.pdf

A copy of SNAP’s letter to Dolan is available upon request.

CONTACT:
Mary Caplan (917) 439-4187 Mcaplan682@aol.com, Tim Walsh (631) 334 4678, David Clohessy (314) 566-9790 SNAPclohessy@aol.com


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