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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims prod judge for toughest sentence

Catholic priest could be jailed for 20 years

But group does NOT want to see him deported

SNAP: Third World kids are even more vulnerable

Church officials are prodded to do more outreach about him

"Help find others who were hurt," groups ask "and urge them to call police"

WHAT
Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, members of a support group will urge
--a Virginia judge to lock up an admitted predator priest for as long as possible,
--four colleges and four bishops to reach out to anyone else the cleric may have hurt, and
--Catholic officials to fight his deportation and agree to keep him in a treatment center after his prison term is over.

They’ll also beg anyone with information or suspicions about the cleric to come forward, get help, start healing and call law enforcement.

WHEN
Thursday, Sept. 30

TIME/PLACE
--12:30 p.m., in Weirton, outside St. Paul's Catholic Church, 140 Walnut Street (304-748-6710)
--2:30 p.m., in Wheeling, outside Jesuit University, 316 Washington Ave, ( near College Dr.)

WHO
Two representatives of a Chicago-based international support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY:
This past Wednesday, Fr. Felix Charles Owino pled guilty to molesting an 11 year old Virginia girl. Most recently, Owino worked at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Weirton. He also taught at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling.

In a plea arranged with prosecutors, Owino could be imprisoned for five years, although a judge has indicated he may not honor that deal. Owino could be locked up for 20 years and then deported to his native Nigeria.

SNAP wants to see Owino behind bars as long as possible, but then sent to a church treatment facility. The organization doesn’t want him deported because it suspects hell go to a Third World country where kids are even more vulnerable to predators and less likely to be caught and prosecuted by law enforcement. SNAP believes that Catholic officials recruit, educate, ordain, hire, transfer and often protect predator priests, so they have a duty to house and treat them to keep them away from children.

SNAP is also prodding church and college officials in PA, WV and NH to come clean about any allegations of sexual abuse while Owino worked in their areas. SNAP also wants church and college officials to help law enforcement by aggressively seeking out others with information about Owinos crimes. The group believes that Owino might be charged and convicted for other offenses and then imprisoned longer. SNAP worries because Owino is just 44 years old so even if he serves 20 years, he could molest again after being freed.

SNAP is also urging any current and former students and employees at the colleges to ask their colleagues about Owino, They believe that anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered Owinos misdeeds should come forward, call police, protect others and start healing.

From 1997 to 2005, he worked in two Pennsylvania dioceses: Allentown (at Alvernia College and St. Peter's parish in Reading) and Pittsburgh (at Duquesne University and St. Bede's parish). Owino also worked at Magdalen College in the Manchester New Hampshire diocese.

Sometimes, when one victim of a predator discloses, others sit back and assume hell be convicted. But SNAP feels it's important for everyone with information about clergy sex crimes to contact law enforcement. Often, abusive clerics get top notch defense lawyers who successfully exploit legal technicalities and escape conviction or get lenient sentences, the group maintains.

A photo of Owino is available at http://bishop-accountability.org/member/psearch.jsp

The case (#2010 -1420) was handled in Fairfax VA Circuit Court. The judge is Michael F. Devine, the prosecutor is Elizabeth Nash and Owinos attorney is Elizabeth Tuomey.

He pled guilty to the charge of aggravated sexual battery which carries a minimum penalty of 12 months in jail or a maximum of 20 years and up to $100,000.

http://www.wtov9.com/video/25206682/index.html

CONTACT - Judy Jones, 636 433 2511, snapjudy@gmail.com, David Clohessy 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com


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