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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims prod judge for “toughest” sentence

They’ll try to hand give letter to college president

Former Duquesne priest could be jailed for 20 years

But self help group does NOT want to see him deported

SNAP says “Third World kids are even more vulnerable”

Child molesting cleric worked in three states: WV, NH & PA

University officials are prodded to do more outreach about him

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

WHAT
After a sidewalk news conference, two members of a support group will try to hand deliver a letter to a Pittsburgh college president about a just-convicted predator priest who attended and worked at the university. They will also urge
--a Virginia judge to lock up an admitted predator priest for as long as possible,
--three other 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
Friday, Oct. 1, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
Outside Duquesne University, corner of Forbes Ave. & McAnulty Dr. (near Barnes & Noble), in Pittsburgh PA

WHO
Two representatives of a Chicago-based support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAPnetwork.org) including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s Midwest Director

WHY:
Yesterday, a former Duquesne student, Fr. Felix Charles Owino, pled guilty to molesting an 11 year old Virginia girl. From 1997 to 2005, Owino worked in two Pennsylvania dioceses: Pittsburgh (at St. Bede's parish, 509 S. Dallas Ave. in Pt. Breeze, 412-661-7222) and Allentown (at Alvernia College and St. Peter's parish in Reading).

SNAP wants to see Owino behind bars as long as possible, but then sent to a church treatment facility. The organization does NOT want him deported because it suspects he’ll 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.

(Recently, the Pittsburgh diocese made what SNAP considers “minimal” moves to find other Owino victims. The group wants Bishop Zubik to personally visit St. Bede’s and emphatically beg victims and witnesses to call lawn enforcement.)

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 Owino’s 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 Owino’s misdeeds should come forward, call police, protect others and start healing.

Sometimes, when one victim of a predator discloses, others sit back and assume he’ll 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://pittsburghtruth.org/Photo_Page_Pittsburgh.html

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.

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.

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

Most recently, Owino worked at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Wierton WV. He also taught at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling WV. He also taught at Magdalen College in the Manchester New Hampshire diocese.

CONTACT - Judy Jones, cell: 314-974-5003, hm: 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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