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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Victim wins court ruling in pedophile priest case
But hours later, Tulsa bishop appeals to OK Supreme Court
Sex abuse organization blasts prelate for “desperate legal tactics”
Top Catholic official is “afraid of an open courtroom,” group claims
SNAP: Slattery’s argument is “archaic” & has failed in all but three states
Self-help group wants others who saw, suspected or suffered misdeeds to come forward
He will also
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, was originally filed in 2007. It charges that Lewis molested a boy in 2001 on a trip to Chicago.
According to BishopAccountability.org, Lewis had been sent by church supervisors for treatment for sexual troubles in 1994 and then reassigned to a parish. Tulsa’s bishop did not remove him until 2002 even after repeated complaints. No criminal charges were filed against him because the statute of limitations had run. Lewis has been suspended from ministry and his whereabouts are unknown. A photo of him is available at BishopAccountability.org
Slattery’s claim is that lawsuits against church officials inherently violate the First Amendment. But his theory has only been upheld in three states (MO, ME and WI) and largely in rulings handed out 13 years or more ago. The overwhelming majority of courts in the last decade or so have let victims sue church supervisors for the crimes of their clergy. Justices have held that the Constitution protects religious belief, not criminal actions.
One of the church employees mentioned in the suit is Fr. Paul Eichhoff, who himself has been accused at least twice of molesting boys. In 2002, he was accused of molesting then 8 or 9 year old Kelly Kirk of Tulsa when Kirk was in the second or third grade at St. Mary’s school in the 1970s.
This summer, a second man who reports having been assaulted as a child by Eichhoff spoke publicly in Tulsa. He says that Eichhoff molested him in 1978 when he was a nine-year old at St. Mary’s Parish in Tulsa. But Tulsa’s bishop hasn’t yet suspended Eichhoff from his post at St. Cecelia Parish in Claremore (918 341 2343). SNAP is alarmed by this inaction and believes it puts kids needlessly at risk and violates the US Catholic bishops’ national sex abuse policy.
SNAP wants Eichhoff suspended immediately, for the safety of children.
Lewis victim is represented by St. Paul Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Tulsa attorney Patrick Carr.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests