The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Clergy sex victims blast archdiocese
They want more clarity about “restored” priest
Twice accused of sexual misdeeds, he was just reinstated
Group urges two other bishops to “reach out to others” who may have been hurt
At a news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will blast Denver’s Catholic archbishop for
--re-instating an accused predator priest, and
--ignoring the fact that a second man also accused him of sexual misdeeds.
They will also
-- urge Denver’s archbishop to provide more info about the church process which essentially “cleared” the priest,
-- prod two other bishops to “aggressively reach out” to others who may know about the priest, and
-- beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered the cleric’s misconduct to contact police, get help, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.
Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2:30 p.m.
Outside the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1530 Logan Street in Denver
Two or three individuals who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including a victim who is the group's Denver director
On Sunday, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput announced that he was restoring a suspended and accused predator priest back to ministry. Chaput said that a small, hand-picked church panel decided that the child sex abuse allegation against Fr. Melvin F. Thompson was “not supported by the evidence.” But he refused to give any detail about the process (Did the panel interview the accuser? How many other people did the panel talk with?) SNAP wants Chaput to be more forthcoming about the procedure he used in this case and others.
SNAP believes Chaput should work much harder to urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Thompson to come forward. And SNAP is publicly appealing to Catholic bishops in Colorado Springs CO and Wichita KS, where Thompson also worked, to use diocesan websites, parish bulletins, and pulpit announcements to seek out others who may know of his misconduct. (It is unusual and sometimes suspicious, SNAP notes, for a Catholic priest to work in three different dioceses.)
In May, a Colorado TV station interviewed a man who reported that in the 1990s, Thompson made an inappropriate sexual advance toward him, while naked, and talking about masturbation.
Chaput’s announcement on Sunday made no mention of that alleged incident. SNAP is urging Chaput to disclose whether his panel spoke with that accuser or even made efforts to do so.
The group is urging anyone who may have been hurt – by Thompson or other current or former church staff – to contact independent sources of support (therapists, police, and self-help groups) rather than church employees.
Jeb Barrett of Aurora, SNAP Denver Leader 720-222-2412
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com