The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Clergy sex victims beg bishop for help
Predator was found dead on Christmas
Until then, no one knew where he had gone
Fleeing law enforcement, he escaped to Caribbean islands
He was helped by a Maryland businessman & a psychologist
Self help group wants local archbishop to publicly condemn them
Over 30 years, predator worked for six dioceses & church institutions
At least two dozen children have accused cleric or settled cases against him
They will also
According to the Baltimore Sun, two Maryland men a contractor named Wayne Ruth and a psychologist named Gregory Lehne visited Brett in the Caribbean while he was being pursued by the FBI. (Ruth had close church ties and was a friend of Brett’s. Lehne, a Johns Hopkins staffer, had been Brett’s therapist. He’s at 410-366-0642, email@example.com). SNAP wants Baltimore Archbishop Edward O’Brien to publicly denounce the two, so a clear signal is sent to his flock that thwarting law enforcement and shielding predators won’t be tolerated.
During his years abroad, two Bridgeport diocesan priests also kept in touch with Brett. When this was publicly disclosed in 2002, they were disciplined by their bishop. SNAP wants O’Brien to initiate a formal archdiocesan probe to see if any current or former church staff or members here similarly helped hide Brett from secular authorities. (O’Brien was NOT in Baltimore when Brett abused here or fled so has little or no first-hand knowledge of how the previous archbishop and his staff handled the Brett case)
SNAP also wants O’Brien to make announcements in pulpits, parish bulletins and on parish websites about Brett, urging anyone who was hurt to come forward and get help.
Often, SNAP says, when a child molester dies, more of his victims feel free to speak up, especially if invited or prodded to do so by authority figures. SNAP wants O’Brien and the Caribbean bishops to use their considerable resources to do this, and to also urge others with knowledge of Brett’s crimes to contact law enforcement so that anyone who helped Brett might be prosecuted (thus deterring future similar crimes and deceit).
At least one of his victims is represented by New Haven CT attorney Tom McNamara.
A copy of SNAP's letter sent to Baltimore Archbishop Edward O’Brien:
Jan. 12, 2011
Dear Archbishop O’Brien:
We are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( SNAPnetwork.org). Our mission is to heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.
As you know, Fr. Laurence Brett fled the US years ago. Many now know of his crimes. It’s too late for most of his victims to take legal action. So why are we asking for your help now?
- Because often, when a predator dies, his victims are more apt to come forward (especially if invited to do so)
- Because until two weeks ago, no one knew he was in Martinique. (He may, of course, have molested kids there.)
- Because even thought Brett can’t be prosecuted, it’s possible that some current and former church staff and members who ignored or concealed his crimes and thwarted law enforcement might still be prosecuted.
- Because we strongly suspect that there are still dozens of adults who were sexually assaulted as kids by Brett who are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame who need and deserve help.
- Because without prodding, we strongly doubt that you or your Caribbean colleagues will take any steps whatsoever to seek out and console Brett’s victims nor identify and punish Brett’s accomplices.
- Because few church officials, if any, did anything to stop Brett’s crimes.
- Because at least two Maryland citizens visited him while he was on the run from the law and kept his whereabouts secret.
- Because at least two Connecticut priests also knew of his whereabouts but shielded him from law enforcement.
- Because the Pope pledged this summer to “do everything possible” to help victims heal, and because we believe that aggressive, compassionate outreach to them is the first step in that process.
For these reasons and others, we believe it is your moral obligation now to try and help every person that he hurt and your civic obligation to try and help make sure everyone who
What specifically do we want you to do?
- Use your archdiocesan newspaper and archdiocesan website to clearly alert Catholics and citizens about Brett (and other known and suspected abusive clerics),
- Use parish bulletins and pulpit announcements to alert every single mass goer about the danger that once lurked and may still lurk in the diocese,
- Personally isit every parish, school, office and community where Brett worked to urge victims to come forward and start healing, and to urge witnesses and whistleblowers to call law enforcement.
- Write to your two Caribbean colleagues, in whose dioceses Brett spent most of the last decade, and prod them to take similar outreach steps.
- Publicly condemn the two Maryland men who thwarted law enforcement, protected a predator and endangered kids. (When we ignore wrong-doing, we encourage wrong-doing. You can, and should, use your bully pulpit’ to send a clear, strong message to your flock and your employees that shielding criminals and jeopardizing kids will not be tolerated.)
None of these requests are costly, complex, or controversial. These are simple, common sense steps. You can potentially help a child, heal an adult, and stop crime. Please, Archbishop, show some courage, compassion and leadership. Please act.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests