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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

New pedophile priest suit is filed

And a long-secret Vatican letter is disclosed for the first time

In it, a bishop is told to give no priest files to judges or others

It’s similar to newly-released, controversial Irish church document

SNAP: Both letters show "dangerous secrecy" by top Catholic officials

Group asks Mahony: "Has Vatican ever told you to keep crimes hidden?"

What:
Holding signs and photos of themselves at the age they were abused, sex abuse victims and their supporters will:
-- Announce a new lawsuit against a controversial predator cleric, who is now in jail, and
-- Disclose a never-before-released Vatican letter in which an LA bishop is told to NEVER turn over priest files to civil authorities, lawyers or judges.

They will also
-- Blast Vatican officials for another newly-disclosed church document in which Irish bishops are told to conceal clergy sex crimes from law enforcement,
-- Ask Cardinal Roger Mahony to reveal if the Vatican has told to him to hide files,
-- Demand the immediate public release of files of all accused, sued and admitted predator clergy, and
-- Encourage anyone with information about predator clergy to talk to law enforcement, not the church

Where:
Outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St. (at Hill) in Los Angeles

When:
Wednesday, January 19, at 11 am

Who:
Two to three clergy sex abuse victims who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (SNAPnetwork.org) the nation's largest and oldest support group for victims of sexual abuse in religious organizations.

Why:
Yesterday, a new child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit was filed against former Los Angeles priest Michael Baker. And yesterday, a newly-disclosed secret letter showed that Vatican officials instructed Irish bishops to conceal child sex crimes from police.

Today, SNAP is releasing a similar, never-before-released 1984 letter from a top Vatican official to a former Los Angeles church official forbidding him to ever turn over priest personnel files to civil judges, attorneys or others. The letter is from Cardinal Johannes Oddi of the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy and is written to former Tucson Bishop Manuel Moreno, once an LA auxiliary bishop. It deals with a priest who is being investigated by the Vatican for "drunkenness, outrageous language, liberties with women, etc." While the letters says that the priest should be removed from ministry, it also says that under no circumstances should the priest's secret personnel files be turned over to "civil authority." The Vatican cardinal goes on to promise that the Vatican will do everything in its power to resist turning over files.

Many of the victims, including the one in the new case, were abused after Baker told Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony in 1986 that he was a child sex predator. Mahony kept silent, refused to call the police, and let Baker stay in ministry for 14 more years (until 2000).

In news accounts, Mahony blames church policy at the time for his keeping Baker in parishes where he abused more children. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/11_12/2007_12_04_Spano_ExPriest.htm

In light of yesterday’s newly-disclosed Vatican letter ordering Irish bishops to keep abuse reports hidden, SNAP wants Mahony to disclose whether he and other US bishops were given the same instruction.

Baker is now serving a 10-year prison sentence for sexually abusing two kids. The victim in this new civil suit is in his 20s, which means that more criminal charges against Baker may be possible.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/05_06/2010_06_15_Williams_NewTestimony.htm

To date, Baker's secret personnel file has never been turned over to criminal authorities, despite repeated demands by law enforcement and victims' attorneys.

The Baker victim is represented by Attorney Vince Finaldi of Manly and Stewart (949 683 8373 cell). The new lawsuit is posted at www.manlystewart.com.

Copies of the letter will be available at the event

CONTACT
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director, 949-322-7434 cell jcasteix@gmail.com; David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director, 314-566-9790 cell, snapclohessy@aol.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach Director, 314-503-0003 cell, snapdorris@gmail.com


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