The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release Tuesday, Feb.22, 2011:
Victims want two more church grand juries
They release ten pages of long-secret church documents
New records show that ex-Pgh Cardinal acted recklessly in NY
He quietly transferred predator to MO & NJ where he abused again
Predator is now behind bars for life in Massachusetts for child sex crimes there
“Prosecutors in Brooklyn & Pittsburgh should open investigations,” SNAP says
A Chicago-based international support group is urging a Pittsburgh prosecutor to launch a grand jury investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups like the recent one in Philadelphia.
The self-help organization SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) is releasing ten pages of long-secret church records today which show that former Pittsburgh Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua, as a high-ranking Brooklyn chancery official, kept quiet about a known predator priest (who “consistently created problems”) and helped the priest moved out of state where he molested kids again. (Other records, released earlier, show that Bevilacqua acted recklessly, callously and deceitfully in clergy sex cases as bishop of Pittsburgh too.)
In response to the new revelations, and a recent grand jury report in Philadelphia which showed similarly “irresponsible moves” by Bevilacqua there, SNAP wants prosecutors in Pittsburgh and Brooklyn to open probes in those cities into diocesan child sex cases involving church employees.
The new document show that in 1973, a therapist wrote that Fr. Romano J. Ferrraro shouldn’t be given “any assignment that would engage (him) intimately with the people and especially with boys or teenagers.” And in 1977, Bevilacqua was copied on a memo from a priest reporting that Ferraro abused two New York boys.
Yet in 1981, Bevilacqua facilitated Ferraro’s quiet move to a Missouri parish (where he got treatment at a notorious church center for pedophiles). That same year, Ferraro repeatedly molested an 11 year old St. Louis boy who, years later as an adult years, took his own life. (In recent years, two other Missouri men settled civil suits stemming from their abuse by Ferraro.)
In 1983, records show that Bevilacqua felt putting Ferraro in any Brooklyn parish “presents too much of a risk,” but would let Ferraro “take an assignment in the New York Archdiocese.” Ferraro was then sent to New Jersey, where he molested two more boys.
Bevilacqua came under fire in 2005 for his similar handling of a Pittsburgh abuse case: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Philly_05_08_Connor.pdf The Connor case is one of many cases discussed by the 2005 grand jury report. A summary of the mishandling of abuse cases by Bevilacqua, his predecessor, and their managers, may be found in the report's "Overview of the Cover-Up by Archdiocese Officials":
SNAP maintains that two Philadelphia grand juries have shown that Bevilacqua acted irresponsibly with sex cases and that his successor did too.
“Given these facts, we are calling on prosecutors in Brooklyn and Pittsburgh to open grand jury investigations,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP. “Even though most crimes by Bevilacqua and his top aides would likely fall outside the statute of limitations, we believe such probes might turn up crimes that could be prosecuted and/or produce helpful reports like the two Philly grand juries have generated.”
The new records were obtained by a victim in a civil clergy sex abuse and cover up case involving Ferraro and Bevilacqua, a Brooklyn diocese official (in 1976) before he was tapped to head the Pittsburgh diocese (in 1983). The victim was represented by Miami attorneys Adam Horowitz and Jessica Arbour (305 931 2200, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
According to a new article in a Catholic magazine, in 2002, Bevilacqua tried to ‘water down’ the US bishops’ abuse policy “so that bishops would have to contact civil authorities only in response to allegations of sexual abuse deemed ‘credible’ by each bishop.”
“We hope Pittsburgh and Brooklyn citizens and Catholics overcome their fears and tell law enforcement what they know and suspect about these credibly accused predators so that kids will be better protected,” Clohessy emphasized.
“If kids are to be safer, anyone with information about clergy sex crimes and cover ups must come forward to police and prosecutors,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s president. “When victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers stay silent, nothing changes and kids get assaulted. But when victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers speak up, at least there’s a chance for prevention, healing, and justice.”
Law enforcement officials, Blaine stressed, must also “stop being passive and start aggressively prodding anyone with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes and cover ups to step forward.”
SNAP is also urging Catholics in each diocese where Bevilacqua worked to seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and prod them to call police and prosecutors so wrongdoers can be jailed and wrongdoing can be prevented.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests