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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims urge Belleville bishop to oust cleric

A credibly accused priest is still in ministry now

And prelate “spends a fortune fighting a proven victim”

Group pushes Braxton to suspend alleged offender & drop appeal

SNAP renews its plea to Catholic officials: “Say where predators are living”

“If you won’t house and supervise them, at least tell us where they are,” victims beg

WHAT
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge
-- Belleville’s Catholic bishop to suspend a diocesan priest who has been quietly (not publicly) accused of molesting a child, and
-- tell the public where all his pedophile priests are now living, and
-- drop his appeal of a $5 million jury verdict to the Illinois Supreme Court.

WHEN
TODAY, Thursday, Feb. 24, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Belleville Diocese headquarters (‘chancery’), 222 South 3rd Street in Belleville

WHO
Members of a victims’ self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s long time director

WHY
Bishop Edward Braxton has received what SNAP considers a credible report of child sex abuse against a still-serving Belleville diocesan priest who is now in a parish. But Braxton hasn’t yet disclosed the allegation or suspended the cleric. For the safety of children, SNAP is publicly urging the bishop to take this action immediately.

(Because there is no criminal or civil action against the accused priest, SNAP is not publicly disclosing his name.)

As of last week, Braxton is urging Illinois’ highest court to overturn a $5 million jury verdict in a 2008 child sex abuse and cover up trial involving a notorious proven predator priest, Fr. Raymond Kownacki.

SNAP also upset that Braxton claims the verdict will cause financial hardship for the diocese, but won’t let independent third parties look at church finances and assets. The organizations don’t believe Braxton’s claim, especially since witnesses testified that the diocese earns more than $1 million annually just on interest.

The group is asking Braxton, in the interest of healing and justice, to stop “spending a fortune” fighting a proven and wounded abuse victim, and drop his formal appeal of the verdict.

The victim, James Wisniewski of Champaign, is represented by attorney Mike Weilmuenster (618 257 2222).

CONTACT
David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688

******

In rare move, priests publicly criticize their own bishop

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION OF PRIESTS

For Immediate Release

The Southern Illinois Association of Priests condemns the recent action of Bishop Edward Braxton for appealing the ruling of the Appellate Court to the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of Wisniewski vs. Diocese of Belleville.

Even though the Bishop is the designated chief moral teacher in our Diocese, we reject his disastrous legal position that claims the Diocese is not responsible for informing parishioners regarding the sexual abuse activity of a priest. Such a position violates the Child Protection Policy of our own Diocese, common moral sense, and the inherent right of everyone to protect themselves from sexual predators.

SIAP will hold a press conference with regard to this matter on Thursday, February 24, at the Chancery in Belleville, IL at 1:00 p.m.

For further information, contact: Les Himstedt

(618) 344-8025

Himstedt@Charter.net


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