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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex Abuse Victims Urge Bishop to do Outreach

Missouri’s Most Notorious Predator Priest Worked Here

Just Last Week, He Was Accused in a Civil Lawsuit for 24th Time

Others Who’ve Been Wounded Should Come Forward, Group Says

And Springfield Prelate Should Post Names of All Child Molesting Clerics

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- disclose/discuss a recently filed civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit involving a notorious priest,
-- prod other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to find the courage to speak up and expose predators, warn parents and safeguard children.

They will also urge Springfield’s Catholic bishop to
-- take “aggressive steps” to find and help others hurt by the serial predator priest, and
-- permanently post on his diocesan websites the names and whereabouts of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or have been in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese

WHEN
Saturday, Feb. 26, 1:15 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Springfield Catholic diocese headquarters, 601 South Jefferson Ave. (corner of E. Cherry)

in Springfield MO

WHO
Two clergy abuse victims who belong to an international support 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 (and a former Springfield resident)

WHY
Last week, a new child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit was filed in Kansas City against Missouri’s most notorious predator priest, Fr. Thomas J. O’Brien. He has faced more than two dozen civil suits accusing him of molesting kids, sometimes in concert with other clerics.

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/02/17/2664176/sexual-abuse-lawsuit-filed-against.html

Though he worked mostly in the KC area, O’Brien was at St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield from 1951-1954. And though there are no known criminal charges against O’Brien now, SNAP believes he has also molested kids in Springfield and might still face prosecution, especially if Missouri bishops do real outreach to other victims.

Most of the suits against O’Brien have settled out of court. Since 2002, Catholic officials have forbidden him from representing himself as a priest. However, he has not been defrocked so still gets a paycheck from his diocese.

For the sake of public safety, SNAP hopes that O’Brien goes to jail (though he faces no criminal charges right now). The group is urging anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to step forward, call police, protect others, and get help from independent sources. And SNAP is publicly calling on Springfield Bishop James Vann Johnston to use his resources (parish bulletin, church websites, diocesan newspapers, pulpit announcements, news releases and personal visits) to aggressively seek out people who may have knowledge or suspicions of O’Brien’s crimes.

Now more than ever, SNAP says, others who have been molested should come forward, get help, consider legal action, and contact law enforcement, so that innocent youngsters can be spared lifetimes of suffering.

SNAP also wants Springfield’s Catholic bishop to do what 24 other bishops have done, and post on his website, for the sake of public safety, the names, whereabouts and priestly status of child molesting clerics who are or have been in central Illinois.

According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccoutnabilty.org, there are seven publicly accused Springfield diocesan child molesting clerics. SNAP notes that the actual number of Corpus Christi area pedophile priests is likely much higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodge in the public domain – in civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.

In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose names. A good current example is the Philadelphia archdiocese: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm. Here is a list of all the dioceses that have disclosed names: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm

CONTACT
For more info: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell,SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Coordinator (314) 862-7688, SNAPdorris@gmail.com


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