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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Abuse Victims Announce New Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Multiple Offender Molested Youngsters In Santa Barbara

Later, Catholic Cleric Was Sent to Las Vegas Parish School

He’s One Of Numerous Predator Clerics Sent To Las Vegas

Serial Molester Now Lives Unmonitored Near Schools and Children

More Than 31 Members Of His Religious Order Are Accused Of Abuse

What:
Holding signs and photos of themselves at the age they were abused, victims of childhood sexual abuse will announce a new child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit. The suit charges that an offending cleric, Br. Tom Thing
-- was sent to Nevada after numerous accusations of sex abuse in California,
-- now lives unmonitored and unsupervised in a home near children and schools, and
-- is one of 31 molesting clerics who are members of the Franciscan order and quietly shuffled between CA and NV.

They will also
-- Demand that the Las Vegas bishop release all files about the offending cleric and all abusers who worked in the diocese,
-- Urge order officials to remove Thing from the neighborhood where he lives and inform the community of the risk,
-- Announce the accusations in all diocese materials, websites and bulletins, including school newsletters, and
-- Encourage anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered abuse to call law enforcement, not church officials.

Where:
Outside of the Diocese of Las Vegas headquarters
336 Cathedral Way (at Las Vegas Blvd and Desert Inn Rd), Las Vegas,

When:
Monday, March 21 at 11:15 am

Who:
2-3 Sex abuse victims and their supporters who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest (www.SNAPnetwork.org), the nation's largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious organizations. Also attending will be a California woman who is the group's Western Regional Director.

Why:
This week, attorneys for a victim of sexual abuse filed a new clergy sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit in Clark County District Court. The lawsuit alleges that in 1984-85, a Franciscan Friar, Br. Tom Thing, sexually abused a student at St. Christopher's Catholic Elementary School in North Las Vegas when the victim, Tim Coonce, was in the 7th grade.

The school, the Diocese of Las Vegas, the Diocese of Reno and the Franciscan Friars are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The suit also alleges that Thing sexually abused the boy in Las Vegas, a cabin in Mt. Charleston, NV, and took him across state lines to California. The Mt. Charleston cabin was popular with many of the 31 known Franciscan abusive priests, and at least two victims have come forward to say they were abused there.

This lawsuit is the latest in a string of complaints against Thing. The first known accusation against Thing was in 1979, when the cleric was assigned to the Santa Barbara area and was allowed to work and travel with the Santa Barbara Boys Choir. When the choir was touring in Europe, a young member of the group reported waking up with his pants and underwear around his ankles and Thing asleep in the bed next to him. Thing was also reported for inappropriate conduct with boys, inappropriate touching and sexually abusing a boy on a camping trip.

Records show that Thing's last known address is 1420 Bartlett Avenue in Las Vegas where the cleric lives unmonitored and unsupervised, even though order and church officials know that Thing is a serial predator. Thing's status within the religious order in unknown. It also serves as a Franciscan-owned homeless shelter www.poverellohouse.com. The neighborhood location is close to children and schools.

SNAP suspects that there may be dozens of Franciscan victims in Las Vegas and across Nevada and California.

Earlier this year, the Franciscans ask the California Supreme Court to block the release of hundreds of pages of secret sex abuse documents, some of which may include information about Thing and other Franciscans who worked in Nevada. The court refused to hear their appeal.

The victim is represented by Attorney Tim Hale of Santa Barbara (805) 455-0319 cell, (805) 963-2345 office.

Copies of the complaint will be available at the event. The victim will NOT be present.

Contact:
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com
David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 503-0003


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