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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Advocates blast NH Catholic officials

Church tries to “out” abuse survivor who is suing

Groups: “Violating victim’s privacy is a cruel tactic”

NH bishop is among “a handful” of prelates doing this

The effect, victims say, is to “further hurt those who suffer”

And it endangers kids by protecting pedophiles & silencing victims and witnesses

Organizations urge parishioners to “donate elsewhere” until McCormack stops it

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, advocates for clergy sex abuse victims will
-- blast New Hampshire Catholic bishop for trying, in court, to force a child sex victim to disclose his name, &
-- prod the bishop to stop that intimidation, and promise to not use it again, and
-- post on church websites the names, whereabouts and status of all child molesting clerics.

One national group will also urge New Hampshire Catholics to “donate elsewhere” until Manchester’s bishop stops this “intimidation.”

WHEN
Monday, April 4, 11:30 a.m.

WHERE
Outside the Manchester diocesan headquarters (“chancery”), 153 Ash Street (corner of Ash and Myrtle), Manchester, NH

WHO
Concerned citizens who belong to groups involved in clergy sex abuse and cover up, including the New Hampshire Voice of the Faithful, the National Survivor Advocates Coalition and a Boston-based research organization called BishopAccountability.org

VISUALS
The group will provide copies of the alleged predator’s photo and copies of the lawsuit and legal motions.

WHY
In 1967-68, when he was 11-12 years old, a former altar boy at St. Brendan’s parish in Colebrook, NH reports that he was repeatedly sexually abused by Fr. George St. Jean, who told the boy not to tell anyone. In July 2010, that victim filed suit (as a “John Doe”) against the Manchester Catholic diocese and a Catholic religious order, the Washington DC-based Oblates of Mary Immaculate (202 522 3557), which directly supervised St. Jean.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/07_08/2010_07_22_WMUR_ManFiles.htm

But on February 14, Manchester Catholic officials took legal action to force the abuse survivor to publicly disclose his name or have the suit tossed out of court. On March 1, the victim’s lawyers filed an objection to the diocese’s move. The judge could make a decision at any time.

The groups are outraged by the maneuver. For decades, the group says, courts have let sex crime victims (especially those assaulted as children) to protect their privacy. The organizations believe Manchester’s Catholic bishop is violating the letter and spirit of the church’s national abuse policy. His goal, they suspect, is to scare other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

According to a 2009 report from the NH Attorney General, St. Jean is also accused of molesting at least one child in either Tyngsboro, Lowell or Dracut, MA. And in May 2010, Plymouth NH resident John Labbe sued St. Jean for sexually assaulted him about 100 times as a boy growing up in Colebrook in the 1960s, when St. Jean was assigned to the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Colebrook.

St. Jean worked in at least three New Hampshire towns including Colebrook (1958-59 and 1965-72, Novitiate of Our Lady of Grace), and Hudson (1962-64 at the Oblates Retreat House). He also had at least two Massachusetts assignments (Natick, from 1973-74 at the Oblate Center and Lowell from 1975-77 at the Oblate Fathers Residence), and one in Connecticut (Williamantic, from 1960-61 at the Immaculata Retreat House). He may have also worked in Nashua area, including Merrimack.

The victim in the new lawsuit is represented by Miami FL attorney Jessica Arbour (305 931 2200, jarbour@sexabuseattorneys.com). The diocesan defense lawyer is Gordon MacDonald (603 628 4000).

The groups want New Hampshire’s Catholic Church officials to use their websites and parish bulletins to alert their flock that St. Jean spent time in New Hampshire and the allegations against him. The group also wants the church hierarchy to do what 24 other dioceses have done, and post on their websites, for the sake of public safety, the names, whereabouts and priestly status of child molesting clerics who are or have been in the state. The organizations consider this a simple, inexpensive, common sense way to safeguard children and young people. (In the last two years, bishops in Boston and Springfield MA have committed to do this too.)

According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccoutnabilty.org, there are 91publicly accused child molesting Catholic clerics (diocesan and religious order) who molested while in the Manchester diocese). SNAP notes that the actual number of area pedophile priests is likely higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been made ‘public’ – in civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.

In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose names. Even the much-maligned Philadelphia archdiocese has posted such a list: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm. Here are all of the dioceses that have disclosed alleged predators’ names: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm

CONTACT – Carolyn Disco of Merrimack NH 603 424 3120 home, 917 620 8172 cell, Anne Barrett Doyle of Reading MA 781 439 5208, Paul Kellen of Medford MA 781 526 5878, David Clohessy of St. Louis MO314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com


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