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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims suspect “breach of contract”

They say bishop breaks 2008 agreement

Group gives “demand letter” to KC diocese

One man will burn copy of prelate’s “apology”

Finn pledged to report abuse suspicions to police

But he sat on reports about Ratigan for a full year

And he refused to turn over evidence for five months

For seven months, he kept twice-accused priest in parish

Bishop’s actions could lead to “unprecedented” lawsuit, SNAP says

WHAT: Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will

--disclose a new, four page, legal “demand letter” they’re sending to KC’s bishop and
--discuss the possibility of a “breach of contract” lawsuit against the diocese, and
--express their dismay that KC Catholic officials are ignoring and breaking their 2008 reform pledges in the recent cases of Fr. Shawn Ratigan and Fr. Michael Tierney.

One of the victim swill burn an “apology letter” sent to him by KC’s bishop as mandated by the 2008 settlement.

WHEN: TODAY, Wednesday, June 8, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Outside the KC chancery (diocesan headquarters) at 20 West Ninth Street, Kansas City, MO

WHO: Four-five members of a victims’ self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a KC man who is the organization’s long time KC director and at least two men who were part of a landmark 2008 child sex abuse settlement against the diocese

WHY: In 2008, some 47 clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against the KC MO diocese were settled. As part of that deal, victims insisted that Bishop Robert Finn and other top church officials commit to 19 non-economic reform steps. Now, those victims are crying “foul,” and maintain that Finn and his colleagues have broken the agreement, in part by keeping two priests in ministry despite credible allegations against them and by not reporting suspicions and knowledge of child sex crimes promptly to police and prosecutors.

The victims are giving the diocese ten days to explain how they are, or are not, complying with the 2008 agreement. The victims are “contemplating all their legal options.”

Increasingly in clergy sex cases, victims are pushing for and winning similar abuse prevention agreements. That’s because victims now realize that most dioceses – with extensive wealth and insurance – aren’t reforming just because they settle civil lawsuits. So more and more often, as part of settlement discussions, victims are devising and fighting for specific commitments by church officials to change how they deal with abuse cases in the future.

According to a Boston-based research group, at least 18 KC Catholic clerics stand accused, often several times, of molesting kids. Yet not one of them faces or has ever faced possible criminal prosecution (with the recent exception of Ratigan who was arrested last month on child porn charges).

Now more than ever, SNAP is urging anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to contact police officials, not church officials.

The publicly accused KC diocese priests (followed by the number of known lawsuits against them) are: Fr. Thomas J. O’Brien 25, Fr. Thomas M. Reardon 22, Fr. Hugh F. Monahan 8, Bishop Joseph Hart 6, Fr. John Tulipana 5, Fr. Francis E. McGlynn 3, Fr. Sylvester Hoppe 3, and one each against Fr. Stephen J. Muth, Fr. Tom Cronin, Fr. Michael Tierney, Fr. James Lawbaugh, Fr. Francis Lambert Wise, Fr. Mark Honhart and Fr. Earl Johnson. (Other KC accused priests include Fr. John C. Baskett, Fr. Michael Brewer, and Fr. Thomas Ward).

CONTACT: David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003


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