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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Priest admits molesting kids

He may have as many as 30 victims

Group urges BR diocese to settle cases

Once secret church records to be released

Priest’s four page confession will also be provided

Cleric who worked in New Orleans & Baton Rouge

Event happens on day of important federal court hearing

Catholic officials try to “exploit” First Amendment, SNAP says

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, on the day of an important court hearing in New Orleans, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose and discuss 20 pages of previously secret church records about a predator priest (including a four page hand-written confession and letters showing that Catholic officials moved him despite clear “red flags” of inappropriate behavior with kids.

They will also publicly prod Louisiana Catholic religious officials to
-- settle pending cases against the cleric that were filed five years ago,
-- personally visit all the parishes where the predator worked, and
-- beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to contact police and prosecutors.

And they’ll urge a three-judge panel to let a lawsuit by one of the predator’s victim move forward.

WHEN
Thursday, June 9 at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE
Outside the Baton Rouge Catholic church headquarters (“diocesan chancery”), 1800 South Acadian Thruway in Baton Rouge LA

WHO
Two-three members of a victims’ self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Florida man who is one of the predator’s victims and a St. Louis woman who is SNAP’s long time outreach director.

WHAT
This morning (Thursday), a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based Federal Appeal Court (Fifth Circuit) will hear arguments in a clergy sex abuse and cover up case. It concerning Fr. Cristoff Joseph Springer who, according to a Boston-based research group called BishopAccountability.org, may have abused 30 victims over three decades.

Springer’s former employer, a Catholic religious order called the Redemptorists, is trying to have the suit tossed out claiming that it will interfere with their “freedom of religion.” SNAP contends, however, that the law guarantees freedom to believe what we want, not act how we want. The group is urging the judges to let the suit proceed.

Meanwhile some nine more civil cases involving Springer are pending against the Baton Rouge diocese, where he also worked. Most were filed in 2006. SNAP is accusing Baton Rouge diocesan officials of deliberately dragging out the cases. For the sake of “still suffering victims,” SNAP is calling on Baton Rouge Bishop Robert Muench to resolve those cases quickly.

Springer’s guilt has been clearly established, SNAP says, and much about Springer’s crimes is known, so settling with the victims could and should happen faster.

Springer worked in more than six parishes in Louisiana (including several in New Orleans). Initially, he was part of a religious order called the Redemptorists. In 1973, the head of Redemptorists wrote that Springer was “causing much harm to the members of the community” and “has tried to maneuver people so that he could do his ‘own thing.’” However, the order gave Springer a “clean bill of health” and on that basis, in 1973, the Baton Rouge diocese accepted him for ministry.

In his March 2009 confession, Springer claims he was molested as a youngster by a priest and writes “I got a dispensation from the Redemptorists without the Redemptorists telling the diocese that I had needed help.”

Springer was defrocked in 1990. His victims are represented by Houston attorney Felecia Peavy (713-222-0205, 281-787-8244, felepeavy@juno.com ).

Springer’s assignments include: St. Gerard Majella in Baton Rouge, St. Pius X in Baton Rouge, St. Mary’s of False River, Pointe Coupee Church, Our Lady of the Assumption in Clinton, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Slidell and St. Alphonsus Parish in New Orleans).

The victim in this suit being heard today, Chuck Bishop of Florida, will be at the news conference. The case is on the 9:00 a.m. docket today, June 9 in federal court in New Orleans.

http://www.nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2011/06/clergy_sexual_abuse_victims_as.html

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


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