The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Appeal filed in “bizarre & dangerous” child sex ruling
For first time ever, SNAP targets archdiocesan lawyers
Church says it’s not responsible because of where crimes happened
Boy was molested & church could have prevented it, both sides agree
But since he was assaulted on private, not church property, he’s “outta luck”
They will also disclose and discuss a new appeal of that “bizarre and dangerous” court ruling that’s being filed in a St. Louis court today.
If the ruling stands, SNAP says Missouri kids will be less safe because a) it will be much harder for many child sex crimes to expose their predators in court, & 2) employers will have less incentive to be careful about who they hire.
Last year, St. Louis City Circuit Court Judge Donald McMullin found
1. that the victim in this case “has evidence” that the archdiocese knew a priest “had a history of sexual abuse,
2. that leaving (the priest) alone with children was “certain. . .to result in harm to (others),”
3. disregarded that known risk, and, as a result,
4. (at least one boy) was sexually abused by (the priest.)”
The victim, a St. Louis man named Paul Alvino, is appealing the case today. He was abused at a “clubhouse” on the Big River from 1970 to 1971 by Fr. Thomas Cooper. Alvino filed his suit in 2005.
Alvino’s case is believed to be the first time in Missouri history that church officials have successfully used this “off premises” argument, which SNAP finds morally deplorable. Last Friday, a KC judge tossed out part of a clergy sex case there (against a recently suspended accused child molesting cleric) on the same grounds.
Church officials usually win in court using other technical defenses, notably the statute of limitations. So even though the archdiocese has used the “not on church property” tactic before, until now, it’s never been the sole reason that a clergy sex abuse case was tossed out by a court.
SNAP is targeting the archdiocesan defense lawyers because it believes Archbishop Robert Carlson is immune to public shame or pressure. The group also feels that if lawyers resort to such tactics, the public should know about them.
The organization calls the church’s move “possibly the most mean-spirited legal maneuver in archdiocesan history.”
Cooper was ordained in 1955, retired in 1993, died in 2003, and worked in St. Louis city (at Mary Magdalene parish, where he met Alvino), Webster Groves, Hazelwood, University City, and Jennings. When the suit was first filed, archdiocesan staff refused to provide a list of where Cooper worked. SNAP is urging Carlson to do so now.
Alvino’s attorneys are Rebecca Randles, (816 931 9901, 816 510 2704 cell), Patrick Noaker (651 227 9990, 612 961 1307 cell) and Ken Chackes (314 872 8420, 314 369 3902 cell).. Representing the archdiocese are Bernard Huger (314-516-2659), Lucie Huger (314-345-4725), and Ed Goldenhersh (314-516-2667).
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests