The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
a Perpetrator's Neighborhood
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis
July 29, 2003
"Now a small group of us are going to quietly, peacefully distribute leaflets to Father McGrath's neighbors on Hawthorne Place in Richmond Heights.
We are doing this for one simple reason: to protect children.
We don't take this step lightly.
In fact, we've never done anything like this in the 12 years our support group has been around.
But three things are clear.
First, McGrath is a dangerous man.
Second, archdiocesan officials are doing nothing to reach out to those he has already hurt nor to protect those who are at risk right now.
Third, the research is clear: men who abuse kids rarely stop.
So if church leaders won't act, we feel like we must. We feel duty bound to warn parents living near this dangerous man so that they don't let hiim around their children.
We can't assume that McGrath's neighbors have read the news accounts of the seven civil molestation lawsuits against him.
We can't assume that McGrath's neighbors know the ten abuse allegations church officials admit they've recieved about him.
We can't assume he has somehow been magically cured.
We can't, therefore, assume that children are safe from him.
Some may criticize what we're doing. "Innocent until proven guilty," they may say.
And of course in a court of law, this is how it should be. But outside the courtroom, all of us make decisions and take actions designed to protect ourselves and others. That's what we're doing today.
What happens when a police officer sees a man drive past with an open beer can in his hand, his car swerving erratically back and forth? Does the officer sit back and do nothing, saying "well, he's innocent til proven guilty?" Of course not. That would be a dereliction of duty, and that would almost assure that some innocent pedestrian or motorist would be hurt.
Similarly, we can't sit idely by, knowing what we know about McGrath, and do nothing.
We continue to reach out to men and women who have been abused by McGrath. We will continue to urge them to contact police and prosecutors. And we will continue to beg church officials to do their moral duty and protect others from and warn others about McGrath.
SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests