The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release:
Statement by Claudia Vercellotti, Toledo leader of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (419-810-5375)
We commend this brave victim for having the strength to come forward and the wisdom to contact police. We hope his courage will inspire others with information or suspicions (however old or small) to also contact law enforcement.
Statement by David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790)
These charges show once again what history, psychology and common sense tell us: sex offenders rarely stop. This predator does not belong on the pulpit.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 17 years and have more than 7,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Fr. Frank Murd indicted on 1 charge of sexual imposition
A recent story on this situation follows.
TOLEDO -- The Catholic Diocese of Toledo last week released disturbing news about a priest in Maumee who resigned under suspicious circumstances. Since then, News 11 has learned Fr. Francis Murd has a past, reports News 11's Shelley Brown.
Murd stepped down as pastor of Maumee St. Joseph Parish after Bishop Blair said Murd was under investigation by Sylvania police for improper sexual contact. News 11 has learned Murd had been arrested for public indecency.
He'd also been arrested 10 years ago on the same charge, according to reports in the Fremont News Messenger. Charges against him were eventually dismissed after he completed a diversion program.
The diocesan spokesperson wasn't available for comment on Thursday night, but one sex abuse survivor was.
"Every time there's another development in the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal in this diocese, Bishop Blair re-pledges openness, honesty and transparency," says Claudia Vercellotti, co-coordinator of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Vercellotti says records detailing Murd's arrest were sealed.
"Why was Fr. Murd ever in charge of a school? Why was he placed as the lead pastor at any parish? These are sexually oriented crimes," Vercellotti asks. She says this proves cover-ups within the Catholic Church continue.
"If this had been handled in 1998 then maybe there wouldn't be a victim making a police report now," Vercellotti says.
In the same court news, another local priest, Fr. Timothy Kummerer, was also arrested for public indecency. Charges were also later dismissed after he completed a diversion program. The diocesan directory lists Kummerer as pastor of St. Mary's in Defiance.
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse say they want more action.
"We need definitive actions -- not gestures," Vercellotti says.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests