Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement


For immediate release:
Friday, May 2, 2008

Statement by Dr. Ann Hagan Webb of Boston (781 239 1182, 617 513 8442 cell)

Cardinal O’Malley makes beautiful symbolic gestures for child sex abuse reform, but his actions fall sadly short of true reform.

Don’t take our word for it. Look at three undisputed, objective facts that have recently been publicly disclosed.

First, no one denies this simple fact: without warning anyone, O’Malley secretly put in parishes a suspended priest who was charged just three years ago with four criminal offenses. He propositioned a mother and her 12 year old daughter for oral sex.

Six short years after O’Malley and his colleagues promised, PROMISED Americans that they would be ‘transparent and open’ about clergy sex crimes, O’Malley puts an almost certain criminal back into at least one, perhaps several, unsuspecting parishes. How is this ‘transparent and open?’

Second, six short years after O’Malley and his colleagues promised, PROMISED to put the safety of kids first, he’s recklessly giving a priest access to kids who just three years ago committed (and essentially admitted to) a sex crime.

Third, six short years after O’Malley and his colleagues promised, PROMISED that every Catholic child would receive sex abuse prevention training, he’s refusing to provide that training to 20% of his flock.

These are not allegations or claims or assertions. These are facts.

As another SNAP leader put it earlier this week, “O’Malley is doing what bishops have done for decades and still do: quietly moving an almost certain sex offender to unsuspecting parishes without warning, supposedly relying on the advice of therapists, using alleged intoxication to excuse criminal acts toward a child, alerting neither the public nor the parishioners, and disclosing all this only after being confronted by the news media.”
Here's the bottom line: Why gamble with the safety of children, especially in the one community that may have suffered and be suffering the most because of hundreds of similarly reckless, callous and secretive decisions for decades?

A week or two ago, the pope admits being 'ashamed' by the church's on-going sex abuse and cover up scandal and promised to rid the priesthood of pedophiles. As the Pope makes this pledge, O'Malley secretly puts back into parishes a priest who faced four criminal charges, and essentially admitted to one, just three years ago.

For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688


Statement by Barbara Dorris of SNAP outreach director (314 862 7688 home)

We don’t think that secretly moving a criminal priest to unsuspecting parishes without warning is what the pope meant recently when he called for “a determined collective response” to child sex abuse.

The pope urged Catholics to “do everything possible” to heal the wounds of clergy sex abuse victims. Nothing is more healing than when we see that our pain has brought reforms and prevented more abuse. On the other hand, nothing exacerbates our pain than seeing kids put in harm’s way and realizing that our pain means little or nothing to church officials who continue to act recklessly, callously and secretively.

(Note that the likely criminal's lawyer doesn't even deny what happens. He merely claims that police 'overreached.' Note too that the bishops' own national policy acknowledges that child sex abuse need not involve physical touching.) 

Sadly, the Gillespie case is not some isolated aberration. Just last month, for the second year in a row, he was deemed in violation of the church's national child sex abuse policy for refusing to give sex abuse prevention training to 20% of Boston's Catholic kids. It’s supposedly been ‘required’ for six years, a mandatory part of the US bishops sex abuse policy, yet O'Malley refuses to honor it.) 

We've seen no evidence that O’Malley issued public notices that Gillespie would be working in several parishes or would have issued one when Gillespie was given a permanent assignment. We challenge O'Malley to disclose when he first let this priest work in parishes again and explain why he did so secretly. We challenge him to hold an open public meeting to explain his secrecy and recklessness.

Once again, citizens and Catholics learn that a sexually troubled priest returns to parish work only because concerned individuals contact the news media. Once again, a Catholic official violates his own promises.

For more information:
David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell
Dr. Ann Hagan Webb 781 239 1182, 617 513 8442 cell

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests