The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
Predator priest won't go to court; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)
Our hearts ache for the victims of Fr. Szantyr who has made a mockery of the justice system by his endless legal maneuvers and delays. More than 30 times he and his ruthless lawyers have postponed court appearances on one ruse or another.
We citizens criticize child sex abuse victims for not reporting the crimes promptly, we hope they'll remember Fr. Szantyr who shrewdly exploited legal technicalities to evade justice.
Everyone deserves due process, even child molesters. But due process needn't be so ridiculously lengthy. We call on Massachusetts lawmakers to look closely at this travesty and find reforms that will prevent child predators from successfully exploiting legal loopholes and processes in the future.
We call on anyone with information about crimes or potential crimes by Szantyr to call police, come forward, and get help.
And we call on anyone who sees Szantyr acting like a normal, competent adult will immediately contact the prosecutor so that he might still be forced to face justice for his horrific crimes.
(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 8,000 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)
Contact: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
Friday, May 9, 2008
By Gary V. Murray TELEGRAM & GAZETTE - email@example.com
Judge David Ricciardone found the Rev. John J. Szantyr incompetent in a 12-page ruling issued yesterday in Central District Court, where the 76-year-old retired priest, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, is charged with indecently assaulting two altar boys more than 20 years ago.
The sexual assaults allegedly occurred when Rev. Szantyr, now living in Waterbury, Conn., was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish on Ward Street. The charges, to which Rev. Szantyr has pleaded not guilty, were lodged in 2003. Judge Ricciardone’s incompetency finding followed a two-day hearing that concluded April 11.
In 2006, Judge Dennis J. Brennan, since retired, also found Rev. Szantyr mentally incompetent to stand trial.
The second competency hearing came after a psychiatrist hired by the prosecution evaluated Rev. Szantyr and found him competent to stand trial. Assistant District Attorney Joseph J. Reilly III has said he requested the evaluation by psychiatrist Malcolm P. Rogers based on information brought to the prosecutor’s attention by people who said they had dealings with Rev. Szantyr as recently as 2006 as part of a prayer group called Seeds of Hope.
Dr. Rogers testified during the two-day hearing before Judge Ricciardone that although Rev. Szantyr had suffered some cognitive impairment as a result of his Parkinson’s disease, he had a rational understanding of the legal process and the ability to assist his lawyer, Edward P. Ryan Jr., in his defense.
In ruling that Rev. Szantyr is not competent to stand trial, Judge Ricciardone said he did not find Dr. Rogers’ opinion “persuasive.
“Clearly, the Commonwealth’s expert’s opinion is at odds with the two neurologists and the general surgeon whose examinations, treatment, diagnosis, and opinions formed the basis for the previous judge’s decision in 2006 that the defendant is incompetent (a determination with which the Commonwealth then agreed),” Judge Ricciardone wrote.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests