Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement


For immediae release:
September 8, 2008

Sex abuse victims respond to new allegation vs. priest

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)

We are grateful this brave victim's family has reported this predator. We hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered sex crimes or misconduct by Fr. Zimmerer will come forward and get help from independent sources.

Even when the perpetrator is dead, it can be very healing when a victim unburdens himself or herself of these horrible secrets. Such disclosures can be an important step forward toward recovering from this devastating childhood trauma. 

(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

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)
Posted on Mon, Sep. 08, 2008

Sexual misconduct charge made against late Decatur priest


The diocese was notified about the allegations against the priest, the Rev. Francis A. Zimmerer, on Aug. 25, by the man’s spouse, diocese officials said.

“We’ve received a credible allegation,” said the Rev. James Hart, chancellor of the diocese. “This would have happened when he was 11 years of age, which would be 1978.”

Zimmerer, a Benedictine order priest, died in 1983 at age 74. The alleged victim, who is now 42, lives out of state but was a member of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church as a boy. He was allegedly abused in the priest’s rectory.

After being notified of the allegation, Hart contacted the diocese conduct review board and then Decatur police. The diocese has offered the man counseling.

Hart contacted the Star-Telegram about the allegation, continuing the diocese’s policy of openly airing allegations of sexual abuse. Hart said the diocese has received no other allegations against Zimmerer.

Darren Barbee, 817-390-7126


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests