The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, March 27, 2009
Colorado predator priest sued; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 03 0003 cell)
We applaud these brave victims who are speaking out, protecting kids and seeking justice in the open, time-tested American judicial system. Lawsuits like this will safeguard kids, stop crimes, and deter future recklessness, deceit and secrecy by those who might otherwise be tempted to shield known and suspected child molesters.
We hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered this cleric's crimes will also be brave enough to come forward, call police and get help.
Statutes of limitations are arbitrary, archaic, and predator-friendly time limits. They give criminals and their accomplices an incentive to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, fabricate alibis, and sometimes flee the state or the country, so they can start molesting again among unsuspecting families. Reforming or eliminating these outdated barriers is the quickest, cheapest and most effective way to warn parents about and protect children from serial child molesters. We hope these victims prevail when Colorado church officials seek to exploit, as inevitably they do, legal technicalities to protect their secrets and toss these cases out of court.
(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 20 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), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Former Colorado priest accused of sex abuse
PUEBLO, Colo.- A former Catholic priest faces a lawsuit from two men who say they were abused in southern Colorado two decades ago.
The lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo and former priest William Groves alleges abuse in the 1980s at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Walsenburg and St. Ignatius Church in Ignacio. Groves was a priest at those sites.
The plaintiffs are identified only as "John Doe." The men are seeking more than $1 million each. They say the diocese was aware of the abuse and failed to stop it.
Monsignor Mark Plewka of the Pueblo diocese told The Pueblo Chieftain he could not comment on the lawsuit.
Groves pleaded guilty to a felony charge of sexual assault on a child stemming from a September 1989 incident in Ignacio involving a 14-year-old boy. He was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to undergo sex-offender treatment.
Groves left the priesthood after his conviction. The lawsuit alleges that the church misled parishioners in Ignacio about the reason Groves was leaving the priesthood.
Last year the Pueblo diocese joined the Society of Mary religious order in reaching a $4.2 million settlement with 23 former Roncalli High School students who accused former Marianist Brother William Mueller of molesting them.
Both of Groves' accusers were born in 1974. One claimed Groves subjected him to abuse for seven years, concluding in 1990 during his youth in Walsenburg.
The other plaintiff claimed that when he was 12 years old and living in Ignacio, Groves introduced him to alcohol and marijuana, then committed sexual abuse on him and showed him pornography. The abuse allegedly lasted about one year.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests