Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Notorious predator dies in Nashville; Sex abuse victims respond

For immediate release: Thursday, June 25, 2009

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 hope this news brings some comfort to the dozens who were ravaged by Kelley because church officials refused to call police or warn parishioners about this dangerous man. We certainly hope that during his time in Tennessee, he didn't assault other kids. We've not heard any such reports yet, and we would be sad but not surprised if we do hear from Nashville area victims of Kelley.

Sometimes, long into adulthood, child sex abuse victims continue to fear their predators. Kelley's passing may enable some who have suffered in isolation, shame and self-blame to finally step forward and get help. We hope that' the case.

And we hope that lawmakers, in Tennessee and Ohio and across the country, reform the archaic, predator-friendly laws that help child molesters evade justice and detection and prosecution.

(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 9,000 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)

Notorious priest is dead

By Dan Horn • • June 25, 2009

A Cincinnati priest accused of abusing almost 30 boys died earlier this month in Tennessee.

David Kelley had worked in parishes, schools and hospitals for three decades in Greater Cincinnati before the sexual abuse accusations prompted lawsuits and his suspension from the priesthood in 2003.

Kelley, 60, died before the Vatican could determine whether he should be permanently removed from the priesthood. Although he had been barred from presiding at Mass or working as a priest, he would have been permitted to be buried as a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Kelley was accused in lawsuits of being one of the most prolific child abusers implicated in the clergy abuse scandal in Cincinnati. At least 26 men claimed Kelley abused them and many also said the archdiocese ignored warnings about his behavior for years.

Church officials have acknowledged that Kelley was sent to a New Mexico treatment facility in 1987 for counseling related to alcoholism and sexual issues.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said Kelley’s family held private funeral services after his death and asked that details not be disclosed. He said the archdiocese on Thursday notified the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which has worked with several of Kelley’s accusers.

“I hope he’s at peace, and I hope they’re at peace,” Andriacco said of the alleged victims.

Christy Miller, SNAP’s co-director in Cincinnati, said she hopes Kelley’s death provides some closure to his accusers, many of whom were frustrated by the legal process or intimidated about coming forward with their accusations.

All of the lawsuits against Kelley were thrown out because they were filed years after the statute of limitations had expired.

“This isn’t going to be an easy time for the victims. They’re going to think about it again,” Miller said. “But he’s not here. He can’t hurt you. He can’t hurt anyone else any more.”

Kelley was ordained in 1974 and worked as a teacher at Elder High School for several years. He also was associate pastor at St. Teresa, St. Therese the Little Flower and Our Lady of Victory parishes in Cincinnati. He served as a hospital chaplain in Dayton and at Mercy Anderson Hospital in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests