Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Saturday, July 4, 2009

SNAP responds to St. Louis Archbishop Carlson

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)

The Post Dispatch is reporting - in a lengthy, on-line story - that St. Louis' new archbishop "acknowledges that he didn't report" admitted child sex crimes committed by "one of the country's most notorious pedophile priests" to authorities.

In thousands of cases, Catholic bishops ignored or concealed allegations of child sexual abuse. This case is different. The predator, Fr. Thomas Adamson, admitted his crimes to Carlson. Not once, but twice.

Carlson admits he never once called the police.

Carlson didn't cover up allegations of devastating crimes. He covered up actual knowledge of devastating crimes.

His excuse: "My job was to investigate and report back to the archbishop what I found out, and that's exactly what I did," Carlson told the Post-Dispatch.

In other words: "I was just following orders," the classic, and inexcusable, Nuremberg defense.

Adding insult to injury, at least four times, Adamson violated restrictions put on his ministry, Carlson says. Carlson contends he was "furious." But he did nothing to protect unsuspecting families and vulnerable kids. Adamson's been accused of molesting 35 kids.

The Post Dispatch writes: "Carlson didn't go to police. Instead, (in a memo to his boss), Carlson recommended that 'given the seriousness of our exposure that the Archdiocese posture itself in such a way that any publicity will be minimized.'"

Astonishingly, even now, Carlson can't bring himself to admit that he should have called police. "Perhaps I should have," he told the Post Dispatch.

Carlson talks vaguely of having made "mistakes." But for years, Carlson kept silent about admitted child sex crimes. He didn't make 'mistakes,' he led a decades-long cover up.

We don't call Watergate a "mistake" or a "failing." We call Watergate a cover up, because that's what it was. That's what it is when decision-makers deliberately choose to keep crimes hidden.

That's what Carlson did, for years and years and years. The result: more molested children and devastated lives.

Carlson claims he's "learned" from his "mistakes." But we've seen no evidence of that. More than a dozen bishops have posted on their websites the names of predator priests. Carlson hasn't. Several have put SNAP members on their abuse review boards. Carlson hasn't. Several have advocated reforming archaic, predator-friendly child sex laws. Carlson hasn't. Several publicly denounced Boston's disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law. Carlson hasn't. Several have personally visited parishes where pedophile priests have worked and urged victims and witnesses to come forward. Carlson hasn't.

Thousands of St. Louisans - Catholic and non-Catholic - hoped that our new archbishop would be a more caring man than his predecessor. For many, those hopes are now dashed.

(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)

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests