The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, August 10, 2009
Priest Asked To Step Down Amid Allegations Of Sexual Assault; 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)
Instead of praying for healing, Bishop Taylor should be working for protection. His first job is to safeguard the vulnerable, so Taylor should use tonight's mass to beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered other crimes by Fr. Barber to come forward, get help and call police.
In cases like this, often others with information remain silent. Such inaction helps predators, however. We urge anyone with knowledge that might help police and prosecutors to step forward, do their civic duty, and help stop future clergy sex crimes or cover ups.
Taylor is putting the cart before the horse. Let's make sure Barber can't hurt anyone else first. Then let's worry about healing his former parish.
(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 21 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 SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Priest Asked To Step Down Amid Allegations Of Sexual Assault
Last updated Monday, August 10, 2009 9:56 AM CDT in News
By Skip Descant - THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — The diocese has removed the Rev. Bradley Barber from his pastoral role at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fayetteville after an accusation of sexual assault.
The allegation is under investigation by both the church and the Washington County prosecutor, a church official and attorney said. No criminal charges have been filed, said officials with the Diocese of Little Rock.
The accuser is in his early 20s and alleges that Barber forced him to engage in sexual activity Tuesday between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. at Barber's home, said the Rev. Francis Malone, chancellor for ecclesial affairs with the Diocese of Little Rock. Malone read a letter to parishioners during masses this weekend at St. Joseph. Malone said the letter was from Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Little Rock Diocese. Taylor said it was "the saddest letter I ever had to write."
"Father Barber has violated our trust," Malone read from the letter.
"It is not clear yet what criminal charges might be filed," the letter said.
The accuser is represented by Fayetteville attorney Paul Smith and the Niblock Law Firm.
"Initially, we assisted the victim in seeking treatment and then making the report to the police and prosecutor," Smith said in a statement Sunday. "We also notified the officials from the Diocese of Little Rock within hours of the event."
Though he has been in discussions with the diocese, Smith said no lawsuit has been filed. Smith asked the church for a list of counselors his client might consult. That request has gone unanswered, Smith said Sunday.
Smith added he had not spoken to Taylor. Through his emissaries, the bishop, "has promised us many things, including health care assistance. However, the church has yet to provide any of these promised resources," Smith said.
According to the Little Rock Diocese Web site, the church maintains two victim assistance coordinators. Phone calls and e-mail Sunday to the diocese for Malone and its legal representative were not answered Sunday.
Barber, 53, is a former Episcopal priest. He and his wife joined the St. Joseph parish in 2007. He moved to Fayetteville from the Corpus Christi, Texas, Diocese. Officials there are being informed of the sexual assault allegations, Malone read from the letter.
In an August 2007 Arkansas Catholic news article, Barber was critical of the Episcopal church for ordaining women, recognizing same sex relationships and allowing openly gay priests.
"Theologically, I knew I was Catholic," Barber is quoted as saying in the article.
Smith said the accuser is awaiting a decision by Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Threet, who will determine if any criminal charges will be filed against Barber.
St. Joseph Church plans to hold a special prayer mass at 7 p.m. today. In his homily Saturday afternoon, Malone asked parishioners to pray for both the accuser and Barber.
"God is bigger than this," Malone to the congregation Saturday afternoon. "And as we've gotten through difficulties before, we'll get through this."
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests