The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, August 11, 2009
No charges filed against Fayetteville priest; sex abuse victims respond
Statement by David Clohessy, SNAP National Director 314-566-9790
We're surprised and disappointed that the prosecutor made such a hasty choice. It takes time for other victims and witnesses to find the courage to come forward. A premature decision that no prosecution will happen discourages those with information from sharing that information.
Prosecutors often, however, reverse themselves, especially in the face of additional evidence. So we urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Barber to do their moral and civic duty and call law enforcement. Silence about clergy sex crimes only encourages and enables more clergy sex crimes.
Many Catholics fear that reporting wrongdoing by clerics will bring shame on their parish or their church. But more often than not, the reverse happens. When predators are exposed, suspended and prosecuted promptly, the entire church benefits. When scandals are concealed, and more crimes are disclosed slowly over time, there's much more embarrassment to the church.
We are grateful to this brave young man who has cooperated with the police. We hope others who could help protect parishioners from Barber will likewise pick up the phone and call police soon.
(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)
No Charges Filed Against Fayetteville Priest
Monday, August 10, 2009 - By Skip Descant-THE MORNING NEWS
The Washington County Prosecutor's office does not intend to file criminal charges against Rev. Bradley Barber.
This weekend, Barber, 53, a Catholic priest, was suspended from his pastoral role at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fayetteville because of allegations of sexual misconduct. The accuser is a 24-year-old man.
The accuser alleges he went to Barber's home at the St. Joseph rectory about 3:30 a.m. last Tuesday out of concern for Barber's well-being. The two had exchanged e-mail and phone conversations and Barber sounded drunk, according to a Fayetteville Police Department report released Monday by Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Dustin Roberts.
While at the home, the accuser claimed Barber forced him to engage in sexual activity, according to the police report.
Brian Wood, Barber's attorney, would not comment on the accusations.
"He can't comment right now," Wood said when asked if the allegations were true. "Right now we're focused on representing him and defending him."
Like the accuser, Barber has requested counseling from the diocese regarding the matter, Wood said.
"He has requested that for himself or for his family, but the diocese has yet to provide it," Wood added.
Wood would not say where Barber is located now.
Barber and his accuser appear to be acquainted, according to the investigative report. Through the last several years Barber had served as the accuser's spiritual advisor. He addressed him as "Fr. Brad" and "I hope your summer turned out to be fun," according to an e-mail message he sent to Barber at 2:28 a.m. Tuesday. The accuser also said he did not use physical force to get out of Barber's home.
"There is little question that a sexual encounter took place," wrote Fayetteville Police Officer David Williams, in his investigation report. "(The accuser) alleged that this encounter took place as the result of physical force and spiritual coercion."
The report was forwarded to the Washington County Prosecutor's Office.
No civil lawsuit has been filed against the church and it's still not clear if one will be filled, said Paul Smith, a Fayetteville attorney representing the accuser. For now, Smith has only requested counseling for his client.
Barber is a former Episcopal priest. He and his wife and their four children joined the St. Joseph parish in 2007, according to a statement released by the Diocese of Little Rock. He moved to Fayetteville from the Corpus Christi, Texas, Diocese.
"Diocesan officials have met with the people involved. They have asked any parishioners to come forward who also might have similar allegations against the priest," the statement added.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor, of the Diocese of Little Rock, urged support and prayer for the accuser, Barber and his family.
"As betrayed as we feel, can you imagine how betrayed he feels by his own actions," Taylor said in homily during a mass Monday night, speaking to a packed church, in both English and Spanish. "He needs our support. He needs our compassion."
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests