The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Patients Allegedly Abused By Reardon Sue Hartford Archdiocese; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris, National Outreach Director for SNAP 314-862-7688
It's hard to imagine that so much abuse could go on for so long without Catholic diocesan officials having some knowledge of allegations against Reardon.
In addition to the nuns at the hospital, there were likely Catholic priests who also worked there for years as chaplains.
For all their faults, America's bishops have been thorough record-keepers, and we believe that if Hartford's church hierarchy hasn't already destroyed records, there's a good chance its files will contain suspicions, maybe even evidence, of Reardon's crimes.
Regardless, we hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Reardon's crimes will come forward, get help and start healing.
(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), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747)
Patients Allegedly Abused By Reardon Sue Hartford Archdiocese
By MATTHEW KAUFFMAN And ARIELLE LEVIN-BECKER The Hartford Courant 12:31 p.m. EDT, October 14, 2009
Lawyers for dozens of patients who say they were molested by Dr. George Reardon during the decades he practiced at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center filed suit Wednesday against the Hartford Archdiocese, claiming the religious organization shares responsibility for the abuse.
"It's our belief that as early as 1970, both the hospital and the diocese knew George Reardon was a monster and they did absolutely nothing to stop him," said New Haven lawyer Joel T. Faxon of Stratton Faxon, which represents 49 plaintiffs.
Nearly the entire 40-page lawsuit describes the abuse allegedly suffered by the plaintiffs and repeats legal claims made against St. Francis. But the suit also asserts that the hospital and the diocese were so closely aligned that they operated as "joint venturers and/or partners" to a degree that the archdiocese shares blame for Reardon's actions.
Two nuns served as executive director of the hospital from 1962 to 1988, controlling the hospital, the suit claims, on behalf of the archdiocese. One of the nuns was also a member of the hospital's research committee, which oversaw the growth study Reardon claimed to be conducting at the time the abuse took place. In addition, the archbishop of the diocese has always served as chairman of the hospital's board of directors, according to the lawsuit.
As a result, the suit claims, Reardon was acting as an agent of not only St. Francis, but also the archdiocese.
"There is no way for the diocese not to have known the extreme danger Reardon posed to the children in the hospital," the law firm said in a press release announcing the suit.
A message for a diocesan spokesman was not immediately returned.
The 49 plaintiffs in the suit against the archdiocese are among 135 people suing St. Francis, alleging that the hospital was negligent in failing to stop the abuse. An effort to mediate the cases failed last week and attorneys are preparing to bring the claims against the hospital to trial.
St. Francis officials have said that the hospital did not know of the specific allegations against Reardon until 1993, when state health officials tried to revoke his license. Reardon died in 1998.
Evidence of his crimes were uncovered in 2007, when a homeowner renovating Reardon's former West Hartford home found more than 50,000 slides and 100 movie reels of child pornography. The photographs suggest he may have abused 500 children.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests