The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, October 15, 2009
Dioceses settle case of abuse by Baton Rouge bishop; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Dorris, National Outreach Director for SNAP 314-862-7688
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
We are heartened by this settlement and hope it brings a measure of peace to this brave victim, Glenn Hymel. No amount of money can restore a child's innocence or compensate for years of pain and suffering. This settlement will help this brave man move forward and hopefully force church officials to be more protective of the children entrusted to their care.
When victims and witnesses remain silent nothing changes. But when they find the courage to come forward, seek help and report what they know about a clergy members crimes then children are safer.
We encourage church officials in Corpus Christi to spend less energy reminding people they paid no part of this settlement and instead reach out to anyone who may have been hurt.
Bishops are held in the highest esteem by Catholics and especially so by a teenager wishing to be a priest. Bishop Sullivan violated this trust in one of the most horrific ways possible. We encourage church officials to talk to Hymel's classmates, both in Baton Rouge and Corpus Christi, to see if they were harmed by Sullivan.
(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 since 1988 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)
Dioceses settle case of abuse by BR bishop
By JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
Published: Oct 15, 2009 - Page: 1A
A 45-year-old Houston man who claims he was sexually abused as a boy by former Baton Rouge Bishop Joseph Sullivan has settled his lawsuit against the Roman Catholic dioceses of Baton Rouge and Corpus Christi for $225,000, the man’s attorney said Wednesday.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge, through its insurer, is paying for the entire settlement, a diocesan spokesman said.
Glenn Hymel filed his suit two years ago in Corpus Christi, alleging he was abused by Sullivan from 1978 to 1982 after entering a Baton Rouge seminary for minors.
Hymel said he transferred to a minor seminary in Corpus Christi after the Baton Rouge school closed. He claimed Sullivan visited the Corpus Christi school and continued to abuse him for years.
Chelsie King Garza, who represents Hymel, said Wednesday that Hymel also was abused by Sullivan in New York and Hawaii when the bishop had Hymel accompany him on trips to those states.
Sullivan served as bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge from 1974 until his death in 1982.
The bishop’s name adorned a local high school for years, but it was erased after an out-of-court settlement in 2004 of another suit alleging Sullivan had sexually abused a minor boy.
Diocese of Baton Rouge spokesman Bill Michelet and Diocese of Corpus Christi spokesman Marty Wind said both dioceses always take any allegations of sexual misconduct seriously.
Michelet stressed that Hymel’s suit, whose allegations date back more than 25 years, did not make abuse claims against any current clergy in the Baton Rouge diocese.
In a statement released through Wind, the Diocese of Corpus Christi also said it is important to note “that this case does not involve any church worker or Priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, past or present.’’
“The Diocese of Corpus Christi did not participate in the funding of any settlement,’’ the statement added.
Garza said the settlement reached last week includes the cost of Hymel’s past counseling and future counseling for three years.
“It’s another step in the healing process,’’ she said of Hymel’s feelings about the settlement.
Garza said no amount of money could possibly compensate Hymel for what he has gone through and will continue to endure.
Garza said Hymel filed suit “to bring light to the situation.’’ The fact that he filed the suit using his real name, rather than a John Doe, “shows his courage,’’ she added.
The suit, which accused both dioceses of failing to protect Hymel as a boy, said the man had repressed memories of the abuse that surfaced in therapy as an adult.
The case had been set for trial this week.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests