The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Another man w/ ties to controversial Western MO-based church arrested on child sex charges
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell)
Today, a Vermont newspaper is reporting that Missouri law enforcement has arrested another man (Paul J. Cool) with connections to the Independence-based Community of Christ Church on child sex charges.
Despite claims to the contrary by the church's PR woman, we remain convinced that Paul J. Cool was a Community of Christ official.
We hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes will gain the strength to come forward, get help and call police. And we hope Community of Christ officials will stop working so hard to deny ties to alleged predators and start working hard to find boys and girls who are suffering because of those alleged predators.
(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), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003)
Former Vermont resident charged with molesting girls
By Sam Hemingway, Free Press Staff Writer • Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A former Vermont resident and purported priest with a spin-off Mormon church organization has been arrested in Missouri on charges he fondled two female relatives while living in Vermont several years ago.
Paul Cool, 49, of Blue Springs, Mo., is facing two charges of lewd and lascivious conduct. One charge involves alleged fondling incidents with a teenage relative at a home in South Royalton in 2006 and 2007; the other alleges he touched a pre-teen relative at a home in Cornwall in 2007 and 2008.Paul Cool, 49, of Blue Springs, Mo., is facing two charges of lewd and lascivious conduct. One charge involves alleged fondling incidents with a teenage relative at a home in South Royalton in 2006 and 2007; the other alleges he touched a pre-teen relative at a home in Cornwall in 2007 and 2008.
According to a police affidavit on file at Vermont District Court in White River Junction, police were alerted to Cool's alleged conduct when the mother of the two victims contacted police in February and said Cool had inappropriately touched her teenage daughter in 2006 and 2007.
Neither alleged victim now lives in Vermont.
In a subsequent interview conducted by the Dekalb County Sheriff's Department in Maysville, Mo., the teenage girl told police that Cool repeatedly had fondled and kissed her breasts, telling her he needed to do so because "God had told him to get her ready for marriage."
The affidavit said at one point, Cool also touched the teen's vaginal area with his hands.
"He told her he knew from God that she was doing things to make an evil spirit enter her in her pubic area and that he had to touch her pubic area to pray the evil out of her," the teen told police, according to the affidavit.
The alleged victim said she initially tried to tell Cool not to touch her and asked if they could just pray instead, but he rejected her request. She said she did not tell her mother what Cool did until this year because she "feared what God would do to her if she told anyone."
The conduct with the pre-teen girl, which allegedly occurred during the winter of 2007 and 2008, mostly involved Cool's rubbing the child's body, according to a separate affidavit on file at Vermont District Court in Middlebury.
Cool, described by the older female relative as a priest with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is listed on the rolls of the Community of Christ Church in Independence, Mo., as a financial contributor to the organization, a church spokeswoman said Monday.
"We have him in the miscellaneous category," Linda Booth said. "That means he possibly gave money at a church event he attended." She said she had no knowledge that Cool ever acted as a priest for the Community of Christ Church.
The church, which spun off from the Mormons in the 19th century, has been under scrutiny nationally since three of its lay priests -- all related -- were arrested last week in connection with claims they forced children to engage in sexual acts with adults, other children and an animal in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Cool appeared in a Missouri court last week following his arrest and waived extradition to Vermont. He remained incarcerated Monday night at the Daviess Dekalb Regional Jail in Pattonsburg, Mo.
Contact Sam Hemingway at 660-1850
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests