The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Priest who tried suicide charged with sex assault; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris, National Outreach Director, 314 862 7688
We hope this moves bring some comfort to the families of Flores’
accusers. We also hope that it will prompt other Chicago parents to ask their children if Flores may have hurt them.
Anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Flores must call the police. That’s the best way to determine the truth and to protect the vulnerable. It’s crucial that current and former church members and employees find the courage to share what they know of this priest with the independent professionals in law enforcement. And it’s crucial that victims and witnesses seek out unbiased sources of help, rather than calling Catholic officials.
(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), Peter Isely (414-429-7259)
Priest who tried suicide charged with sex assault
January 20, 2010 1:39 PM
A priest who authorities say hurled himself from a church balcony after he was accused of molesting a boy was charged Wednesday with seven felonies, including predatory criminal sexual assault.
The Rev. Alejandro Flores, 37, was also charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two counts of criminal sexual assault for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old boy at a West Chicago church where Flores was posted as a seminarian, according to the Kane County State's Attorney's office.
The state's attorney's office said Flores abused a St. Charles child over a five-year period between Jan. 1, 2005 and Jan 1, 2010. The child was younger than 13 when the abuse started, authorities said.
Flores was released from the hospital Wednesday and was in the custody of Kane County authorities, according to the state's attorney's office.
He was expected to be booked into the county jail Wednesday afternoon and to appear before a judge Thursday afternoon.
A Kane County grand jury indicted Flores last week, though the indictment remained sealed until local authorities took him into custody.
His bond was set at $1 million, State's Atty. John Barsanti said.
Flores must surrender his passport should he post bond.
The Bolivian-born priest had been hospitalized after reportedly trying to kill himself by leaping from the balcony
On Jan. 6, two days after the Joliet diocese placed Flores on leave from a Shorewood church when the abuse allegations surfaced, Flores fell 20 feet to the floor at St. Mary's Carmelite Church in Joliet.
He was found unconscious, lying on the floor between a row of pews and taken to a hospital in critical condition. Both police and church officials characterized it as a suicide attempt.
Flores was ordained in June. The abuse allegations stemmed from Flores'
time as a seminarian at St. Mary's Catholic Church in West Chicago, authorities said.
The church's pastor, the Rev. John Balluff, addressed the issue in the parish's weekly bulletin last Sunday, urging any parishioner with additional abuse allegations to immediately contact law enforcement.
"We will always be committed to doing everything possible to protect children, to help this child and his family and to help bring about healing for our families and the people of the diocese," Balluff wrote.
At a news conference earlier this month, Joliet Bishop J. Peter Sartain publicly apologized to the alleged victim and his family. There were no previous abuse allegations against Flores, the bishop said.
The state's attorney's office also asked anyone with possible information to contact the Kane County Child Advocacy Center at (630) 208-5160.
-- Clifford Ward
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests