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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ex Western MA priest violates parole, SNAP responds

MD predator priest (also accused of molesting in Springfield MA) violates parole; Sex abuse victims respond

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)

We’re grateful a judge is ordering predator priest Fr. A. J. Cote to take lie detector tests. But we’re disappointed she won’t insist that he seek a licensed counselor. We’re even more upset that Catholic officials are unwilling to pay for a child molesting cleric to see a licensed counselor. It is arrogant, stubborn and reckless for the Dominicans to insist that this criminal get counseling from an unlicensed individual.

It’s the ‘same old, same old.’ Cote is just doing what predators have always done - violate rules and boundaries at every opportunity. And his church supervisors are doing what Catholic officials have always done – refuse to take simple, common sense steps to protect kids.

Shame on all of them.

We hope that others who have seen, suspected or suffered Cote’s crimes will come forward and call police. Kids are safest when dangerous predators like Cote are jailed. And that only happens when others are smart and strong enough to contact law enforcement like the McMorrow family did. When adults show courage and compassion, like the McMorrow family has shown, at least there’s a chance that child molesters will be locked up. But when adults stay silent, criminals like Cote get light sentences and are often able to assault other children.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. 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, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

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http://www.gazette.net/stories/01052011/gaitnew193646_32537.php

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011

Judge reconsiders former Germantown youth pastor's sex offense probation

Prosecutors found terms were not being met

by Jen Bondeson | Staff Writer

A judge has changed the terms of probation for a former Germantown youth pastor who was found guilty in 2009 of sexually abusing an altar boy, after prosecutors found the priest was not meeting the original terms.

The Rev. Aaron Joseph Cote, 59, will now take polygraph tests. Montgomery County Circuit Court Associate Judge Louise Scrivener granted Maryland State Police the ability to issue the tests.

During a Monday hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Karla Smith asked for the tests "for the protection of the community."

Smith also said Cote's counselor is not properly certified, she said. She asked Scrivener to appoint a new counselor.

Scrivener said she would retain the same counselor because the Dominican Fathers and Brothers, the order in which Cote was ordained, would not pay for any other counseling option, and because she did not want to keep resetting the case.

Cote said in the hearing that he did not believe a polygraph was different from the penile plethysmograph tests he takes.

Health professionals use these tests on sex offenders to measure arousal and record blood flow, heart or breathing rate when viewing certain images.

Cote was found guilty in November 2009 of sexually abusing a teenage altar boy in 2001 and 2002. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation, five of them to be supervised by the Dominican order.

The order refused to care for Cote.

Scrivener re-evaluated Cote's plan Monday.

Smith said Cote should be counseled by a licensed mental health professional.

Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office spokeswoman Emily White said Cote is seeing Stephen Price, the director of Silver Spring-based Justice and Hearing, a center that provides treatment for sex offenders.

The center's website states Price has more than 25 years experience in addiction, trauma and offender treatment, but does not list specific academic credentials.

Price refused to comment Tuesday.

Smith recommended Dr. Ronald Weiner, of Clinical & Forensic Associates, PC, one of the only licensed mental-health professionals in Maryland who specializes in working with sexual offenders.

According to the Clinical & Forensic Associates website Weiner has a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in social welfare and social policy, as well as a master's degree in social work from Howard University. He is licensed in both Maryland and the District of Columbia as a clinical social worker.

Smith said that Weiner and Price's services were comparable in cost.

Cote has been compliant throughout his supervised probation, according to Mark A. Vernarelli, director of public information for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Cote sees a counselor four times a month, calls the sexual offender call-in line every day and attends a treatment program.

Jillian Boger, Cote's probation officer, said in court that the Dominican order receives weekly updates from Price, and is happy with where Cote is.

Cote refused to comment after the hearing Monday.

Cote was required to register as a sex offender in Maryland after he was found guilty of showing pornography to Brandon Rains, then an altar boy at Mother Seton Parish.

The allegations against Cote include sexual touching and watching pornography with a minor, as well as claims he bought Rains gifts, took him to dinner and gave him money to buy marijuana, court records say.

Cote denies all the allegations. The terms of his sentencing did not require him to plead; instead, he chose not to object to a statement of facts presented by prosecutors.

Toni and Joe McMorrow, Rain's mother and stepfather, won a civil lawsuit filed in 2005 that prompted criminal charges against Cote two years later. They still follow the case.

"I think it is a positive development," Joe McMorrow said of Monday's hearing. "[Cote] is for some reason being totally resistant to honoring terms of the agreement. It is disappointing that Cote is still maintaining innocence — it still poses a risk to the community."

Cote's address in court records is that of the Motel 6 in Gaithersburg.

The Gazette does not normally print the names of victims of sex crimes; however, Rains and his family went public with their case against Cote.

Priors at the Dominican Province of St. Joseph's in New York City were not available for comment Monday or Tuesday.

jbondeson@gazette.net


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org