The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, April 11, 2011
Priest removed from ministry; clergy sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
We are grateful that church officials have taken action and removed Fr. Jacob Oravanam thadthil. We are concerned because they have made the decision if this behavior was criminal or not. All information should be promptly reported to independent and trained law enforcement professionals.
Sex between a priest and a parishioner can never be consensual. A priest holds a position of power and trust over all Catholics.
The diocese has released very little information, choosing instead simply send Oravanamthasthil back to his native India. SNAP fears that other may have been hurt and by sending this priest back to India victims will have no chance to seek justice and that Oravanamthathil will pose a danger to the vulnerable population there.
Now more than ever it is important for anyone who saw, suspected or suffered criminal acts at the hands of Oravanamthathil to come forward, seek help and alert law enforcement.
(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 23 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, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Priest removed from parishes following report of sexual relationship
By Beverly Fortune — email@example.com
Posted: 12:00am on Apr 11, 2011; Modified: 3:49am on Apr 11, 2011
The Rev. Jacob Oravanam thadthil was removed as pastor for St. Joseph Parish in Winchester and St. Patrick Parish in Mount Sterling on Saturday after confirmation that he had been involved in a consensual sexual relationship with a woman for several years.
Oravanamthadthil vacated the rectory Friday. He is expected to return to his native India later in April.
Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington removed Oravanamthadthil from performing priestly duties and sent him to his religious community for pastoral care and discipline. The disciplinary action became effective Saturday.
Oravanamthadthil is a member of Heralds of the Good News religious order based in Eluru, India. He has served in the Lexington diocese since October 2004. He was associate pastor of Cathedral of Christ the King and Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary parishes in Lexington before he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph and St. Patrick parishes in 2006.
The diocese received a report of the relationship April 1 and immediately began its investigative process, according to a statement released Sunday by Thomas Shaughnessy, director of communications for the diocese.
Victim's advocate Nelda Jackson, a social worker with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington, interviewed by phone the woman who had reported her relationship with the priest.
"The conversation led Mrs. Jackson to believe the information was credible," Shaughnessy said.
Gainer met with Oravanam thadthil on Wednesday. The bishop took action immediately, according to the statement.
The woman is "well beyond the legal age of majority" and does not fall under the legal reporting criteria for a "vulnerable adult."
Shaughnessy declined to say whether the woman was a member of one of the Oravanamthadthil's parishes.
"We are declining to give any details about her," Shaughnessy said.
Gainer delivered the news about Oravanamthadthil to parishioners at St. Joseph and St. Patrick during regular Masses on Saturday evening and Sunday, and he stayed to answer questions.
Another priest will fill in for Holy Week, which starts next week with Palm Sunday; penitent services, and other such duties until the priest personnel board for the diocese makes a new appointment, Shaughnessy said.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests