The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Pedophile priest case settles; SNAP responds
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 hope this settlement brings some well-deserved, long overdue consolation to this brave victim.
We call on Ft. Worth Catholic officials to use their vast resources to seek out others who were hurt by Msgr. Reilly. He’s accused of molesting almost two dozen kids, but we’re convinced there are many others out there who have yet to break their silence and who still suffer in shame and self blame. Rather than sit passively back and do little or nothing, Bishop Vann and his staff should be actively prodding anyone with information about Reilly’s crimes to step forward.
It’s disingenuous for Ft. Worth’s bishop to address only the abuse while ignoring the cover up. Catholics and citizens should remember that it took three years (2002-05) for church officials to admit to one of Reilly’s victims that three others had accused him of abuse years earlier.
It’s disingenuous for Vann to use phrases like “tragedy such as that which has befallen victims.” These were crimes and cover ups, not “acts of God.” They were perpetrated on victims, not “befallen.” Time and time again, bishops use vague and misleading images and phrases to help distance themselves from these heinous crimes. This kind of “ducking and dodging” is an irresponsible public relations spin that only rubs more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of victims.
(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, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Sex abuse victim reaches settlement with Fort Worth diocese
Posted Monday, May. 09, 2011 - Post a comment on this storySend us a news tipExpress your opinion in a letter to the editorBy Darren Barbee - firstname.lastname@example.org
Another victim of the late Monsignor James Reilly, a serial child molester who worked in Arlington, reached a settlement Monday with the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese.
Terms were not disclosed and the gender of the victim was not immediately known, though Reilly's victims apparently all have been boys. Bishop Kevin Vann, leader of the diocese, said in a written statement that he is deeply sorry for any sexual abuse the victim "may have endured and suffered by Reilly."
Vann, who came to the diocese long after Reilly’s stint at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Arlington from 1969 through 1987, said he will address any charge of abuse as quickly as possible.
"As the pastor of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, I am committed to ensuring that the Diocese's policies are adhered to so we can prevent future tragedy such as that which has befallen the victims of abuse," he said.
Tahira Khan Merritt, a Dallas attorney who has represented or represents 19 people in lawsuits accusing Reilly, said the priest molested children as young as age 9 and as old as 16. Clients have told her that Reilly would pull children out of class and molest them in the church rectory, Merritt told the Star-Telegram last year.
In October, a man using the pseudonym John Doe I sued the diocese in October, asking for more than $50,000 in damages. The man claimed that Reilly engaged in sex acts with him and abused him in 1973-74 while on church property. The abuse happened when the man was an adolescent, his attorney, Steve Schulte, has said.
Reilly retired in 1987 and moved to Philadelphia. He died in 1999.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests