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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, June 16, 2011

Maine bishop should do outreach; SNAP says

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

Let’s hope that every person who has any information or suspicions about this predator priest will find the courage and strength to call police. He should and could be prosecuted if everyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes comes forward.

We strongly urge Maine’s Catholic bishop, Richard Malone, to show some courage and use his vast resources to seek out and help everyone who may have been assaulted by Knapp. Malone should urge every person who’s been hurt to contact law enforcement so that Knapp might be charged, convicted, and jailed; and so that kids might be safer.

(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, peterisely

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110615-NEWS-110619778

Diocese defrocks York man accused of child sex abuseSusan Morse

By Susan Morse, smorse@seacoastonline.com, June 15, 2011 8:48 PM

YORK, Maine — A papal court has defrocked four inactive priests, including York resident Robert J. Knapp, saying Knapp was accused of sexually abusing minors, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston dated Monday, June 13.

The Holy See, or papal court, determined Knapp is “no longer in the clerical state,” having sought through a voluntary process to be removed, according to the statement posted at www.BostonCatholic.org.

While not directly linking the papal court’s decision to the sexual abuse allegations, the Archdiocese said Knapp, “ordained in 1965, was first accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1985. He has been absent without permission from the Archdiocese since 1988.”

Knapp, born in 1939, denies the accusation.

“All I can say is, I’m innocent,” he said from his York Beach home late Wednesday afternoon.

On Nov. 23, 2004, Richard J. Lennon of the Archdiocese gave him a document exonerating him of any sexual offense accusations, Knapp said. Knapp told the Portsmouth Herald he would deliver the document to the newspaper, but as of Wednesday evening, the document had not arrived.

“I’ve got a document clearing me, allowing me to go back to duty, but I couldn’t,” he said, because he had gotten married. “I asked to be removed four or five years ago.”

Knapp, a former member of the York Parks & Recreation Board, said Wednesday he was surprised by the Archdiocese’s announcement, having received no notification.

“I have no idea, because it’s not true,” he said.

There are no known criminal charges against Knapp.

Knapp was ordained in 1965 and voluntarily left the priesthood in 1988, he said. He served as a priest in Massachusetts.

On Sept. 19, 2003, Lennon informed Knapp of his suspension from the clerical state due to his civil marriage, according to the letter provided by Terry McKiernan of the watchdog group, BishopAccountability.org, which said Knapp has been accused of hundreds of incidents of sexual assault from 1979 to 1984.

“You should also be aware that the Archdiocese of Boston is facing two legal claims relative to charges of sexual misconduct by you,” said Lennon in the 2003 letter. “On involves a minor male, and the other concerns an adult female.”

No one at the Archdiocese of Boston could be reached late Wednesday afternoon.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, “expressed his continued prayers for all persons impacted by the painful reality of sexual abuse of children and young people by clergy,” it said David Clohessy, director the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, criticized the Archdiocese in a Boston Globe report.

“We’re disappointed, but not surprised, that O’Malley failed to urge those who saw, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes by these clerics to call police,” Clohessy told the Globe. “That should be O’Malley’s top priority, keeping predators away from kids. It’s irresponsible for Catholic officials to recruit, educate, ordain, hire, and protect child-molesting clerics, then cut them loose when public pressure becomes too great.”

On Monday, the Archdiocese named four inactive priests whom the Holy See determined were no longer in the clerical state: Knapp, Robert F. Daly, John Keane, and Benjamin McMahon. Daly and McMahon were both accused of sexually abusing minors, according to the Archdiocese. Keane pleaded guilty in 2008 to one charge of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14, as well as three charges of assault and battery on a child, according to the Archdiocese.

“As a result of the Holy See’s decisions, they may no longer function in any capacity as priests, with the exception of offering absolution to the dying,” the statement said. “The four men have not received any financial support from the Archdiocese in more than two decades.”


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