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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Whistleblower Catholic files lawsuit; 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)

Our hearts go out to Mr. Wilson and his family. He is the latest in a long line of compassionate Catholic whistleblowers who has acted to protect kids but been punished by callous, self-serving church officials.

Let’s hope that every person who has any information or suspicions that could shed light on this disturbing situation will find the courage and strength to call police so that the full truth might become clear.

(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@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110621/ARTICLE/110629902/2416/NEWS?Title=Teacher-says-he-was-fired-after-pushing-for-priest-inquiry

Teacher says he was fired after pushing for priest inquiry

By Matthew Doig Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 2:28 p.m.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Lee County's 20th Judicial Circuit claims a former Catholic high school teacher was fired because he pushed for an investigation into a priest who allegedly pressured teenage girls to talk about sexual details during a confession held at the school.

Former Bishop Verot High School teacher Chris Wilson is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 against the school, the Diocese of Venice and Bishop Frank Dewayne, who oversees the priest in question.

Wilson's suit claims that Bishop Verot's principal fired him shortly after learning that Wilson made a complaint with the Department of Children and Families about Father Cory Mayer, who visited Bishop Verot in April to take confession from students.

The suit states Wilson reported Mayer — first to school officials and later to DCF — after learning that Mayer instructed at least five teenage girls to give him details about whether they had masturbated or had sex. If they refused, Mayer told them he would not grant them absolution, the suit claims.

In an interview Monday, Wilson said that while his students were not "permanently scarred" by their encounter with Mayer, they were troubled enough that he felt it was his duty to press the issue with authorities.

"In my mind I kept thinking, 'What if this was my kid?'" said Wilson, who has two young daughters. "It was so wrong, I just couldn't understand why he would even ask."

Wilson's lawsuit states that Bishop Verot Principal John Cavell informed him that Dewayne, who is the head of the Diocese of Venice, personally told him that Mayer was allowed to ask the sexual questions "as an examination of conscience concerning the Ten Commandments." Cavell added that the confession was a "Diocesan event and the school had no authority over Father Mayer," according to the suit.

Wilson said he pointed to a Diocesan policy regarding the prevention of child abuse that states church personnel are "generally prohibited from engaging in any sexually oriented conversations/discussions with minors ..." In matters of confession, the policy adds that the cleric will only respond to "specific questions."

Wilson said that students told him Mayer's questions came "out of the blue" and that one girl had to repeatedly tell Mayer "it's none of your business." Wilson also found it odd that it appears Mayer only asked the questions of female students.

"I did not hear of any male students getting asked the question," he said.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Venice said he would comment after seeing the lawsuit.

Wilson's lawsuit states that Bishop Verot Principal John Cavell informed him that Dewayne, who is the head of the Diocese of Venice, personally told him that Mayer was allowed to ask the sexual questions "as an examination of conscience concerning the Ten Commandments." Cavell added that the confession was a "Diocesan event and the school had no authority over Father Mayer," according to the suit.

Wilson said he pointed to a Diocesan policy regarding the prevention of child abuse that states church personnel are "generally prohibited from engaging in any sexually oriented conversations/discussions with minors ..." In matters of confession, the policy adds that the cleric will only respond to "specific questions."

Wilson said that students told him Mayer's questions came "out of the blue" and that one girl had to repeatedly tell Mayer "it's none of your business." Wilson also found it odd that it appears Mayer only asked the questions of female students.

"I did not hear of any male students getting asked the question," he said.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Venice said he would comment after seeing the lawsuit.


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