Statement by Bill Lindsey, SNAP Arkansas Leader

We are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We exist for two reasons: To protect the vulnerable and to heal the wounded. We are here today for three reasons.

First, we are begging anyone with information or suspicions about crimes or cover ups by Arkansas church officials to come forward. Every victim heals in a different way. But it almost always starts with a brave disclosure. Maybe a spouse or best friend. Maybe a sibling or a therapist. But please, if you were sexually violated, do not try to carry that burden alone. Trust is difficult. But trust SOMEONE and share your pain. That’s how you can begin to move forward.

And if you did not suffer abuse, but saw or suspected it, come forward. Tell police or prosecutors or groups like ours. That’s your moral and civic duty. And that’s how we stop this horror.

Second, we are revealing the names three publicly accused abusive clerics who spent time in Arkansas and have been left off Bishop Anthony Taylor’s “accused” list, which was unveiled last September and updated this month.

-- Fr. John H. Sutton who’s accused of abuse in the 1990s in Texas, an allegation that "was found to have a semblance of truth," according to Ft. Worth church officials.

-- Fr. Daniel De Dominicis, who was included in the San Bernardino diocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

-- Fr. Joseph D. Ross, who was convicted in 1988 of the sexual abuse of a boy in 1986. In 2008, he was again arrested, this time by Little Rock police, on charges of rape of a St. Louis girl. He was defrocked.

They’ve attracted public attention elsewhere but little or no attention in or around Arkansas. It doesn’t matter where they were ordained, whether they’re alive or deceased, whether they’re diocesan or religious order priests, whether they hurt kids here or elsewhere. Arkansas parents, parishioners, police and prosecutors deserve to know about them. This kind of information can protect kids. It can also help victims heal.

We want these three men added to Bishop Taylor’s list of accused clerics and we also want him to explain the omission and provide more details about ALL alleged offenders in his diocese.

For more info on these clerics, see our website, SNAPnetwork.org, and on BishopAccountability.org, a very reliable source.

Again, if you saw, suspected or suffered harm by these three, or other clerics, please call the police. Kids are safest when predators are jailed. And please call SNAP or therapists or loved ones, so you can get the support you need and deserve.

Finally, we’re here to stress that, despite the word priest in our name, SNAP wants to hear from and help anyone hurt in any institutional setting. We are first and foremost a support group, and we pledge that if you contact us, we’ll do what we can to ease your burden and join you in your recovery from this trauma.

CONTACT: Bill Lindsey, SNAP Arkansas (wdlindsy@swbell.net 501-993-7933)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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