Victims blast Albany bishop
- Victims blast Albany bishop
- Child sex abuse & cover-up suit filed
- Last time cleric was sued, he ran off to Ireland
- He only came back after accuser—another priest—died
- Cleric then gave one victim hush money & continued abuse
- Bishop kept priest in ministry despite repeated abuse reports
What: Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose details about a new sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit filed against a serial predator priest in the Albany diocese. The lawsuit says:
-- the priest sexually abused a young altar boy at a Cairo parish,
-- when other allegations against the priest were made, church officials let him flee to Ireland,
-- when a victim died & his suit ended, church officials put the accused priest back into ministry,
-- the cleric paid one victim hush money, and
-- church officials kept quiet about new allegations and only removed the accused priest when the second accuser filed a lawsuit.
Victims will also urge Albany’s bishop to
--turn over all information about the cleric, including secret personnel files, to law enforcement, and
--visit all of the parishes where the priest worked, inform Catholics of the risk, and reach out to potential victims.
They will also read a statement by a third victim, who is a New York state trooper.
When: Tuesday, April 24 at 1 pm
Where: Outside of the Albany Diocese Headquarters
40 North Main Avenue (at Lancaster) in Albany
Who: Two to three victims of child sex abuse and their supporters who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), including a California woman who is the group's Western Regional Director.
Why: Last month in Albany Supreme Court, an alleged child sex abuse victim filed a new sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit saying that an Albany priest sexually abused him and paid him hush money. (There was no media coverage at the time of the filing of the suit, only after the diocese put the priest on leave)
According to the civil suit, Fr. Jeremiah Nunan molested Martin Morales, an altar boy, from 1996 to 2003, at Sacred Heart church when Morales was 7 - 14 years old. Morales says that the abuse started again in 2007 when Morales was a young adult. Nunan paid Morales, who was unemployed and broke, what the lawsuit calls "hush money" to ensure that Morales kept quiet about the abuse. Morales is currently in prison for attempted murder. http://www.thedailymail.net/articles/2011/03/01/news/doc4d6c871de4a0e719877507.txt .
Morales' brother, a New York state trooper, also says that he was sexually abused by Nunan, but is unable to file a lawsuit due to the statute of limitations. Victims will read a statement on his behalf at the event.
Nunan has been accused of sexual abuse in the past. In 2006, a California priest came forward and filed a lawsuit saying that Nunan had sexually abused him as a child while the victim was a boy in Hudson, NY. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2008/07_08/2008_07_13_Zangla_LawsuitProceeds.htm. The lawsuit was only dropped when the victim in the case died. When Nunan learned of the lawsuit, he fled to Ireland.
Despite the fact that the courts said that the first victim's case had merit, Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard put Nunan back into ministry in the Albany diocese when the victim died and told parishioners that the victim's accusations were "unsubstantiated." http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2008/07_08/2008_07_13_Zangla_LawsuitProceeds.htm .
According to letters sent by the Albany diocese to the victims and his family, church officials knew of Morales' allegations last year, but did little or nothing to warn parishioners, reach out to potential victims, or inform law enforcement. Nunan was only put on administrative leave when the diocese was informed of the lawsuit. http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/580595/greene-county-priest-accused-of-sex-abuse/ .
SNAP is worried that there may be other victims of Nunan who are scared into shame and silence. They also believe that Albany Diocese officials did not take proper steps to protect children by letting Nunan flee to Ireland and putting him back into ministry when his accuser died.
Copies of the lawsuit, checks to the victim, and diocesan letters about allegations against Nunan will be available at the event.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.