AL--Catholic official arrested for child porn; Victims respond

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,314 645 5915 home, [email protected])

An Alabama Catholic official has been charged with child pornography. Now, Birmingham diocesan staff, including the bishop himself, must aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by

John Lindbergh Ellard Martin of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

It’s not enough for church employees to claim they’re “cooperating with authorities.” (In our experience, that usually means they’re doing the bare minimum to avoid being charged with obstruction of justice.) Catholic officials gave Martin a title, a leadership role and access to a computer. So they owe it to parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public to use their vast resources to actively help law enforcement solve this case and to find and help others who may have been hurt by Martin.

Specifically, we call on Bishop Robert Baker to personally visit St. John’s parish this weekend (and any other church where Martin may have worked or helped) begging victims, witnesses or whistleblowers to call police. He should also put announcements in church bulletins, parish websites and other diocesan publications and outlets.

We applaud the Madison County Sheriff’s Office for their work in this case and beg anyone with information or suspicions about crimes by Catholic officials to call the sheriff or other secular authorities, not church figures.

Fr. Phil O'Kennedy, pastor of the parish, made two disturbing comments in this case.

First, he said "We have seen nothing that would lead us to believe the charges being made against him.” That’s not helpful. Those kinds of remarks tend to discourage victims from reporting sex crimes, fearing they won’t be believed.

Second, he also said “We will continue to pray for Mr. Martin and his family." That’s not helpful either. Those kinds of remarks tend to depress victims and discourage them from reporting sex crimes, because so many people tend to rally around the accused and ignore the wounded.

We call on Bishop Baker to discipline Fr. Kennedy for his callousness.

No matter what police, prosecutors, courts or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,[email protected])


St. John the Baptist Catholic Church staffer charged with possession of child pornography


MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A staffer at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with possession and dissemination of child pornography.

John Lindbergh Ellard Martin, the Assistant Director for Parish Religious Education Program at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, was arrested Tuesday.

Madison County Sheriff’s Office Captain Michael Salomonsky said investigators with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security found  . . .

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