AL--Decision reached on indictment of predator priest

Decision reached on indictment of predator priest

Mother of alleged victim is told charges will be filed

Records are sealed, however, so outcome is unclear

Victims call on church & court officials to disclose ruling

SNAP: “Catholic bishop should aggressively seek out others who have been hurt”

Support group also releases list of 14 other “credibly accused AL child molesting clerics” 


Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will

- discuss a grand jury’s decision about possibly indicting an accused predator priest,

- beg church and court officials, for the safety of children, to disclose that recent decision,

- prod others who were similarly abused to step forward so they can begin to heal, and

- urge Birmingham’s bishop head to disclose the identity and whereabouts of other credibly accused clerics who have lived or worked in the area




Monday, April 20 at 1:30 p.m.


On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St Paul, 2120 3rd Avenue, North (corner of 22nd Street N )  in Birmingham, AL


Two members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director


A grand jury has reached a decision about indicting a Birmingham Catholic on child sex abuse charges. That decision is sealed but last week, the mother of the alleged victim was told by prosecutors that the grand jury has issued a “true bill” and the criminal case will proceed.

Almost 1.5 years ago, Fr. David Lawrence Stone (205-767-8384) was arrested in Jefferson County and accused of molesting a child younger than 12 years old. (Fr. Stone also goes by the name “Francis Mary Stone.”) The alleged victim is Fr. Stone’s child.

(Two links from recent stories here)


The victim’s family is represented by Scott Morro (205-631-6301, [email protected]) and Megan Sajjadieh (205-631-4019, 205-261-3169 cell, [email protected]), both of Gardendale.

2) SNAP is also releasing and posting on its website a list of 14 proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics who spent time in Alabama. 

Of these, the most recent legal action has involved Fr. Sean Leo Rooney. Last November, an abuse suit against him settled out of court. That victim’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian of Boston (617 523 6250, [email protected]), disclosed the settlement on his website: 

The priest was accused of having sexually abused a 14-year-old junior seminary student at least twice.  

Fr. Rooney was ordained in 1959 and also worked in schools in MA, IN, NJ, LA and NJ. His photo and work history are here:

“We applaud every victim of every one of these Alabama predators for having the strength to come forward, file suit, endure delays and expose Catholic officials who have committed and concealed child sex crimes,” said SNAP director David Clohessy. “We just with Alabama’s bishops would show the kind of courage and compassion these victims have shown, and use their vast resources to warn the public about these predators and find and console their victims.”

The Birmingham diocese says it has 103,000 Catholics and 102 priests in 39 counties. The Mobile archdiocese claims 69,000 Catholics, 76 parishes, and 122 priests in 28 counties. It includes the cities of Montgomery, Auburn and Dothan


Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, [email protected], David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected], [email protected]  



Charles Bordenca-- Accused of molesting a 12 yr old boy in 1960s. "Retired" in 1991 but continued to work part time in Mobile Archdiocese until removed by Bishop Foley in 2002 after Dallas Bishops Conference. Also accused of inappropriately touching several men during counseling situations. Other minor victims known.  

Kevin Cooke-- Removed in 2002 after he was accused of inappropriate contact with girl, age 14, more than 25 yrs previously. May have occurred when he was in seminary. Faculties withdrawn in 2003. 

George A. Costigan-- Accused on 11/19/93 by Patricia Clancy of sexually abusing her, starting when she was less than nine years old in the mid-1960s. Costigan denied the accusation. At the time of the alleged abuse, Costigan was a friend of Clancy's father and a Christian Brother teaching at West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys in the Philadelphia archdiocese. The alleged abuse, which is said by Clancy to have included rape, continued until Clancy attempted suicide as a sophmore in high school. Costigan's last assignment as a Christian Brother was assisting his brother, a pastor in the diocese of Tucson AZ, where a priest of the Covington KY diocese, later accused of abuse, was also working. Costigan left the Christian Brothers in 1971, was ordained in 1974, and was incardinated in the Paterson NJ diocese, where he resided for one year in a parish with a school and then worked as a hospital chaplain. In 1993, the year that Clancy made her accusation, Bishop Rodimer of Paterson changed Costigan's status to "retired" and re-assigned him as a convent chaplain to the Felician sisters in Mount Arlington NJ. The nuns run a youth retreat house next door to their convent. In approximately 2002-2004, Costigan lived in Puentenansa, Spain, where he had previously gone on pilgrimage in 1994. After living in Puentenansa, he returned to Mount Arlington. In 2006 Costigan was doing Katrina relief work in Huntsville AL. 

Charles Cross-- Removed 5/02. Alleged to have molested at least 4 male teenagers in early 1960s. Had not served as parish priest since 1985 because of "unrelated claims of sexual misconduct." Main duty was to oversee maintenance at diocese headquarters. Forced to retire 6/02 w/o privileges. One man sued Cross in 1995 re 1960-1964 abuse after telling the Diocese in 1993. Case dismissed on SOL. Died 4/24/10. Still referred to as "retired priest."  

Sean Leo Rooney-- Accused in 12/16/13 lawsuit of repeated sexual abuse of a boy age 14 at the Salesian minor seminary in Goshen NY, where Rooney taught theology and physics and was the financial administrator. The alleged abuse included removing the boy's clothing, touching and fondling the boy's naked buttocks and genitals skin-on-skin, and masturbating on the boy. The boy was also allegedly abused by Rooney on a school bus trip from Don Bosco Technical High School in Boston to Sacred Heart Retreat House in Ipswich. The complaint also alleged abuse of the boy in 1978 by Fr Joseph Maffei SDB and in 1981 by Bro Alan Scheneman SDB. Rooney was listed on the website of Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian on 10/31/14 after a settlement during the year previous. The Salesians confirmed a monetary settlement had been reached. Rooney worked in the Boston, Gary, Paterson, New Orleans, New York, Newark, and Birmingham (arch)dioceses during his 50-year career, and was laicized in 2008. 


Nicholas Paul Bendillo-- Known as "Br. Vic." Taught at McGill-Toolen High School in Mobile from 1959-1998. Verbal complaint received in 1998 and he was placed on leave. Received treatment. Arrested 4/03. Tried & sentenced in 2004 to 5 yrs prison. Multiple plaintiffs with allegations going back to 1963. Civil suit filed 2003 by 2 men and settled in 2004. 2 more suits filed 5/04. Released from prison hospital 7/04/07 at age 78 and sent to Missouri for treatment. On AL & MO sex offender registries  

Timothy Wayne Evans-- Placed on leave 12/05 after allegations of sexual and substance abuse involving a teenage boy up to 6 years ago. Accuser is now an adult. One priest said rumors had circulated for at least three years before Archdiocese investigated. 7/06 article says he remains in treatment in Alabama.  

James A. Havens-- Removed from St. Vincent de Paul church as of 5/8/13 and placed on administrative leave after woman accused him of sexual abusing her at age 10 in 1989 at her family's home. He was assigned to St. John's parish in Butler at the time. District Attorney's office has been notified. Investigation is pending by diocese.  

Cordell J. Lang-- Accused in 1995 suit of engaging in immoral sexual acts with boy who was student at Catholic High school where Lang was counselor. Lang claimed that because of MS he was impotent and unable to walk or dress himself since mid-1980s. Trial verdict for Defendant Lang. AL Court of Civil Appeals ruling 5/2/97, 1997 Ala. Civ.App. LEXIS 358, affirmed. Lang reinstated (in 1997?) per 2003 article. Died 10/01. 

Patrick L. Nicholson-- Nicholson, a chaplain assigned to Air Force Academy, was accused of pressing a female freshman at Air Force Academy in 1984 into an improper sexual relationship after she had gone to him for counseling. The relationship resumed briefly in 1999. Woman told military investigators of the relationship in 1999 and he was discharged from Air Force in 2000. Another woman came forward in 2003 to allege abuse by Nicholson when she was 15 in 1970s. Previously part of Mobile AL diocese.   

Robert L. Nouwen-- Nouwen pled guilty 12/12 to possession of child pornography (boys). He was deacon at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Has been removed from ministry. Per 5/13 press release, he also admitted to federal authorities that he had raped two children. He has been sentenced to 70 mo in federal prison and lifetime supervision after release. Archdiocese will now ask that he be laicized. 

Johnny S. Savoie-- Mobile archdiocesan VAC was contacted apparently in late 2013 by man alleging that Savoie had engaged in 'inappropriate sexual conduct' with him as a boy aged 16-18 in about 2005 at St Lawrence church in Fairhope. Archdiocesan lawyer contacted county DA in 12/13 and 1/14. DA did not investigate because at age 16, the accuser was beyond the AL age of consent. Archdiocese did not place Savoie on leave, and it is not known whether AL child protection officials were notified. The archdiocese reportedly investigated by 2/16/14, when Savoie announced to parishioners: he had been accused, he 'adamantly denied' the allegation, and as the archdiocese 'has determined that there is no evidence to support the accusation,' he 'will remain serving as pastor of St Pius X,' where the principal of the grammar school reports to him. In Savoie's 9/30/14 deposition in a case accusing him of ignoring bullying complaints at the school, he stated that the Fairhope boy was working part-time at St Lawrence.  

Arthur C. Schrenger-- Accused of abuse and placed on leave 2003. Per 12/05 article, he has appealed to Rome the archdiocese's finding that he had two instances of misconduct with minors prior to 1985. One 2003 article says he admitted abuse. No criminal prosecution because of statute of limitations. 

J. Alex Sherlock-- Placed on leave 2/03. First complaint received by Arch. Lipscomb in 1997 regarding abuse in 1970s. Sherlock admitted the incident; Lipscomb transferred him to another parish. At least 3 further credible allegations received between 2000 and 3/03. Sherlock admitted relations with at least 3 students at McGill-Toolen High school. Resigned 2003. Died 2005. 

E. Eugene Smith-- Per 4/03 articles, archdiocese has given Smith's file (along with several others) to District Attorney to investigate re charges of abuse. The archdiocese website said he was "Absent" on one day and the next his name was not on the website. 2/04 article says that Smith was on leave from the archdiocese between 1985 and 2002 but more recent information could not be located. 


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