Bahamas--Secret records about 3 ex-Bahamas abusive cleric are released

For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 4, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566

Hundreds of pages of long-secret records about three child molesting Catholic priest who spent years in the Bahamas have been released. Church officials should tell parents, parishioners and the public about them.

Fr. Richard Eckroth, Fr. Thomas Gillespie and Fr. Finian McDonald worked at Saint Augustine’s in Nassau the Bahamas. They’re all “credibly accused” of abuse, according to their church supervisors, and have been or are being sued for abuse.

McDonald admitted abusing 200 children and traveled frequently to Bahamas until 2002.

Eckroth is accused of abusing boys and girls and at one point was ordered back to St. John's Abbey from Bahamas and then sent for treatment.

Gillespie allegedly abused at least four students and church officials admitted to one another in 2002 that he had molested kids.

Nassau Archbishop Patrick C. Pinder should personally visit the parishes near where these priests lived or worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward. He should also use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements across the entire diocese to seek out others who may have been assaulted and are still suffering. And he should permanently post on his diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every child molesting Bahamas area cleric, whether alive or dead, diocesan or religious order, or admitted, proven or credibly accused. (About 30 US bishops have done this. It’s the bare minimum a bishop should do to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.)

We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in the Bahamas will summon the strength to speak up. Kids are safer only when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers are courageous enough to act. Silence is tempting but it only helps wrongdoers.

It’s important that people with suspicions or knowledge of these crimes and cover ups call the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church positions.

NOTE – The attorneys involved in the records release are Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990 office, 612 817 8665 cell, and Mike Finnegan (651 227 9990 office, 612 205 5531 cell, The Minnesota church spokesman who’s responsible for information about the priests is Brother Aelred Senna (320 363 2004asenna@csbsju.edu320 363 2085 phone, 320 363 3039 (

(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,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,, Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, SNAP director Southern Minnesota(, Verne Wagner of Duluth, SNAP director Northern Minnesota (

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