CT--Victims asks AG to investigate "cult-like" group must take action in abuse case

For immediate release, November 8, 2016

Statement by Joelle Casteix, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), (949) 322-7434jcasteix@gmail.com

The second-in-command of a Connecticut-based scandal-plagued religious group has been accused of child sexual abuse in a local civil lawsuit filed last week.


The priest, Fr. Luis Garza, has been accused of sexually abusing a child and trafficking the teen across international borders.

It is time for the George Jepsen and the Connecticut State Attorney General’s Office to take action and investigate the Legionnaires. No organization that cares for children and teens and enjoys nonprofit status should also be allowed to facilitate international child sex trafficking and cover up. The cult-like group has also been accused of financial misdeeds. It is time for law enforcement to use the power of the tried-and-true criminal justice system to stop these crimes.

The Legionnaires of Christ has had their American headquarters in Cheshire, CT, since the 1950s. It was founded by a priest who the Vatican admits molested up to 100 children. 

While acting as the second-in-command of the order, Fr. Garza traveled the world and forced the victims of the order’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, to take secret vows to never tell of their abuse. 

We fear there may be hundreds of victims of Legionnaire priests around the world—most of whom have been forced into vows of secrecy. Our children deserve full protection of our criminal justice system. We urge Mr. Jepsen to act now and keep our children safer from abuse.

(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 SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - Joelle Casteix of Orange County, volunteer western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434jcasteix@gmail.com), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)

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