Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Br. Paul West, SNAP Responds

A Franciscan brother who was the subject of a major AP News investigation for his abuse of three young boys in Mississippi has been served a federal lawsuit. The case against Br. Paul West was filed in the United States District Court in Southern New York.

As a survivor and an advocate I am encouraged by this case being filed federally because of the interstate transport of the victims when they were small children. These brave men were denied the opportunity to have a normal healthy childhood by Br. West. They were further harmed after coming forward as adults by the Church leadership.

I am hopeful they can receive justice and reach some closure to a lifetime of fear, doubt and shame. They deserve to be heard and understood as to the magnitude of injustice they have endured. As the local leader for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in Mississippi I will stand with them as they go forward.

It is well documented that the Diocese of Jackson and the Franciscan Order knew of Paul West and his criminal behavior but did nothing to stop him from teaching 5th graders in WI for 11 more years after they discovered his crimes. We are still hopeful that the arrest of Paul West will come soon, and that those who enabled his actions and put more children at risk will be held responsible, too.

CONTACT: Mark Belenchia, SNAP Mississippi (msbelenchia@gmail.com, 601-953-2535), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

 


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