GA--SNAP: Church staff should “protect kids by publicizing new legal option”

Victims to leaflet mass attendees

They want predator priests’ names

About 20 US bishops have posted them

But no Georgia Catholic official has done so yet

Group also says new law enables victims to file abuse cases

SNAP: Church staff should “protect kids by publicizing new legal option”


As Catholics enter and leave mass, sex abuse victims will hand leaflets to them. The fliers ask parishioners to urge Savannah’s bishop:
--permanently post on church websites the names of all predator priests who have worked or lived – or now work or live – in the diocese, and 
--spread the word about a new Georgia law that makes kids safer by enabling child sex abuse victims to file civil lawsuits against “those who commit or conceal sexual violence.”

They will also prod “anyone who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups” in any institution to “speak up, expose wrongdoers and protect kids” by calling secular authorities “like police, prosecutors” or “independent sources of help like therapists and support groups,” not church officials.


Sunday, January 24 at noon 


In Savannah, outside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 222 East Harris Street (between Lincoln & Abercorn)


Two adults who were sexually abused as children and are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director


1….Last week, the Seattle Catholic archdiocese released a list of 77 child molesting clerics who worked there.

More than 30 US bishops have done this.

“It’s the quickest, easiest way to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about predator priests,” says SNAP director David Clohessy. “And it’s the very least Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer (912 201 4100 or 4051 or 4112) and other church officials should do to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose the truth.”

2….Last year, Georgia lawmakers opened an unusual “window” giving potentially hundreds of child sex abuse victims the chance to expose their predators in court. SNAP wants Hartmayer to publicize this law – in church bulletins and pulpit announcements - so more molesters can be caught and kept away from kids.

Only a handful of states (California, Delaware, Hawaii and Minnesota) have adopted a measure like this, which gives almost anyone who was abused as a child by anyone the chance to file a civil suit no matter when the alleged crimes took place. Victims’ advocates applaud the law, saying it protects kids by making public the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesters, most of who still walk free and work or live among unsuspecting families, neighbors and co-workers.

Until now, SNAP says, an “archaic and predator-friendly” statute of limitations has enabled most adults who commit or conceal child sex crimes to escape detection. The group calls the “window” the “best, cheapest, quickest and safest way to safeguard kids and prevent crimes by exposing predators.”
The “window” closes in July 2017 and covers victims up to age 53 who have not previously sued.
The two most notorious Savannah predator priests are Fr. Robert Poandl and Fr. Wayland Y. Brown:
---Last year, Fr. Poandl lost an appeal to have his 2013 child sex abuse conviction reversed. In 2014, he was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for molesting a boy. Starting in 1979, he worked off and on for years at towns in the Savannah diocese, including Cleveland, Blairsville Dahlonega, Claxton, Glenville, Pembroke and Sandhill, as recently as 2012, when he was indicted by a federal grand jury. (He also worked in Atlanta, New Orleans, Jackson MS, Owensboro KY, Tyler TX, and Tulsa OK.)
---Last year, Fr. Brown was sued for sexually abusing a Savannah child. In 2003, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing two brothers in the early 1970s. He has been released from prison. From 1977 until 2003, he worked in Catholic facilities in Savannah, Moultrie, Augusta, Camilla and Isle of Hope, all in the Savannah diocese. (He also worked in two Maryland towns: Gaithersburg and Silver Spring). 
Photos of Fr. Brown and Fr. Poandl are available at
Bishop Hartmayer’s public relations staff includes Barbara King, Katie Walker-Mai, Sarah E. Dixon, Krystal N. Oblinger and Michael J. Johnson.

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