IL- Archdiocese puts accused priest back on the job, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, Founder and President of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, [email protected])

We are disappointed and surprised that Cardinal Francis George is putting Fr. Michael W. O’Connell back on the job despite an accusation that he sexually assaulted a boy in 1990. 

We have met this victim and find him very credible. And we've seen dozens of cases across the country in which Catholic officials have reinstated an accused child molesting cleric only to later oust him permanently.

It takes a great deal of courage and strength for child sex abuse victims to speak up. They often suffer in silence and self blame for decades. Accusations are rarely made lightly. We hope that others will not be discouraged by O’Connell’s reinstatement and that Catholic officials and parishioners will remain vigilant in reporting known or suspected crimes to secular authorities, not church figures.

Fr. O’Connell has worked in Lakeview, Orland Park and Lake Forest. 

We beg anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered crimes by O’Connell or any church employee to come forward and report to police. It is never too late to speak up.  

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003, [email protected])

Showing 3 comments

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Secured Via NationBuilder
  • John Servorum
    commented 2014-04-16 15:19:45 -0500
    From the Catholic League -
    “Now that both the Cook County sheriff’s police, and the Archdiocese of Chicago’s independent review board, concluded that the charge against Fr. O’Connell was unfounded, and the parish where he was pastor is delighted with the news, one might expect that everyone would be happy. Alas, not everyone is.
    Predictably, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) blasted the reinstatement of Fr. O’Connell yesterday. “We have met this victim and find him very credible.” Well, the cops and lawyers met the alleged victim, too, and were not impressed. Barbara Blaine, founder and president of SNAP, discredited herself once again when she had the gall to say, “It leaves children at risk” to have Fr. O’Connell back in ministry.
    SNAP has been exposed by the Catholic League as a fraud many times before. We sent people undercover to attend one of their public conferences, and we know first-hand how malicious and deceitful the organization is."
    As much as Barbara Blaine would like to see every accused priest found guilty whether he is guilty or not, accusation does not equal guilt.
  • Larry Polte
    commented 2014-04-16 08:40:08 -0500
    This should surprise no one. The Chicago Archdiocese has had the same policy for decades. If a clergy member is accused, just send him to another school/parish. They have no conscience when it comes to their members abusing children and the really pathetic thing is besides the bad press they get, they just don’t care………..
  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-04-15 13:43:13 -0500

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant