IN--Accused Notre Dame predator priest commits suicide; Victims respond

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 14, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790314 645 5915 home, [email protected])

An accused predator priest, who was allowed to keep working for months despite being named in a lawsuit as an abuser, has taken his own life.

It’s tragic whenever anyone commits suicide. We grieve for Fr. Elizondo’s family. But we grieve even more for his victim or victims.  (He was a Notre Dame professor for five years.)

We urge Fr. Elizondo’s supporters to show restraint and sensitivity. It will be tempting to publicly profess his innocence. But that’s callous and hurtful and will only deter other victims of sexual violence to remain trapped in silence, shame and self-blame.

We as adults face a simple choice. We can either make it easier for child sex abuse victims to come forward, or harder. Publicly rallying around Fr. Elizondo makes it harder. It makes the church more dangerous.

And we again urge Catholic officials to honor their “zero tolerance” and “one strike” pledges. After the lawsuit against Fr. Elizondo was filed, he should have been suspended pending an investigation. That did not happen. That is yet another reckless betrayal by Catholic officials.

Finally, we must, as a society, understand and accept the fact that most child predators are just like Fr. Elizondo: charming, charismatic, warm, outgoing and loveable. If they weren’t, no child would want to be near them and no parent would trust their child near them. The notion that child molesters are obvious creeps and social misfits is just wrong. Worse, it’s dangerous.

(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, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected])

Showing 2 comments

  • Nelda Persaud
    commented 2016-03-17 08:20:02 -0500
    i personally remember shaking this mans hand after mass i am so stunned and very hard for me to believe what I’ve heard I’ve returned to the Catholic faith and I’m having a hard time finding out about all this abuse but what angers me more than anything is the higher ups bishops cardinals and archbishops cover this things if these higher ups cover it up then In my opinion they are just as guilty as the ones committing these acts i don’t care about how the church is going to look these things need to be brought to the fore front and not sweep it under the rug so disappointed😥
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