KS- Predator priest dies; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 5, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
A notorious Wichita serial predator priest, Fr. Robert K. Larson passed away on Aug. 27. Catholic officials kept this secret, however, until yesterday.
We're sad that Wichita's bishop hid Larson's passing until it was convenient for him to release it. We hope Larson's death will provide some comfort to the hundreds who were hurt by his crimes against at least 17 children.
Crimes by Larson and cover ups by his Catholic supervisors attracted national attention in 2002. We are grateful and will always be grateful to the courageous victims who helped expose, prosecute and convict Larson. Our hearts ache for them and their families, especially the Pattersons, who worked tirelessly to protect other children and comfort other victims from coast to coast.
Wichita's bishop should personally visit every parish where Larson worked and beg his flock to help him find and console every single child who was assaulted by this admitted criminal. We are sure the bishop will issue a statement expressing “sadness.” But that's a public relations move, not a pastoral one. A truly compassionate shepherd would aggressively reach out to those in pain using every means possible, not just a terse, conveniently timed press release.
We urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Larson – or other Wichita clerics, Catholic or Protestant – to get help, seek justice and start healing. No one benefits when victims stay silent.
(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 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)