Catholic priest accused of child sexual abuse in the Rockville Centre Diocese steps down from active ministry; SNAP credits the Child Victims Act
Fr. Paul Butler, a parochial vicar for St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Selden, has "voluntarily stepped away from ministry" in the wake of an allegation he sexually abused a child in the 1980s while he was a seminarian. The accusations were made in a lawsuit recently filed under New York's Child Victims Act.
To us, this demonstrates that the window legislation opened in New York for survivors who have been time-barred by the civil statute is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. That is, create a pathway to justice for victims and expose those who may be a danger to today's children.
By our count, this marks the 72nd Catholic priest accused this year in the United States. The numbers are rising in part because of legislation that opens "windows to justice," as well as secular investigations by state attorneys general.
There are only 9 days left until the window opened by the Child Victims Act ends in New York State. We hope every single person who has information or suspicions about Fr. Butler – or any cleric, nun, brother, seminarian or lay employee or volunteer within the state of New York – will find the courage to call law enforcement and seek counsel immediately. That is absolutely the best way to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, and expose the truth.
A fourth conviction and the harshest sentence in Michigan AG's clergy abuse investigation; SNAP is grateful to the AG's team and to the survivors for this result
Joseph (Josef) Compericho, a former music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson, MI, was sentenced to 12-30 years in prison today. He must also register as a sex offender. This is the fourth conviction and the harshest sentence handed down so far in the Michigan Attorney General's investigation into clergy abuse.
We echo and applaud the statement from Michigan’s AG, Dana Nessel, on this outcome."The dedication of our clergy abuse team – and the willingness of brave survivors to tell their stories – ensured justice was served against Mr. Comperchio. Let this prison sentence be a reminder that we are here to listen to victims of abuse and pursue accountability on their behalf.
SNAP applauds as the first lawsuits are filed under a new Louisiana law giving survivors of child sexual abuse a pathway to the justice they deserve
HB 492 only went into effect on August 1, 2021, and already two men sexually abused as children have taken advantage of this “window to justice.” We hope that others will also seize this opportunity to hold those who abuse boys and girls, as well as those who enable that abuse, accountable.
One of the lawsuits was filed in federal court against the Brothers of the Holy Cross Schools by John Lousteau, who says he was sexually abused by a clergy member employed at the school when John was in residence there. The complaint says that John attempted to obtain restitution from the order last year, but after telling him that they believed him, the Brothers ignored him, betraying John a second time.
Ryan Barry, a husband, and father living now in Pennsylvania, made the details of the abuse he suffered very public in an interview with Staten Island Live news outlet. Ryan accuses Fr. James Garisto of abuse that began when Ryan was a teenager in the 1990s. The clergyman was at the time a pastor, teacher, and school official at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School.
Last week Bishop Howard Hubbard, who headed the Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York, from 1977-2014, answered questions through his attorney for The Times Union newspaper. The Bishop told the paper that “When an allegation of sexual misconduct against a priest was received in the 1970s and 1980s, the common practice in the Albany diocese and elsewhere was to remove the priest from ministry temporarily and send him for counseling and treatment. Only when a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist determined the priest was capable of returning to ministry without reoffending did we consider placing the priest back in ministry. The professional advice we received was well-intended but flawed, and I deeply regret that we followed it.”
For decades, hundreds of proven predator priests have been sent – and continue to be sent - to the controversial, secretive Catholic center outside St. Louis where ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick now lives.
Iowa State Senator Janet Petersen sees the need to expose "hidden predators;" SNAP joins in her call to action
Janet Petersen, a state senator in Iowa, has been pushing for a retroactive "window to justice" that would allow victims of child sex abuse who have been time-barred to have the courtroom doors open to them. More importantly, this reform would also benefit communities across the state by revealing both "hidden predators" and those who enabled them. Her proposal passed through the judiciary committee in the last session but never arrived on the Senate floor for debate.
A Catholic priest who later parlayed his position into a career in politics has been accused of sexually abusing a child while holding bible study sessions at a Bronx church. This type of story demonstrates the importance of ensuring abusers and enablers are identified because the career trajectory of these men can allow them to go on to hurt others.
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been criminally charged with sexually abusing a child; SNAP reacts.
Wellesley Massachusetts Police Detective Christopher Connelly today filed charges against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, making him the high-ranking Catholic official to face criminal charges for sexually abusing a child here in the United States.
The brave victim, who does not wish to disclose his identity, told authorities he was sexually assaulted by McCarrick during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in the 1970s. McCarrick has been summoned to appear for an arraignment in late August.
According to a new lawsuit, a wealthy donor from the Archdiocese of New Orleans attempted to use their vast resources to compel a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to stay silent, hoping to protect the reputation of the Church and the accused. This is a stunning example of how, even in 2021, people will still choose to rally around an abuser they know and like instead of a victim they do not.