MN- New records show decades of deceit; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Monday, August 11, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,

One bishop writes another bishop about an accused cleric who abused three girls and several women and even “mentioned a threat about possibly burning down the house” or “have your husband murdered.”

Yet the bishops keep it all secret and let the accused cleric stay on the job for another 25+ years.

That's what newly disclosed, long secret St. Paul Catholic Archdiocese records show.

Then-Bishop Robert Carlson wrote an incriminating memo to then-Archbishop Harry Flynn that detailed Fr. Kenneth LaVan's abuse of women and girls. But Carlson or Flynn aren't responding to these disturbing revelations. Instead, Archbishop John Nienstedt trots out a spokesman who claims church officials would have handled the case differently these days. Frankly, we don't believe that. And we find that insulting. Where's the outrage? Where's a single Catholic church employee who has the courage to say “I'm disgusted that Carlson would urge Flynn to lie and that Flynn took this advice and that LaVan was able to spend another quarter century on the church payroll around unsuspecting families.”

Carlson also admits in one memo that he did “not confront” Fr. LaVan about “the financial misdealing or the other girlfriends as he readily admitted.”

Other phrases in just that one Carlson memo are illustrative:

“the lavish ways that Father LaVan would retain . . .his woman lovers”

“from the very beginning, there were sexual overtones to Father LaVan's conversation with her”

“it sounds like Father LaVan has a real sexual addiction problem”

“He apparently also is doing a lot of gambling and a fair amount of drinking.”

When will it ever end? When powerful, dishonest prelates like Flynn, Carlson and others are punished, both by church officials and secular authorities. And not until then.

(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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,

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