MO Attorney General Prodded to Release Report on Sexual Abuse in the Church
Church abuse probe passes six month mark
SNAP: MO attorney general is moving too slowly
Group wants a preliminary report like the Illinois one
It also warns that a serial predator priest may be paroled
Self help organization wants archbishop to ‘sound the alarm’
On the six month anniversary of the Missouri Attorney General’s (AG) probe into clergy sex abuse, victims and their supporters will prod the AG to
---give a ‘preliminary report on his work (like the IL AG did),
---push bishops to post accused clerics’ names (like the IL AG did),
---sit down with experts who are knowledgeable about the abuse crisis and
---work harder to bring victims, witnesses and whistleblowers forward, using his bully pulpit and public service announcements.
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, they will also:
--disclose that a notorious predator priest, who molested in St. Louis, is up for parole,
--beg his victims and their families to write authorities urging he be kept locked up, and
--urge St. Louis Catholic officials to tell their flock about the upcoming parole hearing
Tuesday, March 26 at 1:45 p.m
On the sidewalk outside the AG’s office/Wainwright Bldg. in St. Louis at 111 N. 7th St
Four-five members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s former long time director
1) At the six month mark of a her clergy sex abuse and cover up probe, then-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan released a preliminary report.
SNAP wants MO Attorney General Eric Schmitt to do the same
IL AG Madigan’s report revealed that
--More than 500 accused priests’ names are still being hidden from the public and
--Church officials find only one in five abuse reports “credible.”
SNAP wants MO AG Schmitt to reveal similar statistics for Missouri as Illinois. IL AG Madigan also successfully prodded all eight Illinois bishops to post 185 accused priests’ names on church websites.
Only two of Missouri’s four bishops have done this, and they are in the state’s two smallest dioceses: Jefferson City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau).
For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, SNAP wants MO AG Schmitt to push for similar disclosures. The group also wants Schmitt to consult and meet with ten experts the group recommends. The list will be provided at the news conference.
Finally, SNAP wants Schmitt to list its group, and other similar organizations, on his website under “resources” for clergy abuse victims, and to work harder to nudge victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step forward and call both his office and local law enforcement.
2) A defrocked serial predator priest who worked in eight dioceses and reportedly molested in at least four of them – including St. Louis - is up for parole next month. Tuesday is the deadline to write authorities and oppose his release. One of his victims, at St. Joan of Arc parish in south city, committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and small kids.
Fr. Romano J. Ferraro's parole hearing is on April 9 at the Massachusetts Parole Board Central Office in Natick, MA. Letters should be sent to Victims' Services Coordinator Michelle Beatty at [email protected]
He was convicted in 2004 of child rape, indecent assault and battery against a child under 14. According to BishopAccountability.org, Ferraro repeatedly raped a boy in 1973-80 in Billerica MA, starting when the boy was seven years old. He was a childhood friend of the boy's father and molested the child during annual Christmas visits. Ferraro denied the charge but admitted at the trial that he was a pedophile predator who had abused perhaps dozens of boys. He also said that he knew he was a pedophile by 1955, five years before his ordination.
Later in 2004, Ferraro was sentenced to life in prison. SNAP is also urging Catholic officials in each state where Ferraro worked to notify their flock of the upcoming parole hearing.
The earliest abuse allegations against Ferraro came in civil suits in 1964-68 but previous assignments suggest earlier problems. Then he was in Key West FL as Navy chaplain 1968-71 in the Miami archdiocese; was dishonorably discharged; and was sued in 2006 for abuse in Florida. Reassigned, he allegedly abused in the Brooklyn, Rockville Centre, St. Louis, and Metuchen dioceses.
Among those who represented Ferraro’s victims are attorneys Ken Chackes of St. Louis (314 872 8420) and Patrick Noaker of Minneapolis (612 349 2735)
David Clohessy, St. Louis volunteer SNAP leader, 314 443 5915 OR 314 566 9790, [email protected], Tim Lennon, 415 312 5820, [email protected]