SNAP Media Events
At an outdoor protest, survivors of child sexual abuse, including a man who was sexually abused by Catholic priest Msgr. Eugene Fanelli
What: At an outdoor protest, survivors of child sexual abuse, including a man who was sexually abused by Catholic priest Msgr. Eugene Fanelli, will:
- Signs and protestors demanding West New York City officials immediately remove a city-owned street sign that honors alleged child predator Msgr. Eugene Fanelli.
- Implore Cardinal Tobin and Archdiocese of Newark officials to remove the street sign and add Fanelli’s name to the Archdiocese’s List of Credibly Accused Clergy.
- Urge all survivors of child sexual abuse in New Jersey to take action under the New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill before November 30, 2021.
A survivor who was abused by Fanelli will also speak publicly and disclose:
- Both he and his father were sexually abused by Fanelli.
- A lawsuit was filed against the Archdiocese of Newark identifying Fanelli as an abuser.
New Clergy Sex Abuse and Cover up Lawsuit Filed in Archdiocese of Houston
“Once again, the church has put its reputation above the protection of children”
SNAP Calls for Immediate Action by Church Officials
Abusers’ names to be written on sidewalk
All are predator priests ‘under the radar’ here
One was convicted for trying to hire a hit man
But he, nor the others, are on diocese 'perp list’
Each is ‘credibly accused’ say bishops elsewhere
SNAP also reveals settlement vs. another cleric
He’s “the most dangerous KC clergy offender”
SNAP leaders call on the Archdiocese of San Antonio to update the abusive clergy list and to include Marianists priests who served San Antonio
WHAT: Holding signs at a news conference, survivors of clergy abuse and their supporters will identify the accused Marianist clergy members who have worked in this community, provide contact information for support for any new survivors coming forward, urging them to report any abuse to law enforcement first. SNAP calls out the archdiocese and St. Mary’s to be proactive in finding survivors who may need support.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 23, 2021. 12pm
WHERE: Outside the San Antonio Archdiocese headquarters, 2718 Woodlawn Ave, on the public sidewalk in front of the Archdiocese sign.
Victims blast St. Paul archbishop
They reveal names of 5 “still hidden” predators
Wife of serial predator speaks out for the 1st time
He has reportedly raped a girl & abused 44 women
Group also blasts church report on Fr. McDonough
And a victim of a serial Catholic composer speaks up
Pennsylvania Survivors and Advocates to urge Majority Leader Senator Kim Ward to run H.B. 951 on the floor for a full Senate vote.
(For Immediate Release May 7, 2021)
SNAP, CHILD USA, CHILD USAdvocacy, & The United Front – United Front Gathers Pennsylvania Survivors and Advocates to urge Majority Leader Senator Kim Ward to run H.B. 951 on the floor for a full Senate vote.
WHAT: SNAP, CHILD USA, CHILD USAdvocacy, and The United Front, alongside a group called ‘Survivors Taking the Steps,’ will hold a news conference in front of the Pennsylvania Capitol to;
- Urge Majority Leader Senator Kim Ward to bring H.B. 951, a statutory window, to the Senate floor for a vote, and
- Call on Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman to continue his support and encourage senate members to demand H.B. 951 be brought for a vote.
WHO: Pennsylvania Survivors and Advocates including the Fortney Family for Justice, SNAP Leader Mary McHale, SNAP Board Member Shaun Dougherty, CHILD USA Legal Director Alice Bohn, Esq., and SNAP Communications Manager Michael McDonnell.
WHEN: Monday, May 10th, 2021, 10 am
WHERE: On the main Capitol steps, 501 N. 3rd St Harrisburg, PA.
WHY: Justice for victims of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania is needed now. Survivors have long held the liability and it is time to shift the cost of abuse back to where it belongs: at the feet of the abuser and those who enabled them. Each day that legislators fail to act on H.B. 951, predators remain hidden and children remain at risk. Survivors deserve the right to the legal process for discovery and justice. At this press conference, survivors and advocates will explain why “enough is enough” and will gather to encourage other Pennsylvanians to join the fight for healing, justice, and accountability.
New pedophile priests are exposed
Five are not on Rockford’s ‘accused’ list
One was convicted but is still in a parish
Another reportedly admitted child sex crime
And church officials call 2 ‘credibly accused’
Victims urge cooperation with IL AG probe
They are not on diocese’s ‘credibly accused’ list
Group blasts Catholic officials for “abuse secrecy”
Victims ‘out’ 4 ‘credibly accused’ priests in NC
SNAP to bishop “List those who abuse vulnerable adults too”
And victims urge others to come forward before legal deadline
Gary Berthiaume, 79, who was accused of sexually assaulting three teenage boys in the 1970s, took pleas on Monday to a trio of charges and now likely faces as long as 15 years in prison. The Michigan Attorney General’s office said the former Catholic priest agreed to plead guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and also pleaded no contest to one count of gross indecency.
Berthiaume was originally charged last year with assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1977. In June, AG Dana Nessel’s office added two more charges after more victims came forward with accusations against the former priest. At the time of the assaults, Berthiaume worked as a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wyandotte and then later at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington.
A defrocked Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Robert Brennan, pleaded guilty today in federal court to four counts of making false statements to the FBI. The 84 year old former cleric now lives in Maryland. Brennan was arrested on these charges in September 2019.
SNAP’s Board President Shaun Dougherty and SNAP's Communications Manager Mike McDonnell were present in the courtroom in support of the McIlmail family. The McIlmails lost their son Sean just days before Brennan's preliminary hearing on charges that he sexually abused Sean as a child.
Brennan’s guilty plea came with an agreement that the former priest serve five years’ probation, two of which will be on home monitoring by federal officers. Judge Anita B. Brody set the sentencing date for March 2022.
Fr. Robert McWilliams was sentenced to life in prison on November 9, 2021, after being convicted of multiple sex crimes that involve children. The clergyman was arrested on Dec. 5, 2019, at St. Joseph in Strongsville, Ohio, where he was working at the time. Fr. McWilliam was also affiliated with St. Helen’s in Geauga County. The priest pleaded guilty in July to juvenile sex trafficking, as well as the production and distribution of sexually explicit images of minors. Fr. McWilliams was labeled by prosecutors as a "triple threat" and "sociopath."
In their sentencing memorandum, federal officials noted that the cleric was "a consumer of child pornography and an extortionist who violated the sacrament of confession to obtain the information he later used, under aliases, to seek the production of sexually explicit material from boys he was 'counseling.'” Additionally, prosecutors said Fr. McWilliams pretended to be a female on social media sites to contact underage male victims he knew from his parishes in Strongsville and Newbury Township.
In August 2018, on the heels of the scathing grand jury report on six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson took steps toward getting to the bottom of clergy abuse in his own state. We are grateful that the AG initiated this investigation and, more importantly, opened up a hotline so that survivors' voices could be heard. We hope that this example is followed by the attorneys general in the remaining states that have yet to open an investigation.
In the report issued today, AG Peterson reported that his office received 258 complaints of sexual abuse by clergy. However, in a sobering and disappointing fashion, it turned out that only one of those cases could be prosecuted, although the victim, in that case, decided to not move forward with charges.
Jacci van Alder, 60, now of Vermont, has made several attempts in the last two years to gain recognition and justice. In our view, each and every survivor who gives of their voice will help another survivor who is sitting in deafening silence. We are happy to share Jacci’s story with her consent to do so.
Like too many others, Alder alleges that she was groomed, gaslighted, beaten, psychologically tortured and sexually molested by the head of her church for more than 10 years. Unlike so many others, it also happened to be her own father. He allowed a teenage boy from the church to begin molesting her at age 4 when he babysat. She endured her father’s misogynistic and narcissistic control, alcoholism, womanizing, encounters with school-age girls, his addiction to porn, his open 10-year affair with his church secretary and the beatings. She got hit with belts, 2 x 4's, hands, fists, and finally attempted strangulation. “It all has to be told," says Alder.
A man who had been running a “religious mentorship institute” out of his home in McLean, Virginia, was arrested this week for sexually assaulting two children who took part in the program. This is a disturbing case that we hope will bring increased scrutiny from the government as to how such programs are licensed and monitored, and will make parents think carefully about the people with whom they trust their children.
Fr. Jean Claude Philippe was convicted last week of the sexual battery of a parishioner and faces up to 15 years in prison. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Carmen Cabarga will sentence the priest in the coming weeks. The jury verdict capped a week-long trial for Fr. Philippe, whose arrest was an embarrassing scandal for the Archdiocese of Miami, particularly after the victim testified that she initially told another priest, Fr. Silverio Rueda, about the attack and was told to keep quiet.
We are amazed by the survivor in this case not only for her resilience in the face of this vicious assault but also for her persistence in bringing the attack both to the attention of Catholic officials and then to the police. Her efforts have culminated in Fr. Philippe's conviction. We hope that Judge Cabarga, for the safety of the community, will impose the maximum sentence allowed under the Florida sentencing guidelines and get this dangerous man off of the streets.
Diocese of Wichita priest on administrative leave following an initial review of child sex abuse allegations
Fr. Michel Schemm, ordained in 1993, has been placed on administrative leave and restricted from ministerial duties. The Wichita Diocesan Review Board made these recommendations after an initial review of a child sex abuse report. Fr. Shemm had been working as a pastor at the Church of the Resurrection in Bel Aire. In a statement, the Diocese said that the allegations against the cleric were reported to law enforcement.
New lawsuit filed against South Bend Catholic high school, SNAP stands with and applauds the victims
A lawsuit was filed on October 29th against St. Joseph High School, the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, school administrators, and a former athletic coach. The three young women who are the plaintiffs in the case graduated from St. Joseph High school in 2018 and 2019. The complaint accuses former volleyball coach Justin Cochran of "sexual and inappropriate interactions and correspondence." The administrators named in the suit are cited for failing to appropriately respond to the girls’ outcries at the time of the misconduct.
The court filing describes in graphic detail the harm these brave girls suffered in high school both from the actions of Coach Cochran and from the inaction of school administrators. We loudly applaud the three young women for coming forward now and taking steps to lay the responsibility for their damages back where it belongs, at the feet of the accused, the administrators, and the Diocese responsible for monitoring the high school. We are so impressed by the girls' efforts to call adult attention to the problem while they were still in high school, despite persistent harassment and bullying. While it is never a cause for celebration to learn of sexual abuse in any form, we are very grateful to know that the young women's families supported them, and we want the girls to know that we stand with them as well.
Fr. James Jackson was charged on Saturday, October 30, with possessing and transferring child pornography. A Rhode Island State Police task force, Internet Crimes Against Children, executed a search warrant at St. Mary’s on Broadway, in Providence. Both the church and rectory were included in the warrant. State Police said that as part of a child pornography investigation, they discovered that the internet connection at the rectory at the parish was involved. Task Force members determined that Father Jackson was the owner of that media. The priest was arraigned by a Justice of the Peace and held after he failed to post bail.
By our count, Fr. Jackson is the 20th Catholic cleric or staffer arrested this year on criminal charges related to sexual abuse. We are seeing an average of two arrests per month. More importantly, SNAP statistics also reveal that there have been 350 clergy and laypersons charged with abuse since 2004. It certainly seems that a week does not go by without some disturbing news of offending Catholic clergy, brothers, nuns, or laity does not appear in our news feeds.