NY- Catholic abuse trainer caught with child porn; Victims respond

For immediate release: Thursday, May 22, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, [email protected])

A Catholic church official, who taught abuse prevention in the New York City archdiocese, is charged with child pornography. His alleged crimes have led to the arrest of 71 individuals on child sex charges. This raises concerns about the church's abuse programs and who runs them. 

Click here to read the story.

Catholic officials relentlessly brag about these abuse programs. But they are relatively new and untested with little or no independent evaluation. They were adopted by bishops who were pressured by their insurers and public relations staff. They were set up to try to trick parishioners into believing that “things are changing in the church.” And these programs miss the boat, because the church's horrific, on-going child sex abuse and cover up scandal was caused by – and is perpetuated by – the church hierarchy, not by church members.

Reckless, callous and self-serving bishops have put and still put kids in harm's way. So no amount of training of lay people can remedy a crisis that continues thanks to the men atop the church's rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy.

According to the New York Times, the investigation “began in Westchester County with the arrest of a police chief who was teaching classes about sexual abuse at a Roman Catholic church. Brian Fanelli, 54, who until January was the police chief of Mount Pleasant, N.Y. He was charged in federal court in White Plains with possession of child pornography, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Until October, Mr. Fanelli had been teaching children in religious classes at a Catholic church in Shrub Oak, N.Y., how to be alert to sexual abuse, covering topics like improper touching and the pitfalls of social media devices.”

We urge Catholic parishioners to remain vigilant. Despite decades of pledges, promises, programs and protocols, child sex crimes and cover-ups still happen in the church. Complacency protects no one. Only continued skepticism and vigilance protects kids. 

And we urge parishioners to join the effort to reform New York's archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations, which enables more sex offenders to commit more crimes. 

Finally, we urge Cardinal Timothy Dolan to spend less time bragging about untested abuse programs and more time improving them. 

(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 15,000 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) 

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])


Showing 4 comments

  • Michael Ference
    commented 2014-05-22 21:21:13 -0500
    The Roman Coward Church lives in a topsy-turby world where evil, somehow rises to the top all too often for the wrong reasons.
    June 1, 2010, Cardinal George appointed Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. to the board of the US Bishop’s conference that oversees celrgy sex abuse cases. Sadly, no background check was made of the Zappala Crime Family/Terrorist Group. Here’s some background information a friend dug up in her spare time on the Zappala’s. There’s much more, but this does a good job in explaining why Cardinal George wanted a little more mob-muscle behind the US Bishop’s Conference.

    Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone, and let he whose family hath been a sin-machine for generations, be banned from casting any stones. I’m talking about the Zappala’s. What does Mike Ference mean when he calls the Zappala’s a “Crime Family/Terrorist Group”. I am a genealogist, I can tell you, I have done my homework. And I have the documents to back up what I say.

    Let’s begin at the beginning, Frank Zappala was DA Stephen Zappala’s grand-father. Frank’s parents were immigrants from Calabria, who first settled in New York, the Bronx on Mott Street. Frank Zappala got a law degree, which was unusual at that time for an Italian Immigrant. Most Italian immigrants then had little or no education. Frank and his wife Josephhine settled in Oakland. The rest of his family were in New Kensington, a stronghold for the gangsters of that time.

    Frank’s had a sister Rose who married John Bazzano a major racketeer. Racketeer John Bazzano was the Uncle of Chief Justice Stephen Zappala. In 1932, John Bazzano got angry about the popular Volpe brothers infringing on his racketeering territory, so he had three of them killed in broad daylight on Wylie Avenue in the Hill-District section of Pittsburgh.

    Bazzano’s murder of the Volpe’s was not sanctioned by Lucky Luciano in New York. Bazzano was called to New York to answer for murdering without permission. Charles “Lucky” Luciano’s underboss Vito Genovese, a very brutal man had Albert Anastasia, whose side business was Murder Inc. whack John Bazzano brutally for misbehaving. And quite a Brutal Whacking it was. Bazzano came back to Pittsburgh with 22 stab wounds from ice picks, a dead pin cushion.

    It was also quiet a scandal in the day, both in New York and in Pittsburgh. Rose Zappala retreated to New Kensington with her children in tow, as well as her father Joseph. Eventually her son John Bazzano Jr. took up his father’s business. John Jr, married into the Ripepi Crime family. He married Frances Ripepi.

    One of her sisters married into the Valenti Crime family which included Constenzo, Stanley Valenti and Frank Valenti. It was Stanley who married the Ripepi girl, but it was Frank Valenti who was the man.. dapper, charming, good looking and deadly. Stanley and Frank due to their marriages were into both the Pittsburgh and Rochester New York Rackets.

    One of Franks favorite schemes was to blow up a building on one side of Rochester while he was committing a crime on the other side of town. At the time, these bombings got blamed on the Vietnam Hippie Protesters. Frank let them take the rap. Frank lived a long life and died in Houston Tx in 2008.

    In Western Pennsylvania at this time the Western PA crime family was the LaRocca Family. There were about 8 or 9 chief families under the LaRoccas. Of those the Zappala’s are closely related to at least three.

    How do the Zappala’s factor into all of this? They were the lawyers in the family. All I can say here is that when I read about other crime organizations that span this time frame, there is always what they called an Ambassador of the Underworld, who bridged the underworld to the upper-world. The job of these ambassadors was to grease the way of illegitimate business to legitimate business, and provided protection.

    For instance when you read of Frank Valenti crimes in Rochester it usually says that the powers in Pittsburgh got him off the hook. Let’s’ take it a step further, DA Zappala’s law partner was Charles Porter, he is Chuckie Porter’s son. Chuckie Porter was huge in the Pittsburgh rackets working with Michael Genovese as his underboss. Michael was the nephew of Vito Genovese in New York who was mentioned above.
    Chuckie Porter was also one of the biggest cocaine distributors around. That is a lot of “Family”. It is way too much to all be a coincidence.

    Why is this kept quiet? Well let me put it this way, many people know about this, Italians know, people in power know, the average person who votes does not know though. They have a right to know. If all of this were made public, it would kill a political career. It is UN-survivable.

    If there was nothing here to hide, why are the Zappala’s hiding it? The bigger question is, how on God’s Green earth, do people who climbed their way to the top this way deserve to sit in judgment of anybody.

    And why is it not being pointed out that DA Stephen Zappala, through his witch hunt, show trials, which destroy peoples’ lives and the fabric of our community, is acting just like his Chief Justice father did, when he wanted to get his political opponent Judge Larsen out of the way.

    These political assassinations are no different at all, except in method, than racketeer John Bazzano whacking the Volpe Brothers in broad daylight on Wylie Avenue, because they were doing business on his “turf”, which threatened his business interests. I say, the next time the Zappala’s run for office, “out” their family tree to the public and let the public decide.
  • Jonathan Hinck
    commented 2014-05-22 17:06:17 -0500
    Matthew 23.23: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach…"
  • James LeBoeuf
    commented 2014-05-22 10:34:20 -0500
    this is a metaphor for the entire duplistic institution; they (the clergy) do good in public as a means to produce income, and they do evil in secret as a means to maintain power -
  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-05-22 10:11:00 -0500

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