NY--Victims blast Manhattan friars for tolerating assaults

For immediate release: Monday, March 2

Statement by Mary Caplan of New York City, SNAP Leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (917 439 4187, mcaplan682@aol.com)

Three women have been “repeatedly manhandled for three years by a leering, oversexed co-worker” while three Catholic priests did little or nothing to stop the assaults, according to court papers and the NY Post.


Shame on Franciscan Friars John McVean, John Felice and Tom Walters, who allegedly ignored and tolerated intolerable assaults on underlings by Gyasi Bramos-Hantman at St. Francis Friends of the Poor in Manhattan.

It’s very hard to expose wrongdoing in Catholic institutions. They’re often oppressive work places, because the church is a rigid, secretive, largely-male monarchy that exploits ‘religious freedom’ laws to shield itself from scrutiny and keep employees largely powerless. They’re often hard to sue, because Catholic officials spend liberally on top-notch, aggressive defense lawyers who use scorched-earth legal tactics to discredit and attack victims, witnesses and whistleblowers.

So we applaud employees Donna Graves and Ann O’Leary and Maria Colon for their incredible courage, especially because these clerics allegedly “ruled with an iron fist and fostered a culture of intimidation.”

Those who see, suspect and suffer clergy sex crimes, misdeeds and cover ups must somehow find the strength these women have found and speak up. Only when church staff and members summon the bravery to expose wrongdoing will Catholic institutions become more safe and healthy.

We call on New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan to show leadership and publicly denounce these Franciscans and beg others who have knowledge of or suspicions about their irresponsible actions and inaction to step forward, get help, prevent assaults, deter cover ups and start healing.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy 314-566-9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org, Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org   

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