OH--Columbus predator priest passes; Victims respond

For immediate release: Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790314 645 5915 home, [email protected])

Kids are safer now because a Columbus predator priest has passed away.  We hope this news will bring some comfort to those he assaulted.


We are relieved that Fr. Ronald J. Atwood cannot hurt anyone else. We hope his passing will enable others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Atwood or cover ups by his colleagues and supervisors to step forward.

Even though Fr. Atwood can’t be criminally charged, it’s possible that others who ignored or concealed his crimes might be prosecuted. So we urge current and former church members and staff to share whatever knowledge or suspicions they might have about Fr. Atwood or his colleague with law enforcement immediately.

We hope anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered, Fr. Atwood’s crimes, or cover ups by his church colleagues or supervisors, will call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.

We hope that Bishop Frederick Campbell will personally visit each parish where Fr. Atwood worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to speak up. We also hope he’ll do the same at any place where a recently-outed Pennsylvania predator priest, Msgr. Harold J. Burkhart worked. (That predator, Msgr. Harold J. Burkhart, spent a quarter century in Columbus but has virtually never been “outed” in the Columbus area.)


Fr. Atwood worked at seven places in Columbus and one in Johnstown.

No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected])


Columbus priest accused of sexual abuse dies of cancer

By JoAnne Viviano - The Columbus Dispatch - Tuesday April 26, 2016

A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a minor when he worked at a Columbus school and two parishes in the 1970s has died, according to a spokesman for the Diocese of Columbus.

George Jones said that the Rev. Ronald Atwood, 72, died on Sunday. He had cancer.

Atwood was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Frederick Campbell in July 2013, a day after  . . . 

Read full article here

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