PA- In widening scandal, victims want more abuse outreach

In widening scandal, victims want more abuse outreach

Eight child molesting clerics are “outed” in just 5 weeks

SNAP: “Bishop should write ALL parochial school alums”

Group also wants officials to post predators' work histories

Zubik should also “personally visit every place where they worked,” victims say

Holding childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy abuse victims and advocates will react to a growing scandal involving at least eight recently exposed child molesting clerics. They will also prod Pittsburgh's Catholic bishop to;

--send letters to all alums of all local parochial schools, begging others who were molested by clerics to come forward, and 
--aggressively use his other resources (church websites, parish bulletins, pulpit announcements and personal visits) to prod victims to speak up, and
–explain why he has let religious orders hide names and whereabouts of child molesting clerics.

Thursday, May 15 at 1:30pm.

Outside of the Pittsburgh diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 111 Boulevard of the Allies (corner of Stanwix) in Pittsburgh, PA

Two-three members of a self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (
(Including St Louis SNAP Midwest Director)

In a burgeoning scandal, over the last five weeks (April 3 - May 14), eight Catholic clerics who worked at North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh have been publicly exposed – for the first time - as credibly accused child molesters.

They are Brother Bernard Hartman, Brother James Kline, Brother Joseph Binder, Brother Julius May, Brother William Charles Hildenbrand, Brother Francis Meder, Brother Ralph August Mravintz and Brother John Keegan.

Since all of them worked at a parochial school, SNAP wants Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik to write letters to alums of all current and closed parochial schools, urging others who were molested to speak up.

One of the accused (Hartman) faces criminal charges in Australia.  Another one (Mravintz) was convicted of child sex crimes in 1986 in Pittsburgh.

Three of the accused (Kline, Binder, and May) were publicly exposed yesterday for the first time.

SNAP believes that “there may well be several or even many - Pittsburgh area child molesting clerics who have yet to be publicly exposed. SNAP urges Bishop Zubik and other local Catholic officials to “go beyond the bare minimum and aggressively use their resources (pulpits, websites, bulletins etc.) to beg those who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to speak up.”

SNAP says it's “irresponsible for Catholic officials to passively sit back and wait for the phone to ring.” Zubik should “personally visit every single parish where a proven, admitted and credibly accused priest, nun, seminarian or church employee worked, emphatically begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors,” they say The “usual church response” of “small, terse, carefully crafted three sentence notices tucked far back in a diocesan newspaper or parish bulletin don't cut it,” said SNAP director David Clohessy of St. Louis.

In particular, SNAP says, Zubik should focus in the short term on finding those who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Hartman who faces pending criminal child sex charges in Australia. “Prompt, responsible action by Zubik might well protect kids right away by getting Hartman behind bars,” Clohessy stressed.

This cascade of revelations began after SNAP prodded Zubik (on March 24) to seek out others who were hurt by Hartman.

Hartman, like the other seven accused clerics, belongs to a St. Louis-based religious order called the Marianists. In response to SNAP's plea, Pittsburgh diocesan officials sent the first of two letters to North Catholic High School alums.

Most clerics belong to dioceses. But many belong to religious orders like the Marianists. And religious orders are “even more secretive” about clergy sex crimes than dioceses are, SNAP says.

Many diocesan church officials “split hairs and dodge responsibility” in religious order abuse cases, SNAP maintains. But that's irresponsible because “religious order clerics work in a diocese only with the bishop's permission, so ultimately, the bishop is responsible for all clergy sex crimes in his jurisdiction,” Clohessy says.

According to the Pittsburgh bishop's website, at least ten religious orders work or have worked in the diocese: Benedictine Monks, Brothers of the Christian Schools, District of Eastern North America, Capuchin Friars, Province of Saint Augustine, Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Province of the United States (Spiritans), Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, Congregations of the Passion (Passionists), Franciscan Friars, Province of Saint John the Baptist, Franciscan Friars, Province of the Immaculate Conception, Franciscan Friars, Third Order Regular of Saint Francis, Society of the Brother Servants of the Holy Spirit, Society of the Divine Word.

SNAP leaders do not believe two recent claims by Pittsburgh Catholic officials - that they only recently learned about Hartman's trial and that they had no information about Mravintz's arrest and conviction in the 1980s. The group also does not believe Fr. Martin Solma, head of the Marianists, who claims his order “had no knowledge of any alleged abuse” in Pittsburgh until recently.

SNAP applauds these “brave victims for stepping forward” and “begs them to contact secular authorities, not church figures.”


Judy Block Jones (314-974-5003, [email protected]), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Fran Samber (717-514-9660, [email protected])


SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant