SNAP Press Conference Tomorrow, 4/14 at 9 AM
SNAP begs witnesses & whistleblowers to ‘speak up’
Just-arrested priest faces hearing on abuse charges
SNAP pushes local university to post names of abusers on its website
WHAT: Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
- beg church officials to launch “a broad and aggressive outreach effort” to “find others who saw, suspected or suffered” abuse by a just-arrested priest,
- urge a local Catholic college to post names of ALL current and former credibly accused priests and staff on their diocesan website, and
- include details like their work histories, whereabouts and photos
WHO: Two – three victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a St. Louis woman who is the organization's long time Midwest director
WHEN: Wednesday, April 14th directly after the 9AM court hearing
WHERE: On the sidewalk outside the Jefferson County Courthouse, 301 Market St,(corner of N. Court St.) in Steubenville OH
1.) Last week, a campus minister at Franciscan University in Steubenville been indicted on charges of rape and sexual battery. Now, SNAP wants Catholic officials – especially Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey Montforton and Franciscan U. President Father Dave Pivonk – to use mailings, websites, parish bulletins and pulpit announcements to seek others with knowledge or suspicions of wrongdoing by Fr. David Morrier.
“All too often, accused priests get top notch defense lawyers and exploit technicalities and get off with no conviction or short sentences,” said Judy Jones of SNAP. “For centuries, the Catholic hierarchy has built, maintained and benefitted from a culture of silence in the church about abuse. Now, they must reverse course and actively prod current and former church staff and members to call law enforcement if the church is to be safer for all.”
In a particularly galling release when Fr. Morrier was arrested, church officials from the Diocese of Steubenville tried to distance themselves by saying he was “not a priest in the diocese.” This kind of hairsplitting does nothing to help and only further demonstrates that church officials care more about protecting their reputations than they do preventing abuse and ensuring justice for victims.
“It does not matter that Fr. David Morrier was not incardinated into the Diocese of Steubenville, what matters is he worked within their borders and allegedly preyed on at least one person who was a Steubenville catholic,” said SNAP director Zach Hiner. “Instead of splitting hairs, those who are charged with protecting the flock must take real steps to help police and prosecutors make sure Fr. Morrier is kept away from vulnerable kids and adults.”
Fr. Morrier faces a court hearing on Wednesday at 9-AM
2.) In April 2019, the head of Franciscan University in Steubenville released the names of several priests and staff who were ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse. Those names, however, are NOT on the school’s website.
“To protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and honor church officials’ repeated pledges to be ‘open and transparent’ about abuse, Franciscan University should permanently and prominently post these names on their website, along with their photos, whereabouts and work histories,” said Jones.
CONTACT: Judy Jones, SNAP Steubenville ([email protected], 314-974-5003), Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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