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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters


Letters to St. Louis Archbishop


Oct. 15, 2004

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
Diocese of St. Louis


Dear Archbishop Burke:

I'm appealing to you, directly and honestly and personally, to sit down and meet with my son and me.

From news accounts, you know the basics, I'm sure. Fr. Mark Roberts, the man who was accused of molesting 11 boys, pled guilty to molesting five of them, and now lives just 20 miles away from me and my son.

He is staying at a church-affiliated housing facility that is run by a priest. It has no locked gates, no guards, no barbed wire fence, no security, no ankle bracelets -- none of the measures that might help keep kids away from a child molester.

You cannot imagine how difficult this has been for our family. My son moved here specifically to get away from Fr. Roberts. He has gotten a job. He goes to therapy. He has started college. He's doing, in other words, everything he should to put this terrible chapter of his life behind him and move on.

But that's almost impossible to do when his perpetrator is right down the road.

I've heard and read the excuses. He's not your priest, he belongs to the Las Vegas bishop. It's not your pedopohile priest center, it's run by a separate board. A judge sent him here, you weren't notified.

All of this may be true. But it's not relevant. As archbishop, you're in charge of everything in this archdiocese, period.

But with all due respect, Archbishop, there's no excuse for not sitting down with us face-to-face. I wish you had taken the initiative to do this. I wish we'd have gotten a card or a phone call, from you or from even one of the dozens of people who work for you. But we haven't. And we're desperate. So we're asking you politely to meet together.

I have to belief that if you hear what my son has endured, you will do the right thing and make Fr. Roberts move.

I have to protect my son's privacy, so if you want to contact me, please do so through Barbara Dorris of SNAP (862 7688).

Thank you.


Oct. 15, 2004

Dear Archbishop Burke:

Time and time again, since the US Bishops Conference meeting in Dallas in 2002, you and your brother bishops have pledged to be more open and transparent regarding the sexual abuse crisis.

There is no better place to start than right here. There is no better time to begin than right now. And there is no more crucial subject to address than the church-run centers that have brought and continue to bring dozens of known and suspected abusive clerics into our area from across the country.

As you know, there are at least two such facilities in your archdiocese -- RECON in Franklin County and Vianney Renewal Center in Jefferson County. While not owned by the archdiocese, they could not function here without your approval. Ultimately, you will of course be held responsible the next time one of these abusers hurts another child in this area.

And that will eventually happen. We say this because it has happened in the past and because common sense tells us that church-run centers with inadequate security cannot effectively contain and monitor, 24/7, men who are compulsively attracted to kids.

After being sent here for "treatment," at least two priests - Father Ken Roberts and Father Romano Ferraro - molested St. Louis area Catholics. We strongly suspect that there have been others.

Father Ken Roberts and Father Romano Ferraro both face civil lawsuits currently. Romano was sentenced recently to life imprisonment in Massachusetts for his crimes. We will probably never know how many lives they have ruined, in this area and elsewhere.

Archbishop Burke, these centers have operated here secretly for years. Catholics and non-Catholics deserve some honesty about them and the risks they pose.

We beg you to live up to your promises and schedule open public meetings at which parents can seek answers about these facilities.

Thank you.

David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143
314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915

Barbara Dorris
Outreach Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster
St. Louis MO 63130
862 7688


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests