Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letter

Letter to Connecticut Department of Public Health

April 21, 2011

Dr. Jewel Mullen, Commissioner
Connecticut Department of Public Health
410 Capitol Ave.
MS#12DAC Hartford, CT 06134-0308

Ms. Debra Johnson CT Dept. of Health

Dear Dr. Mullen and Ms. Johnson:

We represent two groups that care about child sex abuse victims. One is a Catholic reform group called VOTF. The other is a victims' support group called SNAP. Our goal is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. We need your help regarding Fr. Richard P. McGann, a suspended and credibly accused child molesting priest.

We're told by at least six sources (with whom we've been in touch repeatedly in recent weeks), that McGann lives at facility a licensed by your agency: the Pumpkin Patch Day Care Center at 31 Root Ave. in Bristol CT. It's run by Debra Zakrzewski).

We KNOW, from a 2002 bankruptcy filing, that Zakrzewski
-- lists McGann as a co-owner on a 1991 Gulfstream Motor Home and
-- claims $269 a week income for cleaning services at a church.

We have been TOLD that this church was McGann's parish.

We KNOW that McGann's employer, the Hartford Catholic archdiocese, has
--suspended him,
-- made no public announcement of the suspension at the time,
-- won't say why they ousted him, but
-- has a serious need for priests so only suspends clerics when facing serious allegations,
-- paid a substantial settlement to a man who accused McGann of molesting him roughly 200 times, and
-- has had weeks to contradict or explain any of this information or these allegations but hasn't.

We also KNOW that McGann's accuser
-- has been deemed credible by at least two civil attorneys,
-- shows all the typical, tragic signs of most child sex abuse victims,
-- has little or nothing to gain (beyond his own healing and the protection of others) by speaking up now,

We also KNOW that McGann
--has had weeks to contradict or explain any of this information or these allegations and
--has had ample time to hire an attorney to do that for him (but apparently hasn't).

We have also been TOLD (but have not been able to confirm) that one concerned citizen
--brought concerns about suspicions behavior around kids to Catholic officials in the mid 1990s
--was accompanied by a witness. But despite pledges that "we'll take care of it," no action was apparently taken.

Let's be clear - we know of no pending or past criminal charges or civil litigation against McGann. We are not in any way advocating any violation of any of his Constitutionally-guaranteed due process rights.

At the same time, however, we are worried about kids who are at, and have been at, the day care facility in Bristol.

Given all of this information and these reports, for the safety of kids, we urge your office to immediately investigate these reports and take the strongest possible action to warn parents and protect kids. We beg you to do all that you can to quickly but thoroughly look into this troubling situation. If other state agencies, including law enforcement, might be helpful, we urge you to prod them to act as well and pass along this information to them.

We hope you will do all in your power to investigate the allegations again McGann and the day care center where we strongly believe he has lived and is living. We aren't police or prosecutors. We don't know what laws or regulations McGann may have violated. But we do know that a number of signs support the veracity of what we're being told about McGann living at a day care center and being credibly accused of molesting a boy. And we know that often, "where there's a will, there's a way." (Remember: Al Capone was nailed on tax evasion.)

Maybe Zakrzewski lied on her licensing application. Maybe she or McGann has broke or are breaking some other regulation. We're not concerned about how your agency (or other agencies) investigates or acts to better protect kids in this situation. We ARE concerned, however, that SOMETHING be done and some probe is begun.

Thank you. We hope to hear from you soon.

Jayne O'Donnell
Voice of the Faithful
West Hartford CT

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

Barbara Dorris
Outreach Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster
St. Louis MO 63130
314 862 7688, 314 503 0003

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests