Press Release



Press Release


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For immediate release:
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2005

For more information:
Steve Theisen, Co-founder of NE Iowa SNAP, 319-231-1663
Heather Smith, Co-founder of NE Iowa SNAP, 319-939-4144
David Clohessy of St. Louis SNAP National Director 314 566-9790 cell, 314 645 5915
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688

Catholic Leader Announces Abusive Priest Was Defrocked

Sex Abuse Victims Prod Archbishop To Do More

They Want Names of All Known &Suspected Abusive Priests Made Public

"Why Did Hanus Keep Secrets For At Least Seven Years?" Asks SNAP

In a letter last Friday to Dubuque Catholic priests, Archbishop Jerome Hanus disclosed, apparently for the first time, that a now deceased priest was defrocked by the Vatican seven years ago.

Hanus wrote that while "Some may remember his priestly service with gratitude, others claim that Fr. Robert J. Reiss abused (them.)"

"We are saddened that it has taken the Archbishop more than seven years to disclose this information," said Heather Smith of Waterloo, Co-founder of NE Iowa SNAP. "We are also saddened by the silence of other local church employees and parishioners for failing to warn families about Reiss' sexual molestation of children."

SNAP members are upset that Archbishop Hanus, Msgr. Barta, Joyce Connors and all members of the Review Board still refuse to release all names of all religious who have had credible accusations made against them. "This simple step would enable more survivors to come forward to have a chance to heal, and would also help protect children today in the communities where these sex offenders live," said Steve Theisen of Hudson, Co-founder of NE Iowa SNAP. As an example, Reiss latest addresses include Pomona, CA; Cherry Valley, CA; Hemet, CA; Ontario, CA; and 9 Linn St, Marshalltown, IA which is the same address as St. Mary's Catholic Church in Marshalltown.

Hanus' letter states, Fr. Robert J. Reiss was defrocked "by Pope John Paul II on September 29, 1997."

"Reiss' victims have suffered needlessly in anguish and depression because of the silence of those responsible in the Archdiocese," said Theisen. "I pray that none of these victims took the ultimate escape from pain because of the irresponsible and selfish silence of Archbishop Hanus, Msgr. Barta, Joyce Connors, and all members of the Review Board. Those responsible for these seven years of secrecy must bear the responsibility for unnecessary pain; not just for survivor victims and their families but for any victims who may have not survived and their families who grieve. I pray that God will forgive them."

Theisen also added, "Hanus knows that many survivors have moved and can no longer go to church. He deliberately chose, once again, to do the bare minimum, instead of launching a genuine and effective outreach effort to find others who may still be trapped in shame and self-blame."

SNAP members are also concerned about children and unsuspecting families around other abusive clerics who quietly live in local neighborhoods, such as Fr. William T. Schwartz who rents out a home in Arizona. Theisen asks, "Where is the sexual predator Schwartz when he's renting out his home? Mexico, Canada, Iowa?"



Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests