Roster of Press Releases


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex abuse victims disclose $600,000 settlement

Catholic priest was convicted of molesting a kid in NJ

Then, church quietly moved him to MO parish where he violated another child

In between, he legally changed his name & was sent to church treatment center

Self help group blasts church officials in both states for 'secrecy and callousness'

SNAP begs others who were sexually assaulted, by him or other clerics, to 'come forward'

A Catholic priest who molested a New Jersey boy in the 1980s later changed his name and was sent to Missouri where he molested again almost immediately, according to a new settlement disclosed today by a support group for clergy sex abuse victims.

In 1982, Fr. Carmine Sita was arrested and charged by Hudson County NJ authorities with molesting a teenaged boy. He was found guilty and was sent to a church-run center for pedophile priests in New Mexico. Later, Sita formally changed his name to Gerald Howard and was sent to work in the Jefferson City Diocese.

In 1983, he began molesting a boy in Boonville, Missouri.

A years and a half ago, that man (now in his 30s) reported the abuse to Missouri church officials. But Catholic authorities in three church institutions - the Newark Diocese, the Jefferson City diocese, and a St. Louis-based religious order, the Paracletes -kept silent about his report.

Today, at two sidewalk news conferences (11:15 a.m. central in Columbia MO and 1:15 p.m. central in Jefferson City MO), clergy sex abuse victims are disclosing a new $600,000 settlement with that second victim, who is now in his 30s and living in Roanoke VA. It's believed to be one of the largest-ever pedophile priest settlements in Missouri. Howard has never been publicly identified in Missouri as a predator before today.

At a third sidewalk news conference, in St. Louis (at 1:30 p.m. central), victims will urge the Paracletes to disclose the names of other convicted predators they have housed and released. The group believes such disclosure is a 'bare minimum' step toward protecting other kids.

At all three events, victims are harshly criticizing Missouri and New Jersey Catholic officials for secretly moving Sita to an unsuspecting Missouri parish, despite his criminal conviction for molesting in New Jersey, and urgently beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to get help and call police, so that he might be prosecuted and so that kids might be better protected.

The events are sponsored by a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

After a lengthy mediation in late June in St. Louis, the victim agreed to a $600,000 settlement from three defendants - the Jefferson City diocese (where Howard was sent), the Newark archdiocese (where Howard is from), and a religious order, the St. Louis-based Paracletes (where Howard was 'treated' between diocesan assignments).

Howard moved to Columbia MO after being ousted from his Boonville parish. It is believed that he took counseling courses at the University of Missouri.

For six years (1976-1982), Howard worked at St. Aloysious Catholic Church in Jersey City NJ. (691 West Side Ave., 201-433-6365). For a while, he attended Rutgers University.

Now in his 60s, Howard remains a priest, though he's allegedly not working in a parish and his whereabouts are not known. As part of the settlement, the victim insisted that church officials begin defrocking Howard. He was ordained a priest in 1976.

The victim is married, in his 30s, and lives in Roanoke VA now. (He is remaining anonymous and will NOT be at any of the Missouri news conferences.) He is represented by attorneys Ken Chackes of St. Louis (314 872 8420, 314 369 3902 cell) and Bryan Bacon of Columbia (573-874-7777).

Attorneys representing the defendants include Jeffrey Jones (for the Paracletes, 505-466-3426), Charles Carella (for the Newark diocese, 973-994-1700), Lucie Huger, Bernard Huger, & Ed Goldenhersh (for the Jefferson City diocese, 314-241-9090).

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)

This case is somewhat unusual.

In most cases, bishops have concealed suspicions of clergy sex crimes. Here, they concealed actual knowledge of clergy sex crimes.

In most cases, one church official hides child sex crimes. Here, several church officials hide child sex crimes.

In most cases, bishops have recklessly put kids at risk of possibly devastating child sex crimes. Here, two bishops actually enabled at least one child to be devastated by sexual assault.

In some cases, when predator priests were caught assaulting kids in the 1960s or 1970s, bishops claimed they didn't call police because they allegedly didn't know child sexual abuse was a crime. (Frankly, we believe this claim is a lie.) But in this case, no church official can feign ignorance, since Sita/Howard pled guilty in criminal court and since he molested the Missouri boy in the 1980s (when virtually everyone knew child sex abuse was illegal, immoral and hurtful).

So it's obvious that self-serving and secretive Missouri and New Jersey Catholic officials deliberately deceived their own flocks and basically threw trusting families in the path of a known felon, just to - to protect themselves and their reputations. And they continue to deceive their flocks even now. Shame on each of them. Their irresponsible behavior is proof that very little has changed within the corrupt church hierarchy.

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell)

If St. Louis University staff lobbied for the death penalty, Carlson would speak out.

If St. Louis nuns helped at an abortion clinic, Carlson would go ballistic.

But here's a St. Louis based Catholic order running a St. Louis center for pedophile priests which is
-- violating the US Catholic sex abuse policy by its secrecy,
-- recklessly and callously hiding knowledge of credible child sex abuse allegations,
-- refusing to notify or warn parents and the public about a convicted child molester they released, and
-- endangering children by keeping quiet about a dangerous priest who walks free today.

We're calling on Archbishop to rise to the first real clergy sex abuse cover up challenge of his brief tenure in St. Louis. We're calling on him to honor his pledges about 'openness and transparency' and not 'tolerating' child molestation. We're calling on him to publicly denounce his colleagues who kept silent for a year and a half about a dangerous predator priest who walks free even today. We're calling on him to particularly single out and publicly denounce the St. Louis-based Paracletes, a defendant in this settlement, for their recklessness and deceit and secrecy and callousness.

When bishops and priests hide and protect pedophile priests and endanger kids, and no one speaks up or censures them, bishops and priests will continue to hide and protect pedophile priests and endanger kids.

The fundamental problem with the church's on-going clergy sex scandal is very simple: those who ignore or hide child sex crimes - both suspected and known - never experience a scintilla of consequences for their wrong-doing. So that wrong-doing is repeated and reinforced. And kids keep getting hurt. And parents keep getting betrayed. And Catholics keep getting disillusioned. This must stop. Archbishop Carlson is the one to begin stopping it.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 21 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

David Clohessy 314 5669790 cell, 314 645 5915 home, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests