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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Abuse Victims to Leaflet Parish Where Accused Cleric Will Work

When Parishioners Asked Questions, Archdiocese Told Them to "Keep Quiet"

Cleric Named In At Least One Lawsuit, Settlement,

Yet Church Officials Put An Ad In Local Paper Defending Priest

Where Are The Promises Of Transparency, SNAP Asks

Let's Protect Kids, Not Predators, They Say

Before and after Sunday masses, victims of childhood sexual abuse and their supporters will pass out flyers to warn parishioners about an accused cleric who is being sent to their parish. The flyers will:
-- Urge parishioners to talk openly about abuse and what they may know about abusive clerics,
-- Tell them about the accusations, lawsuit and settlement against Fr. Richard R. Martini,
-- Ask parishioners to demand that Archdiocese stop defending an accused cleric in the press, and
-- Blast church officials for telling parishioners to "keep quiet" about Martini's history.

Sunday, April 11
9 am to 11:30

Outside Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church
23233 Lyons Avenue, Santa Clarita, CA 91321-2632
Santa Clarita is off of the 5 Freeway, north of San Fernando, exit Lyons

In the past few weeks, parishioners at Santa Clarita's Our Lady Of Perpetual Help parish learned that an accused cleric, Fr. Richard Martini, was being transferred to their church and school. Martini has been named in at least one lawsuit and was one of the priests who was the subject of the 2007, $660 million sex abuse settlement against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Martini has also been listed as an accused priest in Cardinal Mahony's Report to the People of God, as well as numerous press reports and court documents.

When parishioners found about about Martini's assignment, they took their concerns to church officials, who told them to "keep quiet." In addition, officials claim that Martini was "exonerated," even though there was no police investigation and Archdiocese officials refuse to release secret personnel files about Martini's past.

After an article about Martini appeared in the April 8 edition of The Signal, Archdiocese officials placed an ad in the paper, defending the priest.

As best SNAP can tell, there has been no outreach to potential victims, and out of options, parishioners reached out to SNAP for help in addressing the problem.

SNAP believes that these actions are reckless, dangerous and in direct defiance to the Archdiocese's own promises of transparency and pastoralism.

"The Archdiocese is telling parishioners that their kids' safety if far less important than the reputation of a priest who has been credibly accused in a court of law, found liable and who was the subject of a substantial settlement," said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director. "And then, when parishioners research the cleric, they are told to shut up, while church officials spend thousands more dollars to protect the cleric's reputation. It's appalling."

The group hopes that the leafleting will empower parishioners to question church leaders who insist on dumping accused clerics in their parishes.

"Cardinal Mahony and his team do not care about children's safety," Casteix said. "We will do everything we can to help the parishioners, who want nothing more than a safe church. That should not be too much to ask. But apparently, for Cardinal Mahony, it is."

Joelle Casteix of Orange County, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434
Carlos Perez-Carrillo of Los Angeles, SNAP LA Leader (818) 723-8016
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 503-0003

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests