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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

For immediate release: Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Offending cleric is permanently being removed

Victim was notified this morning of Joliet diocese’s decision

Group had criticized church officials months ago for moving slowly and quietly

SNAP says “Catholics deserve an explanation for delay and secrecy surrounding this case”

More than two months after a clergy sex abuse group called for the suspension of two Joliet area priests, the diocese announced that one of them is being permanently removed from ministry.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is disclosing that Joliet Catholic officials have deemed a child sex allegation against Fr. F. Lee Ryan ''credible" and that Fr. F. Lee Ryan will not be returned to active ministry.

A diocesan staffer left a voice mail this morning on a victim's answering machine with the news.

"While we are glad they this predator will not be put back in ministry, we worry that he may have hurt others or will hurt others," said David Clohessy of SNAP. "For the safety of kids, we hope anyone who saw or suspected or suffered his crimes will report to the police. If Ryan is prosecuted and jailed, then children will be safe."

“The diocese, not our group, should be shouting this news from the rooftops, so parents will keep their kids away from Ryan and will ask their children if he hurt any of them,” Clohessy said. “It’s discouraging that even now, in 2010, information about child molesting clerics is made public by independent sources, not by church officials.”

Bishop Peter Sartain (815 722 6606) was first notified of these allegations in April. The victim, a Florida resident now, also reported that he was molested by another cleric, Fr. Kevin McBrien.

The reported victim is in his 40s and attended Providence High School (where he met one of the priests) and Joliet Catholic High School. With one priest, the abuse happened over several years (in a rectory, hotels, on trips out of state). The other priest assaulted the boy once.

“We’re grateful to this brave, strong and persistent victim whose courage has brought about this progress,” said Barbara Blaine of SNAP. “The moral of this story is that when victims speak up, sometimes justice, prevention, healing and truth-telling happens.”

The victim is being represented by Miami attorney Adam Horowitz (305 931 2200). The church lawyer conducting the alleged “investigation” is James C. Byrne. (815-726-4311, [email protected]) Months ago, the first person at the diocese the alleged victim contacted was Judy Speckman, who calls herself “the Bishop’s advocate.”

Members of the Joliet Diocesan Abuse Review Committee include William Penn (retired), Ernie Stark (retired), Fr. Gerald Tivy (Pastor of St. Joan of Arc in Lisle, Cynthia A. Power (counselor, Life Enrichment Services of Wheaton), Dr. Alexander J. Spadoni (Professor of Psychiatry at Loyola Medical School), Shirley Robinson (therapist), Cathy J. Nusgart (attorney), Dr. Timothy Brown (Director, Kane County Diagnostic Center), William G. Plahm and Daniel J. Callahan.

CONTACT - David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests