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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Child sex victims lash out at bishop

He lets congregants rally around twice-accused, ousted predator

SNAP want Charlotte diocese to teach flock how to act in abuse cases

It also urges church-goers to support pedophile "privately, not publicly"

Group urges school & church authorities to disclose name of fired lay teacher too

Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will urge North Carolina Catholic church members and staff to
-- keep an open mind about a recently-arrested, twice-accused predator priest, and
-- stop publicly proclaiming his alleged innocence and intimidating other victims into silence.

They will also harshly criticize Charlotte’s bishop, for being letting the parishioners hold a rally for the cleric, and prod him to
--- disclose the name of another Catholic employee who was fired last year for abuse allegations, and
--- teach his flock the sensitive and smart way to respond to abuse reports so others who have been hurt won’t be scared into staying quiet.

Finally, the victims will also urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes the cleric's crimes to come forward, get help and call police.

Thursday, Aug. 5, 2:00 p.m

Outside the diocesan headquarters (chancery office) 1123 South Church St., Charlotte (704 370 3327)

Two sex abuse victims who are members of a self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

Last month, criminal charges were filed against Fr. Joseph M. Kelleher by for allegedly abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1977 at Our Lady of the Annunciation in Albemarle. At the time of his arrest, Kelleher was chaplain at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Kerrville. Two weeks ago, a second accuser said in a police report that Kelleher abused him when he was a 13-year-old boy in 1981 at an east Charlotte parish.

Last year, another McGuinness High School staffer was ousted because of an “allegation of sexual misconduct involving a former student.” In February 2009, the diocese fired that teacher. But in an unusual move, Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis refused (and still refuses) to disclose this accused predator’s name publicly. SNAP feels as a public safety step, the diocese should disclose that teacher’s identity, especially in light of the Pope’s promise, made just weeks ago, to do “everything possible” to stop future child sex crimes.

Despite the evidence against Kelleher, some Catholics have publicly professed his “innocence” and rallied around him (including holding vigils). A thousand people have joined a Facebook site called "Justice for Father Kelleher." SNAP believes such public shows of support for an arrested child molester is wrong and reckless, intimidating others who see, suspect or suffer child sex crimes from reporting the abuse and stopping the crimes.

SNAP wants Charlotte’s bishop to stop such actions in the future and give congregants copies of a SNAP brochure called “What To Do When Your Minister Is Accused.”

Finally, SNAP strongly suspects there are others with information about other crimes by Kelleher. The group urges anyone with any knowledge of his misdeeds - however slight, old or vague - to call law enforcement. The best thing that can happen now, SNAP feels, would be if other victims and witnesses stepped up, more charges were filed, and Kelleher successfully convicted and jailed for a long time.

The victim is represented by Charlotte attorney Seth Langson (704 377 1504). Kelleher is represented by Albemarle attorney Charles Brown (704 385 7194). A photo of Kelleher is available at

According to the Charlotte Observer, Kelleher's expected to make his first court appearance this month. He has worked for the church in the following North Carolina towns: Greenville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston‐Salem, Asheboro, Waynesville, Albemarle, Hendersonville, Lexington, Asheville and Lincolnton.

Neal Evans, SNAP Asheville Director, 828 242 0050, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, [email protected]
Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests