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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

SNAP: Judges violate Ohio Supreme Court ruling

Group accuses appeals court of "blocking" disclosure

Documents about accused predator priest were to be released

But now Guernsey County officials “ignore" order by state’s highest court

Victims are upset & feel others could be harmed because of these “delaying tactics”

Holding signs and photos of abused kids at a sidewalk news conference, members of a support group will
--disclose and discuss a new legal filing that may force the disclosure of police records about an accused, suspended predator priest,
--harshly criticize Guernsey County judges for allegedly disobeying an Ohio Supreme Court ruling to release the documents, and
--urge prosecutor Dan Padden and other county officials, for the sake of public safety, to immediately release the requested records.

They will also beg victims of the accused priest to come forward and prod an Ohio Catholic bishop to put the cleric in a treatment center.

Thursday, Oct 28th at 1:00 p. m.

Outside the Guernsey County Courthouse, 139 Court House Square in Cambridge, OH

At least two representatives of a Chicago-based international support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,, one is a Missouri woman who is a former Ohio valley resident who is the organization’s associate Midwest director.

In 2009, the Fifth District appeals court in Guernsey County ruled that an alleged child sex abuse victim had no right to records from a law enforcement investigation into the priest who reportedly assaulted her. But in July, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned that decision and ordered that the documents be disclosed.

Now, however, the Guernsey judges have recently decided to again withhold the records. And the attorney for the alleged victim is filing a new motion, charging that the Guernsey judges are “directly violating the mandate of the Ohio Supreme Court” and trying to “open a whole new can of worms” by “seeking a new basis for refusing to disclose the records.”

The alleged victim is Beth Rocker, who says she was molested by Steubenville diocesan priest Fr. Gary Zalenski at several places (including on his pontoon boat at Seneca Lake in 1991). In 2007, she reported her allegations to church officials and in January 2008, she contacted police but no criminal prosecution was initiated.

Still, in November 2007, Zalenski was suspended by Bishop R. Daniel Conlon and remains suspended now. SNAP has urged Conlon to send Zalenski to an in-patient treatment center to receive treatment. Zalenski has worked as a priest and teacher at churches and schools in Guernsey and Belmont counties. Link to Zalenski timeline..

SNAP contends that church officials are “secretive” about child sex cases and that Ohio’s “archaic, predator-friendly” statutes of limitations make criminal and civil cases against Zalenski unlikely. It’s crucial, the group says, that these records be released “so that parents, parishioners and the public” will better understand the allegations against Zalenski.

Copies of several legal documents to be released at press event will be the judgment from Guernsey county court of Appeals which was filed on Oct 12th.

Also released will be the new legal brief by Rocker's counsel, Konrad Kircher of Mason, Ohio (513 229 7996, [email protected]).

CONTACT - Judy Jones, 636 433 2511, [email protected], David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests