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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

For more information:

Clergy Sex Case is Argued Today Before Appeals Court

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314) 566-9790 cell, [email protected]

Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 862-7688

Archdiocese Is “Exploiting Bizarre Technicality,” SNAP Says

Church Says It’s Not Responsible Because of Where Crimes Happened

Boy Was Molested & Church Could Have Prevented It, Both Sides Agree

But Since He Was Assaulted on Private, Not Church Property, He’s “Outta Luck”

This morning at 9:30 a.m., a three judge panel in downtown St. Louis will hear arguments in an unusual clergy sex abuse and cover up suit filed five years ago by St. Louisan Paul Alvino against the St. Louis Catholic archdiocese.

Church attorneys do not contest that the Alvino was assaulted by the now-deceased Fr. Thomas Cooper. Nor do they dispute that they knew of Cooper’s sexual propensities and misdeeds years before he molested Alvino.

They claim, however, that since the crimes took place off church property, the archdiocese can’t be held responsible. It’s the first time in Missouri history, as best SNAP can tell, that this legal maneuver may play a decisive role in a clergy sex case in Missouri.

“Some lawsuits boil down to one person’s word against another’s,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “Not so here. Both sides agree that Fr. Thomas Cooper molested Alvino and that church staff had been warned years earlier about Cooper’s abusive behavior. Still, Archbishop Carlson's lawyers say the archdiocese can’t be held responsible since the abuse happened at a “clubhouse” on the Big River, and not church property.”

“It’s hard to shock us, but we are shocked by the callousness of Catholic officials in this case,” said Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “It’s clear they will exploit any loophole or technicality to protect themselves and their secrets, no matter how heinous the crime and how far-fetched the legal theory.”

Alvino’s attorneys are Rebecca Randles, Patrick Noaker and Ken Chackes (314 872 8420, 314 369 3902 cell).. Representing the archdiocese are Bernie Huger and Ed Goldenhersh.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests