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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims want grand jury probe into clergy sex crimes & cover ups

New report show that ex-St. Louis archbishop acts recklessly in PA

Rigali is keeping 37 credibly accused molesters in parishes, grand jury finds

“Prosecutors in here, Brooklyn & Pittsburgh should investigate,” SNAP says

Group also releases ten pages of long-secret church records about pedophile priest

They prove that top Catholic officials knew he assaulted kids before sending him here

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse will
-- release ten pages of long-secret internal church memos and records showing that a now-retired Pennsylvania Cardinal quietly and deceptively transferring a known pedophile priest here where he molested three boys,
-- discuss a new grand jury report harshly criticizes a former St. Louis archbishop for keeping child molesting clerics in ministry even now, and
-- urge prosecutors here and in two other cities to launch grand jury investigations into Catholic church cover ups of clergy sex crimes.

Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 1:15 p.m.

On the sidewalk outside the Circuit Attorney’s office 1114 Market Street (corner of Market and Tucker) in St. Louis

Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

In brutal language, a new Philadelphia grand jury report about clergy sex abuse and cover ups blasts former St. Louis Archbishop Justin Rigali for engaging, even now, “in practices that mislead victims, violate their trust, hinder prosecution of their abusers and leave large numbers of credibly accused priests in ministry.”

And other newly-disclosed secret church records show that now-retired Pennsylvania church official kept quiet about a known predator priest and helped him move to St. Louis where he molested at least three boys (one of whom later committed suicide).

Fr. Romano J. Ferraro shouldn’t be given “any assignment that would engage (him) intimately with the people and especially with boys or teenagers.” That’s what a therapist wrote in 1973. In 1977, a memo reporting that Ferraro abused two New York boys was sent to Msgr. Anthony Bevilacqua, a Brooklyn church official. Yet in 1981, Bevilacqua helped Ferraro move to St. Joan of Arc parish in south St. Louis, where Ferraro lived while being treated at a church center for pedophiles. That same year, Ferraro began repeatedly molesting an 11 year old St. Louis boy. Years later, as an adult, that victim ended up taking his own life. (In recent years, two other Missouri men settled civil suits stemming from their abuse by Ferraro.)

In 1983, records show that Bevilacqua felt putting Ferraro in any Brooklyn parish “presents too much of a risk,” but would let Ferraro “take an assignment in the New York Archdiocese.” Ferraro was then sent to New Jersey, where he molested two more boys. (Bevilacqua was promoted to head dioceses in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.)

Two Philadelphia grand juries have shown that 1) Bevilacqua acted irresponsibly and 2) his successor Rigali is doing so too. Given these facts, SNAP is calling on prosecutors in St. Louis, Brooklyn and Pittsburgh to open grand jury investigations into the clergy abuse and cover up scandals. Even though most crimes by Bevilacqua and Rigali would likely fall outside the statute of limitations, SNAP believes such probes might turn up some crimes that could be prosecuted and/or produce helpful reports like the two that Philadelphia grand juries have generated.

The new records were obtained by a victim in a civil clergy sex abuse and cover up case involving Ferraro and Bevilacqua. The victim was represented by Miami attorneys Adam Horowitz and Jessica Arbour (305 931 2200, [email protected], [email protected]) Ferraro’s St. Louis victims were represented by attorneys Ken Chackes (314 872 8420, 314 369 3902 cell) and Patrick Noaker (651 227 9990, 612 961 1307 cell).

CONTACT –David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected], Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688, [email protected])

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests