Roster of Press Releases


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

New lawsuit charges high-profile priest with abuse

Cleric travels internationally as “Indy 500” chaplain

Last year, he wrote victim apologizing for his “misconduct”

For months, his Catholic supervisors have known of allegations

But they stay silent and let alleged child molester still work as priest

Court injunction is sought to prevent him from being around children

WHAT: At a sidewalk news conference, attorneys and clergy sex abuse victims will disclose and discuss a new civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit that charges that

---a prominent Chicago area Catholic priest molested a boy for eight years, and
---his church supervisors have kept quiet about the allegations against him for months while letting the credibly accused child molester function publicly as a cleric

The suit seeks a court injunction to keep the accused sex offender away from kids. The victims hope that
---anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes will come forward, get help and call police, and
---church officials will immediately suspend the cleric so that children will be safer.

WHEN: Thursday, April.14 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: On the sidewalk outside Federal Court (corner of Adams and Jackson) in Chicago

WHO: Several clergy sex abuse victims including a Chicago woman who heads an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

WHY: A detailed new civil child sex abuse lawsuit charges that Fr. Philip DeRea, the official chaplain of the Indianapolis 500, repeatedly molested a boy and that the priest’s supervisors let him “trade on his celebrity connections, authority as a priest, and jet-setting lifestyle to attract and prey on children for his own depraved and criminal sexual purposes.”

A nationally-known Catholic cleric, DeRea molested the boy for approximately eight years in the 1980s, starting when the boy was just 11 years old.

The suit says DeRea is close to the race car-driving Andretti family (Mario, Michael and Marco), was featured in the Italian issue of GQ, “hobnobbed with celebrities like Paul Newman,” performed Ashley Judd’s wedding, leads a “luxurious” lifestyle going to “races around the world,” and was the ABC News “Person of the Week” in 1996.

Last year, DeRea wrote the victim claiming to have “a heavy heart and great regret,” admitting that he had done “your family a great injustice” and apologizing for “my weakness and sinfulness and misconduct” but told the victim to “keep all quiet” and wired him a few thousand dollars at a time to try to buy the victim’s silence.

Though DeRea’s church supervisors have known since early last December of the allegations against him, they have kept the accusations quiet and let DeRea keep functioning publicly as a priest as recently as three months ago,when he officiated at a funeral and solicited donations for the religious order he belongs to, the Aurora-based Catholic Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (630 892 2371,

According to the suit, DeRea repeatedly sodomized the boy, attempted anal sex, and performed other depraved acts. He gave the boy liquor and pornography, “consorted with a gay stripper” in his presence, and talked openly with him “about gay dance clubs (and) his sex with men, some of whom were staff members, and his use of gay escort services.” The suit also says that DeRea “had sexual encounters with one or more other boys during the mid-1980s” and had “received treatment for pedophilia” in the past.

The victim in today’s suit is filing as John Doe, is his 40s, lives on the east coast and will NOT be at the event. DeRea is a native of Nazareth PA and now lives in Aurora and is involved with the Knights of Columbus there.

The suit, filed in the federal court in Chicago (Illinois Northern District), seeks actual and punitive damages. The victim is represented by attorneys Peter Gillon of Washington DC (202 663 8000, [email protected]) and Marc Pearlman of Chicago (312 261 4550, [email protected] ).

CONTACT –Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected])

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests