Roster of Press Releases


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Appeal filed in “bizarre & dangerous” child sex ruling

For first time ever, SNAP targets archdiocesan lawyers

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”

Holding signs saying “Ed Goldenhersh protects molesters,” clergy sex abuse victims will try to hand fliers to passer-by blasting lawyers for the tactics they use to defend St. Louis’ Catholic archbishop in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. The victims are upset because church officials have won a ruling which lets them ‘off the hook when a pedophile priest molests a child off church property.

They will also disclose and discuss a new appeal of that “bizarre and dangerous” court ruling that’s being filed in a St. Louis court today.

Tuesday, July 19 at 1:00 PM

Outside the downtown law offices of Greensfelder, Hemker and Gale, 10 South Broadway in downtown St. Louis

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

An appeal is being filed today in a St. Louis federal court. It involves what SNAP calls a “bizarre and dangerous” ruling which lets the St. Louis archdiocese is escape responsibility for a known child predator priest’s crimes. The reason: because the predator molested “off premises,” at a private home.

If the ruling stands, SNAP says Missouri kids will be less safe because a) it will be much harder for many child sex crimes to expose their predators in court, & 2) employers will have less incentive to be careful about who they hire.

Last year, St. Louis City Circuit Court Judge Donald McMullin found

1. that the victim in this case “has evidence” that the archdiocese knew a priest “had a history of sexual abuse,

2. that leaving (the priest) alone with children was “certain. . .to result in harm to (others),”

3. disregarded that known risk, and, as a result,

4. (at least one boy) was sexually abused by (the priest.)”

The victim, a St. Louis man named Paul Alvino, is appealing the case today. He was abused at a “clubhouse” on the Big River from 1970 to 1971 by Fr. Thomas Cooper. Alvino filed his suit in 2005.

Alvino’s case is believed to be the first time in Missouri history that church officials have successfully used this “off premises” argument, which SNAP finds morally deplorable. Last Friday, a KC judge tossed out part of a clergy sex case there (against a recently suspended accused child molesting cleric) on the same grounds.

Church officials usually win in court using other technical defenses, notably the statute of limitations. So even though the archdiocese has used the “not on church property” tactic before, until now, it’s never been the sole reason that a clergy sex abuse case was tossed out by a court.

SNAP is targeting the archdiocesan defense lawyers because it believes Archbishop Robert Carlson is immune to public shame or pressure. The group also feels that if lawyers resort to such tactics, the public should know about them.

The organization calls the church’s move “possibly the most mean-spirited legal maneuver in archdiocesan history.”

Cooper was ordained in 1955, retired in 1993, died in 2003, and worked in St. Louis city (at Mary Magdalene parish, where he met Alvino), Webster Groves, Hazelwood, University City, and Jennings. When the suit was first filed, archdiocesan staff refused to provide a list of where Cooper worked. SNAP is urging Carlson to do so now.

Alvino’s attorneys are Rebecca Randles, (816 931 9901, 816 510 2704 cell), Patrick Noaker (651 227 9990, 612 961 1307 cell) and Ken Chackes (314 872 8420, 314 369 3902 cell).. Representing the archdiocese are Bernard Huger (314-516-2659), Lucie Huger (314-345-4725), and Ed Goldenhersh (314-516-2667).

Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected], David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director 314 566 9790, [email protected],
Mary Ellen Kruger 962 0964 home 807 2372 cell

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests