SNAP Presser in Downtown St. Louis Tues 10/1 at 1OPM
AG keeps agreement with bishops secret
He rejects SNAP’s Sunshine Act request
So victims ask AG & bishop for voluntarily release
SNAP: “If you’ve nothing to hide, disclose the deal”
Group says Schmitt’s abuse report is “the worst ever”
And it reveals 60 pages of never-seen-abuse records
Some are about ‘sex ring’ with three St. Louis seminarians
After a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will try to hand-deliver a letter to the Missouri attorney general’s St. Louis office calling on him to voluntarily release
--any formal agreement he signed with bishops limiting his probe, and
--the names of all non-victims he and his staff met with (like experts and church officials).
(He’s already rebuffed a Sunshine Act request. SNAP’s also asking bishops to release such agreements.)
Holding signs and childhood photos, they will also
--prod the AG to push local law enforcement officials to move quickly on the cases of 12 child molesting clerics that have been referred to local law enforcement for prosecution, and
--release nearly 60 pages of never-seen church abuse/cover up records, just a “tiny sampling of what the AG could and should have seen had only he done a real investigation.” (In part, the documents deal with three credibly accused ex-St. Louis seminarians who reportedly engaged in a sex ring with kids.
They will also beg state legislators to pass “real cover up and abuse prevention measures” since “AG Schmitt refuses to do so,” including
--a tough, state RICO law (to nail supervisors who hide abuse), and
--a repeal of Missouri’s ‘archaic, predator-friendly’ statute of limitations.
Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 1:00 p.m.
At the St. Louis office of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, 815 Olive Street, (314-340-6816) in downtown St. Louis
Four-six members of a support group called SNAP the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a man who met with the AG’s team and one who did not (and was SNAP’s long time executive director)
Two weeks ago, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt released a report on predator priests which SNAP calls “downright deceptive,” “the worst such report ever by any governmental entity” and “a misleading whitewash that largely does the bidding of Missouri bishops.”
The victims suspect the AG entered a ‘sweetheart deal’ with Catholic officials drastically limiting what he and his staff could see. So last week, SNAP filed an official Sunshine Act request to learn more about the deal the AG (and/or his predecessor) cut with church officials. But on Friday, AG Schmitt denied SNAP’s request.
In his report, Schmitt admits essentially ignoring:
--top church staff who are concealing or have concealed child sex crimes,
--several church-run ‘treatment centers’ for predator priests in Missouri, and
--one-third of predator priests who belong to Catholic religious orders like the Jesuits. (Schmitt attended a high school and law school both run by Jesuits.)
In his report, SNAP says it’s clear that Schmitt also ignored
--thousands of pages of long-secret, often-incriminating internal church abuse and cover up records (which were obtained through civil lawsuits), and
--two veteran victims’ attorneys in Missouri whom he never met with or called.
SNAP also notes that Schmitt and his staff
--interviewed fewer than one victim per week,
--disclosed not one name of one child molesting or complicit cleric,
--keep hidden even the names of predator priests who’ve been criminally convicted,
--seek no legislative or law enforcement reforms to prevent abuse or cover ups, and
--apparently have not and are not pushing Catholic officials to reveal more about abuse.
“Schmitt held no public hearings, announced no deadlines, gave no preliminary report, set up no real hotline, disclosed virtually nothing for nearly a year and - as best we can tell - consulted no experts, including several former Missouri church insiders-turned-whistleblowers,” said Judy Jones of SNAP.
“He didn’t ask to come to a single SNAP meeting or for names of other experts who could have been helpful,” said Jones. “Prosecutors in St. Louis, Kansas City and Boonville have convicted predator priests but - as best we can tell - they weren't consulted either.”
Law enforcement officials in neighboring states have been ‘far more aggressive and effective’ than Schmitt has, SNAP notes. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Illinois attorney general issued preliminary reports that SNAP which disclosed ‘very important and helpful information.’ The Nebraska attorney general issued 400 subpoenas to Catholic institutions for church records. (The Illinois AG revealed that the identities of some 500 accused priests in that state are still being hidden by bishops there, for instance.)
Schmitt’s report is here: http://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2019/catholicchurchclergyabuseinvestigationreport.pdf?sfvrsn=2
A SNAP statement about that report is here:
A St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial that criticizes Schmitt’s report is here:
A KC Star editorial that criticizes Schmitt’s report is here:
The two victims’ attorneys with whom Schmitt should have met are Rebecca Randles of Kansas City (816 520 2704, 931 9901, [email protected]) and Ken Chackes of St. Louis (314 369 3902, 872 8420, [email protected]).
2) According to legal records, three priests who attended Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis “allegedly participated in orgies” with kids: Fr. James Janssen, Fr. Francis Bass and Fr. James W. Murphy. Each has been deemed ‘credibly accused abusers’ by bishops in Iowa and Tennessee. (A fourth priest, Fr. Theodore Geerts, also reportedly participated and was declared ‘credibly accused by his bishop but did NOT attend Kenrick.) All have had multiple child sex abuse lawsuits filed against them that have been settled. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ia-davenport/documents.htm
As best SNAP can tell, this has never been disclosed or discussed in Missouri before. It’s just one of many cases, the group says, that AG Schmitt either ignored or was denied access to by Missouri church officials.
(For more information on the relevant documents: Terry McKiernan 508 479 9304, [email protected] or Craig Levien 563 349 2180, [email protected]).
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ia-davenport/archives/jnw-ex-41-R.pdf (paragraph 18)
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ia-davenport/archives/jnw-ex-38-R.pdf (paragraph 4)
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ia-davenport/archives/jnw-ex-44.pdf (paragraph 5)
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected], Zach Hiner 517 974 9009, [email protected]