The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement on Abusive Priests Evading Justice
in Foreign Countries


October 25, 2006

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago,
founder of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312 399 4747), on the first child molestation lawsuit to be filed against the priest who admitted fondling former Congressman Mark Foley

"Today, we're discussing a Malta native who became a priest in Brazil, moved to Florida, abused here, and is now back in Malta.

Later today, in California , we in SNAP will warn the public and the parishioners about two abusive priests from the Stockton diocese who are believed to be evading justice now in Mexico.

After that, in San Francisco , we in SNAP will ask the US District Attorney to investigate a different abusive priest and his supervisors, including his bishop. The priest admitted molesting kids this summer. But he was able to escape prosecution by fleeing to Mexico, because the bishop and at least four other top church offiicals waited several days before reporting the admission to law enforcement.

Yesterday, in Michigan news broke that a priest who had molested kids there was sentenced to a prison term. He had been on the run from the law in South America for years.

Last week, we publicly sounded that alarm that an Irish priest, defrocked and deported from the US after being criminally convicted of sexual abuse, is on the move again, reportedly heading for France or Canada .

Also last week, in Arizona , a priest pled guilty to sex charges involving kids. He was one of the very few accused abusive priests who was returned to the US from Mexico to face prosecution.

Last month, a civil lawsuit was filed that accuses two of the world's most prominent Catholic officials, Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles and Cardinal Rivera of Mexico City, of shuffling a serial predator from country to country. The priest is accused of molesting dozens of boys.

We could go on and on, but here's the bottom line:

It's safe to say that as predator priests become more scared and their bishops become more desperate, more abusive clergy will go or be sent abroad. And gradually, as victims become more courageous, Catholics become more outspoken, investigators become more sophisticated, and prosecutors become more determined, the movement of abusive priests across national borders is gradually being exposed more and more.

While the actions and the potential trend is disturbing, of course, the exposure of such immoral, harmful and illegal cover-ups is encouraging.

Getting back to Mercieca, we don't know why he went from Malta to Brazil to the US and back to Malta. But that's one reason we're pressing for a thorough probe into Mercieca by police in the Florida communities where he worked and by the US District Attorney in Miami .

Given this lawsuit today, it's clear that Mercieca molested other children besides Mark Foley.

Given Mercieca's admissions, blame-shifting, denial, and lack of remorse, it's clear he's still dangerous.

Given that Mercieca's boss, the Malta bishop, has thus far refused to order Mercieca into a treatment center, it's clear the danger will continue.

Therefore, it's more crucial than ever that anyone with information about Mercieca and his crimes come forward now. We in SNAP believe criminal prosecution is still possible, but only if other witnesses and victims find the courage and strength to report to law enforcement, and only if law enforcement finds the will and makes the effort to prosecute."

For more information:
David Clohessy 314 566 9790,
Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003





Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests