The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, January 14, 2010
Former Orlando-area priest accused of sex abuse; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790)
We're saddened to read that another boy was molested by Fr Mena, though we are grateful that he's found the strength and courage to step forward and take action to protect others and heal himself.
We hope his bravery will inspire others who are in pain to speak up, get help, expose predators, safeguard kids and seek justice.
Because Mena's whereabouts are unknown, it's especially important that current and former church members and employees with knowledge of his past contact law enforcement and other independent groups so that he might eventually be charged, convicted and jailed and so that his unsuspecting neighbors might be warned about him.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around since 1988 and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Former Orlando-area priest accused of sex abuse
Lawsuit alleges the former priest, who has faced sexual battery charges in the past, had raped a Winter Garden altar boy in the mid-70s.
By Walter Pacheco, Orlando Sentinel
3:06 p.m. EST, January 14, 2010
A former Orlando-area priest faces a second lawsuit alleging he sexually abused an underage altar boy more than 30 years ago.
The lawsuit filed in Orange County Court in December accuses former Diocese of Orlando priest José Mena of performing sex acts on an altar boy he had befriended in the mid-1970s while serving the congregation at Resurrection Church in Winter Garden.
The victim's attorneys claim diocese officials failed to "ensure his safety, care, health and well-being" and that the alleged pedophile priest was transferred to other churches "to prevent church members from learning of his pattern of abuse."
Previous reports show Mena, now 81, had left active ministry sometime around 2002. His last known address was in Jacksonville in 2005.
The Florida Times Union reported in April 2008 that Mena's whereabouts where unknown and he may have moved to Europe, possibly returning to his native country, Spain.
The new allegations came to light after the victim, now 42, told of the alleged abuse after undergoing counseling in February 2008.
"It was not until that time that he was able to recall these horrific events of his childhood and began to understand their devastating effect on his life," the lawsuit shows.
Carol Brinati of the Diocese of Orlando said she is currently researching Mena's history with the diocese, which serves Orange and eight other counties in Florida.
Attorneys with the Orlando-based law firm Morgan and Morgan, the victim's lawyers, did not return calls to the Orlando Sentinel.
Reports show Mena faced similar allegations of sexual abuse in 2008, as well as others in St. Augustine, St. Petersburg and Venice dioceses, including one lawsuit filed in 2005.
A lawsuit in 2008 accused Mena of having sexually abused a boy at the Winter Garden church over a period of five years in the mid-1970s.
That lawsuit also alleges Mena had been abusing boys since the 1960s and that church officials were aware of his activities by 1966 but took no action.
Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office spokesman Randy Means said the statute of limitations on some of these cases has already run out, unless they happened when the victim was age 12 or less at the time of the incident. That is not the case with this lawsuit.
Walter Pacheco can be reached at 407-420-6262 or [email protected].
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests