The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, May 7, 2010
Catholic sex case settles; SNAP responds
Statement by David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790)
We’re grateful to Robby for his courage, wisdom and persistence in exposing the recklessness and deceit of North Carolina and New Jersey Catholic officials who kept moving and protecting a child molester for years. We hope this settlement brings Robby some much-deserved healing and closure. And we hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes – by Yurgel or other clergy – will come forward, speak up, call police, get help, expose predators and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the globe. 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)
Contacts: David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003)
Catholic diocese to pay $1 million to molestation victim
By Gary L. Wright - [email protected] - Friday, May. 07, 2010
The diocese has also agreed to pay for counseling for Robby Price, who is now 25 and living out of state. He was an altar boy at Charlotte’s St. Matthew Catholic Church in 1999 when he was molested.
The Rev. Robert Yurgel was sentenced in February 2009 to nearly eight years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree sex offense.
Yurgel, a member of the order of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in New Jersey, had been assigned to St. Matthew and Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in the late 1990s.
“The sexual abuse of children, particularly by those they trust and especially by those in the ministry, causes extensive mental and emotional damage and trauma,” Seth Langson, one of Price’s lawyers, told the Observer.
“Robby, like most victims, was unable to even speak of the abuse to his parents for many years. At the end of 2007, he courageously came forward and began telling others what happened to him. He wanted then to make sure that Father Yurgel never hurt another child.”
The lawyers for Price said the diocese’s insurance company will pay the $1 million.
In settling the lawsuit, the Catholic diocese denied any liability.
In a statement released after Yurgel’s sentencing last year, Charlotte diocese officials said they did not learn of any sexual misconduct allegations against Yurgel until his arrest in April 2008. “During Father Yurgel’s time in Charlotte, the diocese was not made aware of any complaints concerning his conduct with minors,” the statement said.
Revelations of child sexual abuse by priests – and sometimes cover-ups by their bishops – have scandalized many Catholic dioceses across the country. The Catholic Church has paid more than $2 billion in abuse settlements in the United States alone in the past decade.
Yurgel’s case is the first made public involving a Catholic priest in which the sexual misconduct happened in Charlotte.
Price’s lawyers say they believe the $1 million payment by the Catholic diocese is one of the largest settlements paid in North Carolina by a religious organization for the sexual abuse of a child.
The Observer doesn’t generally disclose the names of victims of sexual assault and abuse. But Price allowed his identity to be revealed to tell his story.
During Yurgel’s sentencing last year, the prosecutor told the judge that Price was 14 when Yurgel began molesting him. The victim was 15, the prosecutor said, when Yurgel molested him in a church rectory.
Price confronted the priest who had molested him.
His voice sometimes quivering, Price told Yurgel he’d stolen his faith and childhood and robbed him of his ability to trust.
“To this day I suffer with horrible flashbacks and nightmares…,” Price said. “You are a liar, a thief of childhoods and a child molester.”
Yurgel did not look at the victim or his parents. Nor did he apologize.
His lawyer, George Laughrun, spoke for him: “He crossed the line. He knows better…He knows he has sinned.”
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests