Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Priest in Indiana & Florida sued for abuse

Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President 312-399-4747

This is the second time in the last two months that more child sex crimes by Fr. Emerson have been reported in litigation.

Emerson will perhaps never ‘catch up’ to Indiana’s most prolific predator priest, Fr. Harry Monroe of the Indianapolis archdiocese. Still, like Monroe, Emerson walks free and likely lives among unsuspecting and vulnerable neighbors despite a number of civil lawsuits that charge him with sexually violating children.

We applaud this brave victim for speaking up. We hope this victim’s courage will prod others with information about Fr. Emerson to step forward, get help, call police, protect others and start healing.

Almost always in these cases, Catholic officials quickly point out that the alleged abuse was “years ago.” It’s disturbing that, whenever a brave victim comes forward, Catholic officials stress how long ago the crimes happened. This is a bald-faced effort to distance themselves from the horror of child sexual assault, and lull parishioners and the public into believing that a dangerous predator is somehow less dangerous because of the mere passage of time.

Instead of routinely practicing this “damage control,” Catholic officials should be reminding people that child predators rarely stop molesting and, in fact, often get more shrewd and cunning and effective over time, because they learn how to better pick kids who can’t tell or won’t be believed and how to better ‘explain away’ their suspicious behavior.

We hope that current and former church members and employees in each of the towns where Emerson worked will ask their loved ones if Emerson hurt them and, if so, will prod other victims to contact therapists, police, support groups and other independent sources of help.

(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. 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

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)

New Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Diocese of Orlando and Indiana Bishop

ORLANDO, Fla., July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Miami law firm of Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A., announces the filing of a new lawsuit alleging that a Roman Catholic priest sexually abused a child and that Catholic officials in Florida and Indiana conspired to cover up the priest's history of child sexual abuse.

This latest lawsuit alleges that Fr. Richard Emerson sexually abused a 15 year old boy at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Orlando, FL. The abuse continued for 2 years while the boy served as an altar boy at the parish between approximately 1987 and 1989.

Emerson first came to the Diocese of Orlando in 1987 after being transferred from the Diocese of Gary. When Emerson sought incardination in the Diocese of Orlando in 1991, he was recalled to Indiana and named Chancellor of the Diocese of Gary. Documents obtained in another lawsuit involving Emerson indicate Emerson's move back to Gary was requested by then-Orlando Bishop Norbert Dorsey, who was concerned about the "inappropriate attention" Emerson was giving to 2 teenage boys. At least 2 other allegations of sexual misconduct by Emerson have been deemed credible by the Diocese of Gary's Independent Review Board.

John Doe No. 13 v. Diocese of Orlando and Bishop Dale J. Melczek (Case No. 2010-CA-015146) is filed in Orange County (Florida) court.

The , John Doe No. 13, is 38 years old. He now resides in suburban Detroit. Emerson is believed to be residing in the Atlanta area. He has been the subject of numerous child sexual abuse lawsuits in both Florida and Indiana.

Adam Horowitz, an attorney for John Doe No. 13, said, "According to our lawsuit, Father Emerson was placed in a position of authority with young boys after church officials knew of his dangerous sexual behavior. Tragically, Father Emerson left a trail of child victims when church officials could have prevented them from being hurt."

A copy of the lawsuit is available at

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests