The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, January 21, 2011
Clergy child sex case settles; SNAP responds
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
We applaud this brave victim for having the courage to step forward and the wisdom to take legal action and the patience to endure a long struggle to expose a predator, warn unsuspecting families, safeguard vulnerable children, and achieve some justice.
The archdiocese knew this settlement would almost certainly be made public anyway. We hope they’ll go beyond this minimal step and aggressively seek out others who know of or suspect his crimes and prod them to contact law enforcement.
Fiala worked at three places in the archdiocese, maybe more. We urge San Antonio’s archbishop to personally visit each of them and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police. Settling lawsuits with the already-wounded is fine. Helping to protect the still-vulnerable is better. Catholic officials have many resources that could be used to help reverse decades of secrecy about clergy sex crimes and better enable law enforcement to successfully prosecute Fiala and keep him away from kids for a long time. Fiala faces the pending criminal child sex abuse indictments in Edwards and Howard counties.
Finally, in just a few sentences in an announcement today, archdiocesan staff are being disingenuous and deceitful.
First, the victim was a child when he was assaulted. It’s disingenuous and deceitful for the archdiocese to use the phrase “19 year old man,” essentially suggesting he was an adult when he was hurt. He wasn’t.
Second, this isn’t “sexual misconduct,” it’s child sexual abuse. It’s disingenuous and deceitful for the bishop to minimize this crime with misleading, antiseptic language.
Third, Fiala is accused of hiring a hit man to kill one of his victims. That shouldn’t be overlooked or ignored.
Let’s hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes – by Fiala or other church employees - will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids 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 10,000 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 SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected], Barbara Garcia Boehland 210 621 2177, Cell 210 725 8329, [email protected]
News Conference, January 21, 2011, 1:30 p.m.
Archdiocese of San Antonio agrees to settlement in lawsuit involving alleged sexual misconduct by Father John Fiala.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio has reached a settlement in a lawsuit involving a 19 year old man who alleges he was sexually assaulted by Father John Fiala, when the priest served at Sacred Heart of Mary parish in Rocksprings. Fiala is member of the religious order, The Society of our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and worked in the archdiocese from 2005 to 2008.
There will be a news conference at 1:30 p.m. at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center (Chancery) at 2718 West Woodlawn Ave, Room 102.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Father Martin Leopold, and Deacon Pat Rodgers will be in attendance.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests