The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, February 10, 2011
4 Philly Catholic workers charged; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected])
This might be the first time ever that a high-ranking individual Catholic official has been specifically charged with recklessly endangering children.
This news may mean that finally one of the hundreds of complicit Catholic officials who have hidden or are hiding clergy sex crimes might be brought to justice.
Our hearts ache for these two victims who, along with hundreds of other Philly area boys and girls, were betrayed twice – first by predatory Catholic priests and employees and later by Msgr. Lynn.
We hope the actions of the Philadelphia DA will cause prosecutors across the US to examine their consciences and work harder to file similar charges against others in the Catholic hierarchy who continue to put the reputations of church officials ahead of the safety of innocent children.
Finally, we hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by these Catholic employees will come forward. And we hope that others who suspect or know of other church officials who ignored and concealed child sex crimes will speak up.
Now is not the time to be complacent. There’s no guarantee that these charges will stick. Often, accused priests get top notch lawyers, seem likeable, exploit technicalities and evade punishment. So it’s crucial that others with suspicions or knowledge contact law enforcement right away.
(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])
Investigation of Sexual Abuse by Clergy II
On February 10, 2011, a Philadelphia Grand Jury released a report and a presentment following an investigation into allegations that two priests and a teacher sexually abused a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome Parish in Philadelphia, and that another priest assigned to St. Jerome sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy.
The presentment recommended criminal charges, including for rape and indecent sexual assault, against the three priests, Edward Avery, Charles Engelhardt, and James Brennan; and the teacher, Bernard Shero. The Grand Jury also recommended charging Monsignor William J. Lynn, the Secretary for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
From 1992 until 2004, Msgr. Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children and for recommending appropriate action to ensure that priests could not reoffend. The Grand Jury found that Msgr. Lynn endangered children, including the victims in these most recent cases, by knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in ministry.
The Grand Jury also issued a report that summarizes its investigation and findings. The report recommended that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia overhaul its procedures for assisting victims and for removing from ministry priests accused of molesting minors. The Grand Jury encouraged victims to report their abuse first to law enforcement.
The Final Presentment and the Grand Jury Report are available below:
Final Presentment | Final Grand Jury Report
The Grand Jury Report published in 2005 regarding the investigation of sexual abuse by clergy is available at the link below: http://www.philadelphiadistrictattorney.com/images/Grand_Jury_Report.pdf
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests