Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joliet to get new bishop; 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])

It’s a blow to wounded victims, vulnerable kids and caring Catholics to see this promotion. We believe that Bishop Conlon still treats victims with extreme disrespect, still quietly moves priests who have complaints against them to new assignments in unsuspecting communities, and does very little to protect kids.

Last fall, we opposed Conlon’s bid to head the bishops’ child sex abuse committee, and we outlined these reasons (which are still valid today):
--Conlon removed Fr. Gary Zalenski from his parish duties over three years ago for credible allegations of sexually abusing a child. We have urged him to put Zalenski into a protected treatment center, yet he is still walking around free.
--Conlon, to this day, is secretive about Zalenski’s clerical status, though we know he is being defrocked.
--In 2006, SNAP hand delivered letters to Conlon from victims who were sexually abused by Steubenville predator priests. Conlon has NEVER responded to any one of them.
--Several victims have asked for help with paying for their therapy, yet Conlon ignores their pleas, even though their therapy was being paid for before he became the bishop of Steubenville.
--Conlon's track record, while he was assigned to child protection in the Cincinnati Archdiocese, was to hide records, treat victims so badly it made them feel re-abused, and covering up crimes against kids.

Conlon has repeatedly ignored our requests for action that would better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded:

1) Last May, we asked Conlon’s help in reforming Ohio’s archaic, predator-friendly child sex abuse laws.

Conlon ignored the request.

2) Last April, we criticized Conlon for holding a news conference to defend the Pope’s controversial track record on pedophile priests but refusing to face reporters who raise questions about his own dealings in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. According to the Herald Star, at that event, Conlon urged "all Catholics in the diocese to pray for Pope Benedict and all Catholics in those countries dealing with the abuse issues," but made no mention of praying for abuse victims.

3) We also repeatedly called for Conlon to post on his diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or have been in the diocese. Roughly 24 of 200 US Catholic bishops have taken this step, which SNAP considers to be a ‘bare minimum’ public safety step.

Conlon has ignored the request.

4) In 2008, we asked Conlon for permission to speak in Steubenville area parishes about abuse prevention.

Conlon ignored the request.

5) Six years ago, we asked Conlon to seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by a convicted predator priest, Fr. Anthony Jablonowski a registered sex offender who worked in Steubenville and later moved back to Ohio.

Conlon ignored the request.

Three other points bear mentioning.
--In a remarkably insensitive move, Conlon’s ‘point of contact’ for abuse victims is a priest, not a lay person. (In diocesan news releases, he writes “Any victim harmed by a priest or anyone serving on behalf of the church is encouraged to come forward to the diocese and secular authorities. Msgr. Kurt H. Kemo, vicar general.” It is painfully short-sighted and hurtful to ask those who were sexually assaulted by clerics to report their abuse to a cleric.
--Conlon spent much of his clerical career, until 2002, in the Cincinnati archdiocese. A veteran child sex abuse attorney, Konrad Kircher of Mason Ohio, wrote to Conlon: “As you know from your central experience in the past, childhood sexual abuse was poorly handled by Catholic dioceses throughout the country. In fact, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was criminally convicted in 2003 of five counts of failing to report such abuse. Many such claims came to your attention in your role as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for approximately nine years and you know from your experience that the majority of those allegations were beyond the statute of limitations for both criminal and civil charges.
--We know of several victims of Steubenville diocesan priests who are struggling to get Conlon to continue paying for their therapy.

(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 23 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

Contact - Judy Block Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636 433 2511, [email protected], 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])


Steubenville Bishop Announces Transfer; No Successor Named

Posted: 9:25 am EDT May 17, 2011Updated: 9:36 am EDT May 17, 2011

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- The Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville said Monday he has accepted a transfer to Illinois.

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon said in a news release that he will be installed in Joliet, Ill., at the Cathedral of St. Raymond on July 14.

Until then, Conlon will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese. Then, the College of Consultors, a pre-designated group of priests, will elect a priest of the diocese to serve as administrator until a new bishop arrives. Conlon said a new bishop may not be in place for several months.

Conlon has been bishop for the Steubenville diocese since 2002. He said he was asked on April 26 by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States called on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, to serve as the bishop of Joliet.

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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests