The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, July 1, 2011
Priest suspended for conduct with kids; 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])
Again, Archdiocese officials are acting recklessly with the safety of kids.
Catholic officials admit learning of the alleged wrongdoing on Monday, but waited five days, until a holiday weekend to oust Vatterott and announce it. Shame on them.
A five day delay gives a criminal a lot of time to fabricate alibis, destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers and discredit witnesses.
It would be nice, just once, to see Catholic officials announce alleged sexual misdeeds without them trying to minimize or “spin” the wrongdoing by stressing things like “no physical contact” (as if child porn, for example, isn’t any big deal to them).
We hope that every person who has any information or suspicions that could shed light on these allegations will find the courage and strength to call police so that the full truth might become clear. And we hope they’ll call police and prosecutors, not church officials who continue to act slowly and irresponsibly when it comes to the safety of kids.
(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 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])
Popular St. Louis priest put on leave for alleged misconduct
BY JESSE BOGAN • [email protected] > 314-340-8255
ST. LOUIS • Police are investigating a Roman Catholic priest accused of having inappropriate electronic exchanges and other questionable behavior with teenagers.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis said Friday that Rev. William Vatterott has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by Ballwin police.
Vatterott has not been charged with a crime.
Two teenagers have reported incidents of inappropriate correspondence received from Vatterott, Monsignor Richard Hanneke, vicar of priests, said Friday in a prepared statement.
He said the archdiocese placed Vatterott on leave after learning of the complaints Monday.
In addition, Vatterott has been accused of being involved in underage drinking and "other inappropriate behaviors," Hanneke said.
"None of the reported complaints involved physical contact or solicitation of any sort," he said.
Other than the prepared statement, the archdiocese would not respond to questions.
Vatterott, who could not be reached for comment, has been the pastor of St. Cecilia Catholic Church, a parish popular with Latinos at 5418 Louisiana Avenue, since 2008. Before that, he ministered at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin.
Ballwin Police Sgt. Jim Heldmann confirmed that a complaint has been made against Vatterott but he would not go into details.
"It's the very opening stages of an investigation," he said.
Meanwhile, parents who know Vatterott well were confused Friday, with unanswered attempts to verify rumors.
One mother whose children attended the pre-K through 8th-grade school at Holy Infant said Vatterott was wildly popular there with youth.
"He just walked on water, which is kind of creepy about the whole thing," she said, asking not to be named.
She said many youth stayed in touch with him after he moved to St. Cecilia via email and other electronic devices.
"We as parents need to know what's going on here because we have children who he befriended and he bonded with," she said.
Vatterott was ordained in 2003 by then-St. Louis Archbishop Justin Rigali.
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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests