SNAP to bishop: "Get up, go to parishes, do outreach!"

  • SNAP to Finn: Do outreach now
  • Group wants serial predator jailed
  • He’s accused of molesting 27 children
  • One of them, suit says, committed suicide
  • Pedophile priest might be prosecuted, victims say
  • But that won’t likely happen unless bishop takes action
  • SNAP: “Go to each parish & beg victims & witnesses to call cops”

In the wake of a new lawsuit charging that a priest’s child sex crimes caused a boy’s suicide, clergy sex abuse victims are renewing their call for Kansas City church officials to reach out to others who have been molested and urge them to call police.

The cleric, Msgr. Thomas J. O’Brien, has been named in at least 27 civil lawsuits yet remains a priest. Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, think that even though O’Brien’s been out of ministry for years, he can likely still be prosecuted, especially if Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn takes action.

“In the face of all this credible evidence that O’Brien repeatedly violated kids, it’s immoral for Finn to passively sit in his office and do nothing but brainstorm with his lawyers about how to beat wounded victims in court,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director.

“This isn’t rocket science. Finn knows what a caring shepherd would do here,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director. “Finn should personally go to each parish where O’Brien worked, look his flock in the eye, and beg them – clearly and emphatically – to call police if they have any knowledge or suspicions about O’Brien’s crimes.”

The bishop should also turn over O’Brien’s personnel file to law enforcement agencies in every county where O’Brien spent time, Dorris said. And Finn should use his website, diocesan newspaper and parish bulletins to reach out to

“The bishop has a public relations staff,” she continued. “It would be quick, simple and easy for Finn to stand up before cameras and say ‘I worry that Msgr. O’Brien may still be hurting kids. I implore you to call police and prosecutors now if you saw, suspected or suffered his crimes.’ How hard is this?”

Such outreach often works, SNAP contends, and successfully encourages those who are silent to speak up.

“Child molesters rarely stop,” said Clohessy. “We’re convinced that O’Brien has committed crimes that are recent enough that the statute of limitations hasn’t expired. Someone must reach out to those younger victims, and no one can do that better than Catholic officials.”

“Kansas City Catholic officials recruited, educated, ordained, trained, hired, shielded and transferred O’Brien, giving him more and more opportunities to sexually assault kids,” said Dorris. “It’s irresponsible for those church officials to now sit passively back and do nothing while O’Brien lives out his retirement comfortably among unsuspecting families and vulnerable kids and while many of O’Brien’s victims live out their lives in pain.”

SNAP is renewing its call for church outreach in the wake of a new civil suit filed yesterday by the parents of Brian Teeman. They say Teeman committed suicide after being sexually abused by O’Brien.

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