Three more publicly accused abusers are “outed”
Three more publicly accused abusers are “outed”
All were left off Norwich’s list of clergy with "allegations of substance"
Victims want Catholic officials to “come fully clean now”
SNAP to CT officials: “Remove time limits for abuse victims”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names and histories of three publicly accused child molesters who worked in the Norwich Catholic Archdiocese but were left off a just-posted list of those with "allegations of substance."
They will also call on Connecticut’s Church officials to
- include the three new names on the diocese’s list,
- give more details about each abuser, especially their photos, current whereabouts and full work histories and
- They will also urge Connecticut’s political officials to act, specifically prodding
- CT legislators to totally remove the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse and open a permanent civil window, and
- CT law enforcement agencies, especially the attorney general, to work harder to investigate and pursue charges against clergy who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids.
Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 1:00 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 213 Broadway, Norwich, CT
Three victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including Gail Howard, the group's volunteer Connecticut leader
1) SNAP has found three publicly accused abusive clerics who were in the Norwich diocese but have been left off the just-released list of clergy with "allegations of substance" put out by church officials on Sunday. These are in addition to the six who were discovered and ‘outed’ by The Day newspaper in New London.
SNAP wants these three names added to Norwich’s list:
--Fr. George St. Jean, who reportedly sexually assaulted John Labbe about 100 times as a boy growing up in Colebrook NH in the 1960s, according to a civil lawsuit. The public record reveals additional complaints from or about other victims as well. Fr. St. Jean, who is dead, was a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Official Catholic Directory for both 1961 and 1962 list George St. Jean as a Diocese of Norwich priest assigned to the Immaculate Retreat House in Willimantic, CT.
--Fr. Kieran T. Ahearn, who worked in New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and in three Connecticut parishes in the 1980s and 1990s, one in the Norwich diocese (St. Pius X in Middletown) and two in the Bridgeport diocese (St. Luke's Church in Westport and St. Mary's Church in Bethel). In 1993, Fr. Ahearn was arrested and charged with molesting a 16 year old he picked up while on a skiing vacation. He was found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and sentenced to two years probation. A civil suit was filed against Fr. Ahearn in 1995 and he died in 1997.
--Fr. Joseph Owens, a Jesuit who despite admitting abuse, was kept on the job in Honduras until 2006. He was first ‘outed’ just last month when his church superiors posted a list of ‘credibly accused’ clerics. He worked in Middlefield CT (at a place called New Coalition) and for many years in the Caribbean and Central America.
Since Norwich’s list was published on Sunday, The Day newspaper of New London subsequently identified three more clergy members, two religious brothers, and a counselor with Catholic Family Services who have been accused of sexually assaulting minors: Fr. Eugene Solega, Fr. Donat Jette, Fr, Donald Petraitis, Brother J. Paul McGlade, Brother Donald P. Alford, and James Liberty.
2) SNAP is urging Norwich Catholic officials to “take the next step” and aggressively “reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by all of these clerics.” The group says the diocese should use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements, so that the abusers “might be criminally charged, convicted and kept away from kids.”
3) For public safety, SNAP believes church officials should give parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public the whereabouts, photos and detailed work histories of ALL accused of child molestation. This is especially important because ousted abusers often seek other jobs or volunteer posts that put them in touch with other vulnerable families. Sometimes, child molesters legally change their names or start using middle names or nicknames to go “under the radar” and then molest again, SNAP says.
4) SNAP wants Connecticut’s attorney general to launch a statewide investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the state.
5) SNAP says it usually takes child sex abuse victims decades to come to terms with their abuse and find the courage to speak up. Studies show that the average age to disclose is 52, with the median age 48. For these reasons, SNAP believes that both the criminal and the civil SOLs should be permanently eliminated in Connecticut. The group also would like to see a permanent civil window opened, to allow those already beyond the civil SOL the chance to protect kids by exposing those who commit and conceal child sex crimes. In 2016, Guam adopted such a window.
CONTACT: Gail Howard, Volunteer CT SNAP Leader (email@example.com, 203-644-0387), David Clohessy, Volunteer St. Louis SNAP Leader (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314-566-9790), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)