TN--Predator priest passes, bishop is silent; Victims respond

For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790314 645 5915 home,

Lexington Catholic officials are being callous and secretive about the death of a predator priest. We hope they will reverse course and tell the public about his passing. And we hope his death will prompt others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes – or crimes by other clerics- to come forward.

Fr. John B. Modica passed away a year ago.

As best we can tell, Kentucky Catholic officials did little or nothing to publicize this fact, putting their own comfort and convenience ahead of the pain of Fr. Modica’s victims. Shame on them.
We learned this news from an ex-nun in Kentucky (We also confirmed it on-line). That’s sad. Parents, parishioners and the public should have learned this from Lexington Bishop John Stowe. Why? Because a caring shepherd would do. And because that’s what the official US church abuse policy purportedly requires: “openness and transparency” in clergy sex abuse cases.
We are glad that Fr. Modica can no longer hurt kids. We’re glad too that his victims can hopefully sleep better at night knowing that he can’t assault any more children. More of them could sleep better, and could have done so months ago, had Bishop Stowe and his staff been honest. 
We hope that all of Fr. Modica’s victims – whether hurt long ago or more recently - find the strength and courage to step forward, get help, expose wrongdoing and start healing. And we hope they find consolation.
Now that he’s passed on, we hope all Lexington Catholic officials will be more forthcoming about Fr. Modica’s crimes and about those who ignored, concealed and enabled them.
When he was promoted to head the Lexington diocese, we were pessimistic that Bishop Stowe would do much to promote healing and safety. Now, he has an easy chance to prove us wrong. We hope he does. 
Months ago, he should have used church bulletins, parish websites, pulpit announcements and news releases to announce Fr. Modica’s death. He can and still should do so now, while at the same time disclosing other information about the status and whereabouts of the six other publicly accused Lexington diocese predator priests: Fr. William J. Fedders, Fr. Stephen Gallenstein, Edward Francis Murray, Fr. Leonard B. Nienaber, Fr. William G. Poole, Fr. Carl C. Schaffer and Fr. Modica. (We suspect there are at least a dozen more Lexington area priest, nuns, seminarians and church staff whose crimes remain hidden.)
It’s worth noting that a brave Lexington man, Sam Greywolf, succeeded in getting Circuit Court Judge Mary Noble to release long-secret church files showing diocesan cover ups of Fr. Modica’s crimes. All Kentucky families owe Greywolf their gratitude for bravely pulling back the tight veil of shameful secrets in the Lexington diocese.
Here’s an entry about Fr. Modica from, an independent, on-line archive of the church abuse and cover up crisis: Diocese warned several times between 1975-1978 re Modica's behavior. He was accused in 12/78 of smuggling marijuana to a 20-year-old male inmate at a State Reformatory. Pleaded guilty and received therapy in NM and brief jail sentence, then reassigned. Sued 2003. Accused of abuse of a teenage male in mid-1970s. Civil suit went up to Court of Appeals which denied plaintiff's claim 8/5/11. Other cases have been settled with diocese. Died 10/30/15.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy 
abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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 - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,

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