Victims blast Mississippi bishop

Victims blast Mississippi bishop

“He should disclose accused priests’ names,” they say

SNAP: “And he should include their photos & whereabouts

Group ‘outs’ two alleged abusive clerics; one lives here now



Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

disclose the names of two publicly accused priests who are or were in the Jackson diocese but have largely been ‘under the radar.’

They will also prod Jackson Catholic officials to

--reveal the names of ALL priests who have proven, admitted or ‘credible' allegations of child sexual abuse,

--permanently and prominently post their photos, whereabouts and work histories on church websites, and

--‘aggressively reach out’ to anyone who may have been hurt by church staff.


Tuesday, March 5 at 3:00 PM


On the sidewalk outside the Jackson Catholic diocese headquarters, 237 E Amite St, Jackson, MS 39201


Two-three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Mississippi man who is the organization’s local volunteer leader and who was molested as a child by a Mississippi priest and is breaking his church-imposed ‘gag order’ again


1--Half of all US bishops (including Biloxi’s) have revealed and posted names of accused abusive clerics. (Earlier this month, all of the dioceses in Virginia, Texas, New Jersey and Louisiana did this. Last week, Brooklyn’s bishop did as well.) It’s a ‘bare minimum step’ toward protecting kids, SNAP says.

Two US bishops did this 17 years ago, but Jackson’s bishop still has not. SNAP wants him to do this immediately, and include photos, whereabouts and full work histories of the accused.


2--SNAP is also drawing attention to two publicly accused priests who molested elsewhere, are or were in Mississippi but have attracted little or no attention in the state. They are:

--Fr. Thomas Lind, who was living in Jackson in 2012 and was put on leave after allegations in a South Dakota civil lawsuit said that he had abused kids at a Native American school in the 1970s. Church officials deemed the charges were "not credible" in 2011 and put him back on the job. Later his supervisors said that the allegation was actually "unsubstantiated."

--Fr. Ernest Justin Hill, who worked in six Mississippi towns: Carthage, Kiln, Catahoula, Fenton, Rocky Hill and White Cypress. He was suspended by church officials in 1994 for refusing to undergo psychological testing. In 1999, he was accused of sexually abusing a child in Maine in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

He also worked in the Paterson NJ, Richmond VA, Covington KY, Boston MA, Portland ME, Oklahoma City and Tulsa OK dioceses and belonged to a religious order called the Missionaries of the Most Holy Trinity based in Arlington VA.

For the safety of kids, SNAP wants Bishop Joseph Kopacz, to warn his flock about these two men.


3--SNAP is also calling on “anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups by Brother Paul West, who was deemed credibly accused of child sex abuse last summer by church figures. He’s a Franciscan, and their regional headquarters is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The order is run by Fr. James Gannon., an on-line archive about the clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis, lists seven other publicly accused abusive Jackson clerics (besides West): Fr. Thomas Boyce, Fr. George Broussard, Fr. Bernard Haddican, Fr. James Kircher, Br. William Leimbach, Fr. Paul Madden and Fr. Robert Olivier.


CONTACT: Mark Belenchia, Volunteer MS SNAP Leader (601-953-2535, [email protected]), David Clohessy. Volunteer SNAP Leader (314-566-9790, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(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 

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant