Victims ‘out’ five more accused Springfield priests
Victims ‘out’ five more accused Spgfld priests
They are not on diocese’s alleged offenders’ list
Group blasts central IL Catholic officials on abuse
But in a twist, SNAP backs Paprocki’s plan for accused bishops
"But the real answer," group insists, "is prosecution & legal reform"
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that five more publicly accused priests were left off the Springfield diocese’s ‘accused’ list. Each spent time in central Illinois but has attracted little or no media or public attention before in the state.
In an unusual move, the group will also announce that it backs a proposal by Springfield’s bishop to set up a new national church panel that would investigate abuse allegations made against bishops. It contradicts a plan being pushed by Illinois’ top Catholic official, Cardinal Blasé Cupich ofChicago.
And the victims will call on local Catholic officials to
--post names of ALL accused priests on their diocesan website,
--include details like their work histories, whereabouts and photos, and
--join with victims in pushing for real legislative reform, like repealing Illinois' "archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations" so survivors can do what bishops will not do: expose child molesters in court.
Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 524 E. Lawrence in Springfield IL
Two – three victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a St. Louis man who was the group's former long time executive director
1) SNAP has discovered and is disclosing the names of five more publicly accused abusive priests who spent time in central Illinois but are not on the official Springfield diocesan ‘accused’ list. For the most part, these three ‘new’ alleged predators were ‘outed’ in news accounts, through litigation and/or by Catholic officials elsewhere. But each was in the Springfield diocese at one point and so, SNAP says, should be added to Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s ‘accused’ list. The three new names are:
--Fr. Noel Shaughnessy whose name was included in a list of 17 clergy who have been accused of sexual abuse or misconduct with a child in the St. Paul archdiocese released in 2015.
He was in Quincy in 1952 and at St. Joseph Seminary in 1961, both in the Springfield IL diocese.
--Fr. Thomas Gardner, whose name was publicly released in 2015 as one of 17 names of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse or misconduct with a minor in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. He worked in St. Louis MO, Chaska, MN, in three Illinois towns (Oak Brook, Chicago and Lombard) and in the Franciscan Foreign Missions (1990-2002).
In 1983, Fr. Gardner was at Our Lady of Angels Franciscan Seminary in Quincy.
--Fr. Thomas S. McShane, who was named in 2018 by his Jesuit supervisors as having been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. He taught physics at Creighton University in Nebraska from 1963 to 2013 and was accused in 2001 of abuse that occurred in 1950 in South Dakota.
From 1961-1962, he was at St. Joseph Hall in Decatur.
--Fr. Scott Kallal, a native of Jerseyville IL (near Alton) who is a member of the Rome-based Apostles of the Interior Life. He was at an Overland ParkKS parish when he was suspended in 2017 after two people complained of inappropriate conduct by him, one an 11-year-old girl. Fr. Kallal denied "moral misconduct or malicious intent" but was arrested at a church treatment center in Maryland and charged with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He was set to go to trial this month but the case has been delayed.
--Fr. Francis A. Benham, who first faced an abuse allegation in 1979. He was then sent for treatment and returned to ministry. From 1979-85, he was assigned to the Columbus Diocese. In 1985, Benham left the priesthood and in 2005, he pled guilty to molesting a 15-year-old boy and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl in the late 1970s. He was sentenced to two concurrent 10-year sentences, then all but 18 months were suspended, Benham was defrocked in 2005 and released from prison in 2006, followed by three years probation. He was put on the sex offender registry.
He also worked and lived in Lincoln IL, where he was a certified child care provider with the state Department of Human Services. In 2012, he was cited by Illinois authorities for practicing clinical psychology without a license.
Last year, he was included on the Washington DC archdiocese list of accused clerics and last month, he was listed on the Columbus diocese's accused list.
According to a notice on the Springfield diocesan website, Benham “has been seen in the Springfield area posing as a priest” and “His address inLincoln is within the boundary of the Peoria diocese which borders the Diocese of Springfield.”
2) Paprocki wants to set up a new, independent lay panel to investigate bishops who are accused of abuse. Cupich wants ‘metropolitan’ prelates (from larger dioceses) to investigate ‘sufferagan’ bishops (from smaller dioceses) when the latter are alleged to have molested kids. The Vaticanseems to lean towards the Cupich plan but SNAP reluctantly supports the Paprocki plan. The real solution, SNAP says, is two-fold: first, make any sexual contact between clerics and congregants – of any age – illegal, and second, make sure that law enforcement is immediately notified and allowed to investigation reports of clergy sexual crimes, misdeeds and cover ups.
The Springfield diocese includes much of central Illinois and covers 28 counties.