Victims seek archbishop’s help, Group wants all Maryland predators ‘outed’
Victims seek archbishop’s help
Group wants all Maryland predators ‘outed’
Some priests aren’t on his ‘credibly accused’ list
They’re deemed ‘credibly accused’ by other bishops
SNAP: “Stop splitting hairs start protecting kids”
One of cleric, an admitted predator, has a church post
All the ‘missing’ prists were in MD but were ‘outed’ elsewhere
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will reveal that some Maryland predator priests are not on the archdiocesan ‘accused’ list. And they will challenge the Baltimore’s archbishop to
--add them to the archdiocesan website, and
--post the alleged offenders’ photos, whereabouts and full work histories, so kids will be safer and victims will feel validated.
Victims will also disclose that previously-hidden presence of an admitted abusive cleric who is in DC, was in Baltimore, and recently held a church leadership position.
The group will also call on Maryland lawmakers to reform or repeal the state’s “archaic, predator-friendly” laws (like the statute of limitations) and set up a two or three year ‘civil window,’ to enable victims to protect kids by exposing wrongdoers in court.
Monday, July 29 at noon
On the sidewalk outside the Baltimore archdiocesan headquarters (“chancery”), 320 Cathedral St. (corner of W. Mulberry) in Baltimore (410 547 5555)
Three-four clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri man who was the organization’s long time executive director and a Bowie man who is the group’s volunteer Maryland leader. (Both were molested by clergy.)
1) An admitted predator priest now lives in Washington DC, was in Baltimore as recently as 2003, and held a church leadership post just a few years ago. He’s supposedly been “permanently removed from ministry,” according to a news report and a New York-based Catholic order known as the Marists. https://www.societyofmaryusa.org/
In 1995, Atlanta Catholic officials announced that Fr. Philip S. Gage had been removed two years earlier from his post at the Marist School because of allegations that he molested a 17 year old student there in 1989. Later, church staff learned of another possible victim who was 18 at the time of the alleged abuse. They reportedly sent 7,000 letters to alums about the abuse report, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/1995_05_19_White_SchoolReveals_Philip_Gage_1.htm
Fr. Gage was then sent to a church facility in Maryland. Last year, his name was put on the Wheeling WV diocesan website as a “credibly accused” molester. (From 1979-81, he worked in Wheeling, WV.)
According to the Marist website, in 2017, he was a member of the Council of the Province and was pictured with other top Marist officials, including Fr. William Rowland, who is the current president of Marist School and a member of the same council. Fr. Rowland was also working at the Marist School when Fr. Gage’s abuse surfaced.
Fr. Gage’s photo – and other information about him – is at BishopAccountability.org. He was ordained in 1969 and may have also been in Atlanta around 2009.
The Marists can be reached at 718 480 1306, MaristUSACommunications@gmail.com.
2) SNAP is disclosing information about several more ‘credibly accused’ abusive priests who were/are in Maryland but are NOT on the Baltimore archdiocesan list of such clerics. Some were left off because parts of eastern Maryland technically belong to the Delaware diocese, not the Maryland archdiocese. For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, SNAP wants Archbishop William Lori of Maryland to list every credibly accused cleric who was in Maryland, regardless of which church entity supervised im.
Some of these omissions leave SNAP wondering how many other proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics are or were in Maryland and are still being hidden by church officials.
The new names are:
--Fr. Wayland Brown, who spent most of his career in Georgia but was in Maryland twice: at a church treatment center in 1986 and at St. Rose of Lima in Gaithersburg MD in the mid-1970s. According to court records, Fr. Brown put a gun to a victim’s head, threatened to kill him, his family and his dog, and liked killing small animals. In 2018, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for abuse and died behind bars three months ago. Last year, he was put on Savannah diocesan ‘accused’ list.
--Fr. Francis A. Benham, a priest who was accused in 1979, sent to treatment, returned to ministry, defrocked in 2005, and put on lists of credibly accused molesters last year in both DC and Ohio. In 2005, he pled guilty to molesting a 15 year old and sodomizing a 13 year old. In 2006, he was released from prison. In 2012, he got in trouble for practicing psychology without a license. Fr. Benham also worked in Illinois and Ohio and lived in Lincoln MD.
--Fr. Arthur J. O'Brien, who was ordained in 1983, went to seminary in Massachusetts, and from 1983-1984 he worked at St. Pius parish in Bowie where he was accused of molesting at least one child. He also worked in Alabama and Hawaii, where he pled no contest to child sex abuse charges involving several kids.
For many years, he was listed in the Official Catholic Directory as “on special assignment,” “on leave of absence,” “on duty outside the diocese” or even “unknown. He may have also lived in Florida and he died in 2011.
--Fr. Eugene F. Clarahan, who was at Good Shepherd parish in Perryville MD in the 1980s. In 2006, he was included on a list of credibly accused abusive priests who had been inDelaware. He also worked in Denton, Ridgely, Rising Sun and Port Deposit, all in Maryland.
In 1978, Fr. Clarahan was sent to another parish, in 1993, he was suspended from ministry and in 1999 he died. In 2008, three separate abuse and cover up lawsuits were filed against him (charging abuse in 1950s and 1960s) and in 2012, his personnel files were publicly released. He was arrested in Delaware, but had the case transferred to Maryland. He lost his Delaware license, but kept his Maryland license.
SNAP wants Lori to add these clerics – and others - to his ‘accused’ list even though they may technically be a part of the Delaware diocese, not the Maryland archdiocese. When victims are able to deal with their abuse, decades later, many will recall the name of their predator and/or their diocese, but will be unaware which diocese they were in. So they’ll look for lists of pedophile priests in the Maryland archdiocese, not the Delaware diocese, since they live/lived in Maryland.
3) The Baltimore archdiocese was once a “trailblazer,” SNAP says, disclosing predator priests long before other Catholic institutions ever did (back in 2002). Now, the group wants the archdiocese to again “take the lead” by taking two steps.
First, insisting that every religious order working in Maryland also lists their predator priests on their websites. This is especially important because 30% of all US priests belong to these religious orders (like Jesuits, Marianists, Franciscans, etc) and because the umbrella organization over these hundreds of orders is in Maryland. (It’s the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in Greenbelt, 301 588 4030, email@example.com.)
Lori should also insist that all Catholic religious orders who work within his archdiocese post the names of accused child molesters on their websites. Although a majority of bishops have reluctantly and partially done this, only a handful of religious orders have. (More than 20 orders work in the Baltimore archdiocese. https://www.archbalt.org/clergy-personnel-division/communities-of-religious-men/)
Jefferson City MO Bishop Shawn McKnight has done this. SNAP wants Lori to do the same.
Second, permanently and prominently posting on parish websites (not just the archdiocesan site) the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of all church child molesters (bishops, monks, seminarians, nuns, priests and lay employees like parochial school teachers and coaches). The Philadelphia archdiocese does this (see below).
4) SNAP will also push Maryland lawmakers to eliminate or extend the state's archaic, predator-friendly child safety laws like the statute of limitations and especially to create a multi-year civil 'window' that would enable victims to expose those who commit and conceal heinous violence against kids. Maryland is ranked in the lower 20% of states, according to one source, based on its abuse statutes (ahead of Mississippi and Alabama). http://sol-reform.com/
SNAP wants Lori to renounce the “backwards” step taken last year on child sex abuse in Maryland in what SNAP calls “one of the sneakiest moves ever made by Catholic officials.” They also want Lori to work with – not against – a coalition representing victims to provide a five year ‘civil window.”
SNAP Conference Postponed to September
As cases of COVID-19 continue to dominate the headlines, affect the way we work and play, and force changes to our daily lives, we have decided to postpone the SNAP Annual Conference from July until September. We are now planning to hold the conference from September 25 - 27 and it will still be held in Denver, CO.
In order to help make this change easier, we will be charging only $99 for registration from now through June 30. Stay tuned for updates and register today on our conference page.SNAP Conference Postponed to September