Saturday, November 14, 2009

Message from Ann Brentwood

Dear SNAP associates, As of November 9, I am officially resigned, retired, and only minimally available to the SNAP organization. I am presently hospitalized, paralyzed from the waist down, will not be returning to my home, and will not be answering any phone calls made to my home telephone number. All commitments that I have made to meet with the district attorney's in North Carolina, and elsewhere, do press conferences in Louisville, Memphis, Savannah and other places are here by voided. The people involved, as in district attorneys, press people, and significant participants need to be notified of this information by the specific parties involved other than myself. I have extended my cell phone minutes so that I may be contacted by cell phone, but this should be used for limited important issues only. Needless to say, I am involved in many medical procedures and may not be able to return calls in a timely manner. My present predicted life expectancy is two months, possibly six weeks. Therefore, any commitments made past that time are for sure null and void. In other words, gang, you are on your own. Many of you who were made aware of this approaching demise will understand. It has moved more quickly than I had hoped and some of you will be caught off guard regarding this information. I apologize for that but no matter what I said people just didn't seem to believe I was going to die so soon. I have loved every minute of working with each of you and have felt very honored to have known and enjoyed the trust of sharing and growing with you. You have made a difference and children will be safer in the future because of your efforts. Lovingly submitted, Ann Brentwood (865) 607-6119 P.S. There will be a planned celebration of life memorial service and notification will be sent to you in the future. For those who are willing and able, your presence would be appreciated.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fugitive sex offender, former priest arrested in California

For immediate release: Monday, Nov. 17, 2008

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)

Once again we see a pedophile priest getting no supervision by the church hierarchy and going on to commit more crimes. We're seeing this pattern more and more and expect this trend will accelerate.

This is why predator priests, when convicted, need long sentences. Most of them are compulsively driven to commit more sex crimes.

We hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered Sherwood's crimes will gain the strength to come forward, get help and call police.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact:
David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)

******
Fugitive sex offender, former priest arrested in California

12:09 PM Mountain Standard Time on Monday, November 17, 2008

PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the Department of Justice U.S. Marshals:

Late yesterday morning Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers from the Phoenix based Child Predator Apprehension Team in addition to the Northern California Fugitive Task Force arrested fugitive sex offender and former Catholic Priest Wilputte Alanson Sherwood, 63, as he was leaving the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco, California.

Wilputte Sherwood was originally convicted in 1993 of Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and Dangerous Crimes against Children in Maricopa County.  It was alleged that Sherwood kept extensive logs and video tapes of many of his sexual encounters with numerous underage boys.  Sherwood subsequently served 10 years in an Arizona prison and was released in 2003.  It has been reported Sherwood targeted over 3600 individuals for sexual interludes spanning 12 years and five different parishes.  It is estimated Sherwood had over 1800 sexual affairs resulting from Sherwood roaming the streets of Phoenix targeting hitchhikers and runaways.    Upon his release Sherwood was placed on lifetime probation and was required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.  In 2005, Sherwood absconded from probation and fled the Phoenix area not be heard from again until yesterday.  In March 2008, Sherwood was named as the Most Wanted Sex Offender by the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department.

Recently Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers from both Phoenix, AZ and San Francisco, CA conducted a joint fugitive investigation which developed information that Sherwood was residing in the Castro District in San Francisco.  Yesterday morning Deputies and Task Force Officers established surveillance on Sherwood and followed him to a local San Francisco church where he was positively identified.  After the service, Sherwood was arrested without incident.  Sherwood was booked into a California jail, where he awaits extradition proceedings for his return to Arizona.  Sherwood is also pending federal charges for failing to register as a sex offender.

United States Marshal David Gonzales praised the work of Deputies and law enforcement officers adding, "The U.S. Marshals, along with our state and local partners, will spare no expense in going after predators like Wilputte Sherwood.  We are committed to making sure those who are required to register as sex offenders are held accountable for their failure to do so."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Predatory minister is suspended; sex abuse victims announce

Predatory minister is suspended; sex abuse victims announce

After 2 years, church determines he molested a young girl

Signed verdict includes finding that pastor obtained tattoo on his buttocks with victim’s initials

He’s also just resigned as divinity school admissions director

Despite a $100,000 payment to victim, he remained a pastor for months

But self-help group now wants his former congregants to know he’s guilty

SNAP urges others who saw, suspected or suffered his misdeeds to come forward

WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will announce that

- a formal church trial about a child molesting clergyman has ended,

- he’s been deemed guilty on all counts and is now suspended, and

- he’s also resigned his position at a local divinity school.

They will also urge others who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by the predator to contact law enforcement, speak up and get help.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 13, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: On the sidewalk in front of the Presbyterian headquarters (‘presbytery’), 100 S Morgan (by Monroe Street)

WHO: A 37 year old Minnesota woman, her relatives, and several members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including the organization's founder and president

VISUALS:
The group will provide copies of legal letters/documents, a photo of predator and childhood photo of victim

WHY: After a two year process, an ecclesiastical trial has found a Chicago minister, Rev. Ron M. Campbell, guilty of molesting a girl in the late 1980s. (He’s the former pastor of the Elmwood Park Presbyterian Church.) The verdict includes a statement regarding the tattoo Campbell has on his buttocks with the victim’s initials inside a heart.

In July 2007 officials with the Chicago regional Presbyterian office paid Julie Hokanson $100,000 because of the childhood sexual abuse she suffered from Campbell. Yet for months, Campbell was still allowed to work as a pastor.

SNAP now wants church officials to notify Campbell’s former congregants of the verdict.

The crimes took place in 1984 -1988 at the First Presbyterian Church of River Forest in River Forest beginning when the victim was 14 years old. She met Campbell through membership at his church.

Top Presbytery officials include Rev. Robert C Reynolds (Executive Presbyter), Presbytery of Chicago, 100 South Morgan, Chicago, 312-243-8300, Rev. Barbara Bundick (Stated Clerk), 10412 Lucas Rd, Woodstock, (815) 337-9068.

Campell’s attorney is James Betke (now retired), a session member of First Presbyterian Church of River Forest during the time the abuse took place, home: 530 N. East Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302. 708-386-5603

Copies of the church’s final “Signed Verdict" & other documents will be provided:

Rev. Campbell worked as the Director of Admissions for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Trinity Graduate School in Deerfield, IL until as late as last week.

Hokanson is married, has 3 children and works as an appraiser in a MN suburb.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2008/03_04/2008_04_23_Lee_ChurchCourt.htm

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP National President (312) 399 4747 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566 9790 cell

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rembert Weakland, in first ever video testimony, details sex abuse fraud by archdiocese

Rembert Weakland, in first ever video testimony, details sex abuse fraud by archdiocese

In response to recent archdiocesan claims, SNAP releasing DVD of court deposition taken in June, 2008

Church officials argue archdiocese won’t get a “fair trial” in fraud cases because “key players” in cover up are dead

However, Weakland, very much alive, tells of 25 years of sex crimes by priests and concealment from parishes

WHAT

Leaders of SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, will screen, discuss and release to the public an approximately 15 minute DVD containing video taped testimony of former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland taken during a nine hour court deposition this summer by Attorney Jeffery Anderson.  SNAP urged the release of the deposition in response to published claims by the archdiocese this week that because “key players” in the sex abuse cover ups are dead, church officials are not going to get a “fair trial” in the fraud cases recently filed against the archdiocese by childhood rape victims of four Milwaukee priests.

This is the first time that Weakland has answered questions under oath concerning his nearly 25 year involvement with dozens of priest sex offenders under his supervision while archbishop from 1977 to 2002.  Weakland resigned in 2002 after it was learned that had paid a half a million dollars in hush money to a man who says Weakland sexually abused him as an adult.  Weakland denies the abuse and calls the sexual relationship “inappropriate.”

WHERE
The Healing Center, 611 W. National Avenue - 4th Floor (parking also available behind the building)

WHEN

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 11:00 a.m.

WHO
Survivors of childhood sexual molestation by Milwaukee clergy who are members of SNAP, including its long time Midwest Director, accompanied by the Wisconsin and Milwaukee Directors.

WHY
In 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that victims could sue bishops and church officials for fraud  after a twelve year, 1st amendment ban on civil claims against state religious leaders and supervisors who covered up for sexually abusive clergy. 

Although fraud is challenging to prove and only permits a small percentage of Wisconsin victims to file claims, nine childhood victims of four Milwaukee priests have met the legal guidelines for fraud claims and for the first time in over a decade, sexual abuse cases are proceeding against bishops and church leaders in the Milwaukee archdiocese.

The current cases involve some of the most notorious, career pedophile priests from the archdiocese:  Frs. Franklyn Becker, Douglas MacArthur, Siegfried Widera, and Bruce Murphy.  Murphy, who ran a boarding school for deaf children, is deceased, as is Widera, who jumped to his death in 2004 as federal authorities were about to arrest him.  Becker lives in Mayville, Wisconsin and MacArthur was convicted of child sex assault this summer in Juneau County.

During nearly the entire time that these four priests were assaulting children they were under the direct supervision of Archbishop Rembert Weakland.  At least 60 diocesan and religious order clergy have been acknowledged by church authorities to have assaulted children and minors over the past three decades, most of them perpetrated their crimes while Weakland was archbishop from 1977 to 2002.  Weakland himself resigned from his position in the spring of 2002 when it was learned that in 1999 he had paid a former seminarian nearly $500,000 in a hush money settlement for what Weakland called an “inappropriate relationship”.

For two days this June, Weakland testified under oath for the first time as to his knowledge of sexually abusive priests. He describes repeatedly and in detail how he and archdiocesan officials did not report criminal activity against children by priests to the police or civil authorities, concealed from parishes and the public their knowledge of clergy child molesters and, without giving notice, transferred known clergy offenders into new assignments, where they again raped and sexually abused children and minors.

SNAP is releasing the Weakland video to counter the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s misleading statements posted on their website this week, including claims that church officials cannot get a “fair trail” in the upcoming fraud cases because the “key people” involved in the abuse cover up are dead.

Weakland claims that the current Archbishop in charge of abusive priests and prevention policy, Timothy Dolan, has not once met with him to discuss his involvement or knowledge of current and former priest abusers that Dolan is now in charge of.  

Dolan authorized 17 million dollars in settlements in 2006 for some ten California victims of Milwaukee priests who were transferred out of Wisconsin after they had been caught sexually abusing children.  Over half those settlements were paid by insurance.  This August, however, a Milwaukee County Judge ruled that the fraud cases against the archdiocese were not covered by insurance.

CONTACT

Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee), 414.429.7259, cell
Mary Guentner, SNAP Wisconsin Director, 414.418.3191, cell
John Pilmaier, SNAP Milwaukee Director, 414.336.8575, cell
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director (St. Louis), 314.566.9790, cell
Attorney Jeff Anderson (St. Paul), 651.227.9990, office; 612.817.8665, cell
Attorney Mike Finnegan (St. Paul), 651.227.9990, office; 612.205.5531, cell

*************
Video in its entirety is posted at this link.

*************
See video below in 4 parts








All four parts of the video may be found at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/snapnetwork2

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Most Dangerous US Predator Priests Walking Free – a SNAP Fact Sheet (11/08)

Most Dangerous US Predator Priests Walking Free – a SNAP Fact Sheet (11/08)

MD – Fr. Fernando Cristancho
In 2001, he sexually exploited and impregnated Dalia Fernandez. She gave birth to triplets and he molested two of them in 2005-06, according to a ruling by Maryland's second highest court (the Court of Special Appeals). The court gave custody of the six-year-old triplets to Fernandez. The priest is originally from and worked in Virginia and Maryland. In 2004, the Baltimore archdiocese apparently revoked his permission to act as a priest.
http://www.mddailyrecord.com/article.cfm?id=8916&type=UTTM
http://www.baltimoreexaminer.com/local/crime/Priest_loses_custody_of_triplets.html
Details: Becky Ianni of Northern Virginia SNAP 703 801 6044

MA, NY, MD: - Fr. A.J. Cote
He is accused in a civil lawsuit of molesting two Massachusetts boys in 2005. While committing those crimes, he was on suspension for also sexually abusing a Maryland boy in 2001-02. That boy settled his civil lawsuit against Cote and his employers (the Dominicans) in 2007 for $1.2 million. Cote is believed to be living in western Massachusetts or Manhattan.
Details: Attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul MN 651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell

AZ – Msgr. Dale Fushek
(http://www.kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=8482564)
He is awaiting trial early next year on seven "misdemeanor sex charges" stemming from his relationships with five boys in the 1980s and '90s, including indecent exposure, assault and contributing to the "delinquency of a minor," according to news accounts. For years, he traveled the country promoting the 'Life Teen' program he founded. In January 2008, Phoenix's archbishop warned Catholics to avoid the new church Fushek started and still runs.
Details: Attorney Stuart Mermelstein of Miami 305 931 2200

NY – New York City - Msgr. Wallace Harris

In August of this year, he was forced to step down as pastor because of allegations of sexual abuse. He now faces ten accusers but many of his parishioners have rallied around him and have basically erected a shrine to him outside his former church.

Harris is charismatic and well connected in both political and church circles. (New York's governor is a parishioner and Harris helped plan the Pope's spring 2008 visit to NY.)
Details: Rev. Eric C. Crumbley, founder of Harlem Faith Center in Harlem 516-884-2744

NY – Long Island – Msgr. Alan Placa
In a 2003 grand jury report, Placa is accused of molesting kids himself and of helping other predator priests cover up their own child sex crimes. By virtue of his training (he's a civil and a canon lawyer), his connections across the country (he advised bishops on how to 'handle' abuse cases), and his close relationship with Rudy Giuliani (they're boyhood pals and he's on Rudy's payroll), Placa must be considered very dangerous.
Details: Richard Tollner of Albany, New York 518 724 2462, 518 428 5000, tollner1@aol.com



IL - Fr. Kenneth J. Martin
As recently as last month, Martin, an admitted and convicted child molester, was working and living part time for a close friend who heads the Chicago archdiocese. In 2003, six months after bishops pledged to 'reform' and be 'open' about child sex cases, a reporter discovered Martin lived a week each month with Cardinal Francis George's Gold Coast mansion. In the ensuing public uproar, George said Martin would no longer work for the archdiocese. But George kept Martin on the payroll anyway.
Martin is especially dangerous because he's clearly very close to and favored by George, the current head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Because his conviction was before 1996, when Delaware's sex offender registry was created, Martin doesn't have to register as a sex offender. In the only interview he gave to a reporter, he denied having pled guilty to criminal abuse charges.
Details: David Clohessy of SNAP, 314 566 9790 cell

CA - Fr. Eric Swearingen
In 2006, in a civil trial, a jury found him guilty of molesting then 12 year old Juan Rocha in the late 1980s/early 1990s. (They deadlocked, however, on whether or not church supervisors knew earlier that he was a molester. So the judge declared a mistrial.) Afterwards, he was named rector of a diocesan high school. Now, Swearingen is the pastor of Holy Spirit Church in the Fresno Diocese.
He's still pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Fresno CA:
Details: Dave Drivon of Stockton 209 466 0982, drivonesq@yahoo.com, drivon@drivonlaw.com
Larry Drivon of Stockton 209 644 1234, 209 969 0982 abatare@comcast.net

TX, CO, MO - Brother William Mueller
Just last month, 23 civil lawsuits were settled against this cunning predator, who often used ether to knock teenaged boys out, then sodomize or molest them. Mueller often deceived his victims, claiming to be studying psychology and conducting bizarre 'experiments' about fear and trust. A former Marianist, he walks free now in San Antonio, Texas.
Details: Bryan Bacon of Columbia MO 573 874 7777
Attorney Adam Horowitz and Jeff Herman of Miami 305 931 2200
Attorney Dan Craig of Kansas City 816 221 7772

TX – Fr. Anthony Gonzales
In March, a civil lawsuit against him was settled. He molested at least 15 girls and admits, under oath, fathering at least eight children. After one of his teenaged victims gave birth, Gonzales' Oblate colleagues lied, telling her Gonzales had died. He abused, impregnated and then abandoned a teenager who was living with her mentally ill mother in an abandoned house in Houston.
Gonzales now lives in Taylor Texas (population 15,000) where his sister is the mayor.
Details: Attorney Tahira Khan Merritt of Dallas 214 503 7300

MO – Fr. Thomas M. Reardon
Reardon is the most widely accused predator priest in Missouri, who faces at least 20 accusers in civil lawsuits. He also has a counseling license and until recent years was seeing drug and alcohol-addicted teens as a therapist. Along with his colleague, Fr. Thomas O'Brien, he's accused of holding wild, liquor-laden parties with teens at a remote lake house where perhaps dozens of boys were molested.
Details: Attorney Rebecca Randles of Kansas City 816 931 9900 work


(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 19 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact:  
David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home),
Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747),
Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)

St. Louis: Vianney/Osborne/Marianists

Fact Sheet

Isn’t there just one accuser?

Last November’s Post Dispatch reports two accusers. And a third has come forward recently and filed a police report.
 
Was only sexual abuse alleged?

No, several boys reported that Osborne gave them alcohol. And Osborne admitted keeping liquor in his office at Vianney.
 
Wasn’t he ‘cleared’ by police?

Nope. After a thorough investigation, the police found the allegations credible enough that they forwarded their report to the county prosecutor.
 
But the prosecutor declined to press charges, didn’t he?

Yes he did. Keep in mind several facts: Most criminals are never charged.  Child sex cases are very tough to win. Most prosecutors are reluctant to take on high profile cases where the defendant is a trusted religious figure.

Wasn’t he ‘cleared’ by a church investigation?

This claim, that an accused priest has been ‘cleared’ by a church probe, has been made hundreds of times but they will never reveal how the investigation was carried out, who they spoke with, what evidence was discovered, etc. Why should the church investigate crimes? Isn’t that the job of trained law enforcement professionals?
 
No one from the church ever contacted one of the victim’s therapist, lawyer, or family members.

But the insurance company forced the Marianists to settle the lawsuit, right?

--The Marianists say this but have produced no proof of this. In our 17 years with SNAP, no church official anywhere in the US has ever claimed that an insurance company “forced” them to settle a case.

But maybe the insurance company really DID make them settle the case?

-- Maybe. But if so, the question then becomes “Why would an insurer force a settlement if there was no evidence of a crime?” Insurance companies try to make a profit. Why would they willingly give away money for something that did not happen?

Let’s say the insurance company DID force the Marianists to settle.

-- In that case, the Marianists should be ashamed of themselves for hanging an innocent man out to dry and Osborne should sue them. If the Marianists believe Osborne is innocent, and to save money they settled this case, they are irresponsible and immoral and every Marianist employee should be up in arms at this injustice.

Osborne has been in education his entire life. If he’s innocent, why don’t the Marianists assign him to one of their dozens of schools across the country.

But Fr. Osborne is such a wonderful man, has done so much for so many, is widely loved. . .

Of course he is. Most predators are. If a predator doesn’t work hard to come across as caring, kind person, no kid would want to be with him and no parent would let their child spend time with him.

Other facts to consider:

-- if one of the accusers is lying, think about who he’s fooled: his dad, his therapist, the Kirkwood police, the most experienced sex abuse attorney in Missouri, and several veteran members of SNAP (all of whom have spoken with hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims).

--If Osborne’s innocent:
-- why hasn’t he spoken publicly about the case?

-- why does he continue to hide behind his lawyer?

-- why won’t the Marianists let Osborne work at any of their schools?

-- why didn’t Archbishop Burke make a public announcement before letting Osborne work in your parish?

Statements

 Statement by Barbara Dorris of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 862 7688

 The bar for prosecution of child sex abuse cases is a high one. It's hard to build a successful case when it may largely be the word of a couple of kids against a prominent priest. But it can be done, and we hope it will be done against Osborne soon.

 We're disappointed that no criminal charges are being filed against Osborne now, but hope that others who he manipulated and exploited will come forward soon. That's what happened in the Kuchar case - once a mistrial occurred, others with information finally were brave enough to come forward, and a conviction resulted.

 It's hard to disclose abuse, especially when you're a teenager. It's even harder in a closely-knit context like a high school. And it may be hardest of all when the predator is a well-connected clergyman. But we're hopeful other Osborne victims will do what's right, protect others, and speak up.

 Still, it's important to remember that at least two youngsters filed police reports against Osborne and we applaud them for showing such strength. We hope that other kids and adults will follow their courageous lead and come forward now.

 Others have been hurt by Osborne. We've heard from a few of them. We ache for them and pray for their recovery. We also hope they'll call the police soon. (At least one of Osborne's victims was treated with great compassion by the Kirkwood police and we commend them for that.)

 What matters most is that the first Osborne victim to come forward is getting better, and that it's harder now for Osborne to gain access to other vulnerable teen

*************************************************************************************

 Statement by Fred Carr of St. Louis (314) 838 0296
St. Louis SNAP outreach director, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Three individuals have now accused Fr. Robert Osborne of child sex abuse, two recently and one some years ago.

 It is tragic that another child may have been hurt, but it is admirable that he and his family are strong enough to come forward and smart enough to go to criminal authorities, not church or school authorities.

 The Kirkwood police are to be commended for urging other victims or witnesses to speak out too. That's the only way the full truth will be known,

 It's incredibly hard to come forward if you have been abused. It's even harder if you're a teenager, it's same-gender abuse, and your perpetrator is a popular and powerful priest.
 
The entire Vianney community should be grateful to all three youngsters. Church and school officials should work hard now to foster a supportive atmosphere that enables the victims of sex crimes to feel comfortable and speak up.

Others who suspected or witnessed or experienced Osborne's crimes and misconduct will be tempted now to stay quiet. But now is not the time to be timid. Now is the time to come forward, so the vulnerable are safeguarded and the wounded are healed. 

CONTACT
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP Founder and President (312) 399 4747 cell
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP National Outreach Director (314) 862 7688

Letters

 March 2, 2006

 Dear Brother Glodek:

 Once again, we find ourselves trying to persuade you to do what Jesus told us to do: reach out to the lost and wounded sheep.

 There are now at least five separate allegations of misconduct against Fr. Robert Osborne. At least four of them are recent. At least three have been reported to the police.

 They include:

 -- a report to Kirkwood police involving alleged child sexual abuse,

-- a report to Kirkwood police that Osborne gave alcohol to a child,

-- a second ‘similar’ report to Kirkwood police days later,

-- a civil lawsuit in involving child sexual abuse, and

-- an allegedly “unsubstantiated” allegation against Osborne from years ago, which your own public relations woman admitted (but only after repeated questioning at a news conference on the day the civil child molestation case was filed).

Citizens have a duty to help police solve suspected crimes. Your current and former students and staff may have information that could benefit law enforcement. But that information will likely remain hidden unless they are prodded to do so by someone in authority like you.

You have access to thousands of former staff and students. Some of them may have been hurt by Osborne. Some of them may have witnessed misconduct by Osborne. They need to be contacted.

They need to understand that secrecy hurts everyone involved. They need to be told that they are helping, not hurting, their alma mater by speaking up. They need to know that even though the criminal justice system can seem daunting, they have an obligation to tell police what they know.

Please don’t repeat the mistake you made with another accused Marianist child molester: Brother William Mueller. After pressure from our group, you sent out short, vague letters to your former students. Sadly, you made no mention of law enforcement. Instead, you simple told people they could call your office with any information.

Brother Glodek, these are alleged crimes. They must be handled by independent professionals in law enforcement, not by biased amateurs in the church hierarchy. We urge you to make this clear to all your present and former students and staff.

Finally, we ask that you correct at least some of the misinformation that has been given out to the Vianney community. Your PR woman has suggested, for example, that the victim's dad gave officials no chance to investigate or suspend Osborne before filing suit. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, both the father and the boy's therapist had several conversations – in person and on the phone - with Vianney and Marianist staff before they took legal action. Like so many others who reluctantly file child sex abuse lawsuits against church officials, this family sued only when it was clear that neither Vianney nor the Marianists would take prompt action to protect kids from Osborne.

Please take corrective action soon. We look forward to hearing from you. 

David Clohessy

National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143
SNAPclohessy@aol.com


Barbara Dorris
Outreach Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster
St. Louis MO 63108
862 7688, 503 0003
gymsoul@hotmail.com

 
    In reference to Marianist priest Robert Osborne's case, is possible for a person to do lots of good deeds AND to do some that are destructive. SNAP is NOT unfairly targeting Osborne. Osborne's supporters have inaccurately concluded that Fr. Osborne has been cleared of any wrongdoing in three separate investigations. I have seen in various media sources and letters that he was cleared by the Kirkwood Police Department, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and either "The Church" or "The Marianists" (depending on the source).

    It makes no sense to include the Kirkwood Police Department as an agency that "cleared" Osborne. If the police conclude that allegations are baseless, they do not typically forward information about their investigation to the Prosecuting Attorney.

     The decision about whether or not to prosecute includes judgments about whether a case can be won that are based partly on available evidence and partly on other factors, such as whether a jury in a particular community would be able to set aside their preconceived notions of the defendent. Osborne's supporters continuously recycle a reported quote by St. Louis Co. Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch that there was "no evidence at all of criminal conduct". Since there were at least two alleged victims available to testify to criminal conduct (which constitutes "evidence"), my best guess is that Mr. McCulloch must have meant that there was "insufficient corroborating evidence" or a lack of "physical" evidence. Most child sexual abusers are never prosecuted, according to FBI statistics. In my own observation during 20+ years of treating abused children, the cases that have been prosecuted have typically involved either a confession by the abuser or physical evidence such as photographs or video of the abuse. Other types of physical evidence of abuse--such as abuser DNA--is typcially not available, because children do not usually disclose the abuse immediately following an assault episode, and most sexual abuse does not leave lasting evidence of physical harm to the child's body. Therefore, prosecutors are usually forced to rely on victim testimony as their primary evidence. Often the decision is made not to prosecute, even when the child or teen victim is credible, because the hurdles of prosecution seem insurmountable.

   Finally, the supposed investigations by the "Church" and/or the Marianists are questionable, at best. To my knowledge, the Archdiocese did not conduct their own thorough investigation. Certainly I (the victim's long-time therapist and the first person to whom the abuse was disclosed) was never approached or questioned by anyone from the Archdiocese. If the Marianists, whose attorneys have access to all of the same information that I have (and more), are confident that Osborne's actions have all been aboveboard, then it is truly scary what they believe to be appropriate behavior with teens.

    I understand Osborne's supporters' frustration that the civil trial was not held. I, too, believe it would have been enlightening to the community, but with results far different than those that Osborne's supporters assume. Osborne's many good deeds and positive relationships do not change the facts that he caused signficant pain and suffering to at least a couple of kids and their families and that he continues to pose a risk to kids.


Peg Schwartz, MA, MSW, LCSW, ATR-BC
7245 Delmar, Suite 202
University City, MO 63130
(314) 863-0282

Marianists with credible allegations of abuse

Brother John Woulfe

Fr. William Christiansen

Brother Daniel Truliz

Brother William Mueller

Father Robert Osborne

Brother Tony Pistone

Articles

 http://cw11tv.trb.com/news/kplr-news-080107-11,0,632960.story

More Controversy for Ex-Vianney President

By Matt Gamewell,

August 1, 2007, 8:25 PM CDT

There's more controversy in the St. Louis Catholic community. The former President of Vianney High School, who lost his job amidst sexual abuse allegations, is now giving mass at a Kirkwood parish. http://kplr.images.worldnow.com/images/static/video/gfx/icon_video.gifWatch

Father Robert Osborne is a visiting priest at St. Peter's Parish in Kirkwood, just a few miles from the school he was forced to leave last year. Now a Catholic watchdog group is speaking out against the St. Louis Archdiocese and questioning why church leaders are letting Osborne say Mass and be near children.

Criminal charges were never brought against Father Osborne after two Vianney students accused him of sexual abuse early last year. Investigations were conducted by Kirkwood Police and St. Louis County prosecutors, as well as the Marianist community. "In all three instances, they were found, the allegations, not to be credible," said Reverend Monsignor Richard Stika, Episcopal Vicar of the Office of Child and Youth Protection. "It's a presumption that he's innocent, especially when the investigations were done by non-church entities."

A statement from the Marianist Province echoes the same sentiment, "These allegations were not found credible, and Father Osborne's faculties have been reinstated, and he may function as a Catholic priest."

But that's not good enough for SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "We believe that this violates the most fundamental pledge bishops across America have made time and time again over the past five years, which is that any priest that is credibly accused of molesting a child, will be removed from ministry," said David Clohessy of SNAP.

SNAP believes that since Osborne lost his job at Vianney, he should also lose the right to be a priest. "We just think this is an incredibly hurtful and callous move to the two boys who reported being molested by Father Osborne, and we think it's an incredibly reckless move on the part of the Archbishop.

In June, the family of a Vianney student reached an out-of-court settlement on the lawsuit they brought against Father Osborne for sexual abuse. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the Archdiocese says Osborne did not admit guilt. Osborne and church officials were not available for comment.

Copyright © 2007, KPLR

Suit Filed Against Vianney President

Rev. Robert Osborne expresses shock, denies and wrongdoing
by Don Corrigan

Rev. Robert Osborne, President of St. John Vianney

Rev. Robert Osborne, the president of St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood, temporarily stepped aside as the school's head administrator on Tuesday after a lawsuit accused him of inappropriate physical touching and sexual behavior with a student.

Osborne expressed shock and disbelief at the allegations. The 73-year-old Marianist priest denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the lawsuit.

"The majority of predators profess their innocence in these situations," said David Clohessy, a spokesperson for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "If Father Osborne was shocked, it would only be because his superiors did not fully inform him of the allegations made against him earlier as this has unfolded.

"I do know that a lot of people at Vianney and in the community are in shock," added Clohessy. "It's so hard for people to accept that a good teacher and a good administrator can also be a predator."

At a sidewalk news conference outside of the headquarters of the Marianists, 4425 West Pine in St. Louis, members of SNAP outlined details of the civil lawsuit.

The suit brought by a teenager, who has been under the care of a therapist, alleges that the president of St. John Vianney High School recently and repeatedly "sexually, physically and emotionally abused him."

Osborne told students about the allegations and his departure at a school assembly on Tuesday afternoon. Letters were sent out to notify the parents of the 700 boys at the school about the charges.

"The Vianney principal, Larry Keller, has taken over for Rev. Osborne as chief administrator at the high school until this is resolved," said Diane Guerra, a spokesperson for the Marianist Order. "Bob Osborne had an assembly with the students in which he explained what has happened.

"Principal Keller says there have been no negative e-mails or negativity carried into the school," added Guerra. "Vianney officials made counselors available to the students to talk about what has happened, but no students have taken advantage of that. Things are pretty much back to normal."

According to the lawsuit, Osborne used "his positions to gain the trust" of the now teenaged victim, "coercing him to drink alcoholic beverages, making sexual comments to him, observing and attempting to observe and photograph him when he was undressed, hugging and kissing him, and making other overt and covert sexual contact with him."

The victim and his father use pseudonyms in the lawsuit. According to SNAP, two adults - the boy's relative and his therapist - reported Osborne's abuse to the Marianists and requested that he be suspended or kept away from youngsters. Clohessy of SNAP said that the Marianists apparently took no action.

"Some concerns were brought to our attention on Feb. 3," said Guerra. "They were then brought to the attention of Brother Stephen Glodek, head of the Marianist Province of the U.S. He advised Bob Osborne to stay away from the boy and a meeting was set up with the father.

"We set up the meeting and the father canceled," said Guerra. "The therapist called up angry that Osborne had not been removed. In all of this, there was never mention of inappropriate touching or anything sexual. Then we were hit with the lawsuit.

"I think it's pretty hard to say that we were dragging our feet on this," added Guerra. "All this took place in a matter of two weeks. We have procedures that we follow. We don't just listen to someone make charges and then send the principal of a high school away."

Osborne took his vows in 1955 and was ordained in 1966. He first served as acting president of Vianney, located near the northwest corner of I-44 and Kirkwood Road, in 2002. Prior to that, Osborne worked at Chaminade High School and served as a parish pastor.

Marianist spokesperson Guerra said some of the charges made are outrageous and clearly lacking in credibility.

"There have been television reports and charges by the attorney that the Marianists kept Rev. Osborne in his position because he was a good fundraiser in Vianney's current capital campaign," said Guerra. "That is astonishing. It's very upsetting. It is insulting to suggest that the Marianist Order, with its long and respected tradition in education, would not put the safety of children first."

SNAP's Clohessy said if there were any apologies due, they were not in order for the Marianists.

"The attorney in this case is very cautious and conscientious, and not prone to exaggeration," said Clohessy. "The attorney had a sound basis for making the statements that he did."

Clohessy added that this is at least the sixth time in the last few years that a local Marianist has been named as an accused pedophile. The others include Fr. William Christiansen, Brother John Woulfe, Brother William Mueller, Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, and Brother Tony Pistone.

The latter two - Triulzi and Pistone - were exposed, sued and suspended last year. Christiansen and Woulfe are facing a lawsuit that was heard by the Missouri Supreme Court last fall. No decision has been made at this point.    

Inquiry Finds No Criminal Conduct by Ex-Vianney High President

By William C. Lhotka and Heather Ratcliffe
Post-Dispatch [St. Louis MO]
October 11, 2006

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/B641E098E45C11AD862572050014AF6D?OpenDocument

A criminal investigation of allegations that the Rev. Robert Osborne, the former president of Vianney High School, molested two students has ended with no criminal charges.

"We reached the conclusion there was no evidence at all of criminal conduct," St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch said Wednesday.

Osborne, 73, has always denied the accusations. He remains a defendant in a civil suit filed in February by one of the alleged victims. That case is set for trial in April.

Brother Stephen Glodek, head of the Marianist Province of the United States, the Roman Catholic order that operates the boys' school in Kirkwood, said: "We are just very happy that was the resolution of the investigation. We still face the civil suit from the same parties, and we are awaiting that resolution."

Besides Osborne, Vianney High School and the Marianist Province are defendants.

Speaking for Osborne, his attorney, J. Martin Hadican said Wednesday, "Father Osborne is elated with the outcome and grateful for the thorough investigation."

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon outside the Marianist Province offices on West Pine Boulevard, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were first to reveal the end to the criminal probe.

"We are disappointed that no criminal charges are being filed against Osborne now, but hope that others who he manipulated and exploited will come forward soon," said Barbara Dorris, a SNAP member.

McCulloch said that if additional complaints against Osborne were made, they also would be investigated.

The prosecutor praised the efforts of the Kirkwood police, particularly Detective Geoff Morrison, who, he said, conducted an extensive investigation. An attorney in McCulloch's sex crimes unit reviewed the information and re-interviewed the youth who had filed the civil suit and a second Vianney student who had made allegations.

In the Vianney newsletter in September, Osborne said he had been removed from the school because of "unresolved legal matters." He said then that he would vigorously defend himself and was confident he would be vindicated.

Diane Guerra, a spokeswoman for the order, said at the time that Osborne's removal by a six-member Marianists' provincial council was based on the fact that preparing for the pending civil suit would be a distraction from his job of running the school.

SNAP National Director David Clohessy said prosecutors must meet a high bar to file criminal charges, and added, "It's really tempting but naive and reckless to assume this is an exoneration."

10 Most Dangerous Pedophile Priests! Today in Baltimore!

SNAP names “Most Dangerous US Pedophile Priests”

New list shows that abuse & cover up crisis continues

Group wants bishops to educate parishioners on how to respond when accusations surface

While many Catholics support victims, SNAP says others still ‘rally around’ alleged predators


WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- release a first-ever list of the “Ten Most Dangerous US Pedophile Priests,” &
-- give copies of a 21 point brochure showing Catholics how they can support accused child molesting clergy WITHOUT intimidating or hurting victims, and
-- urge the US bishops conference to publish the brochure and teach parishioners how to respond appropriately and helpfully when their priest is accused of child sex crimes.

WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 11:00 a.m.

WHERE

Outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, where hundreds of America’s Catholic bishops are meeting this week (700 Aliceanna Street, 410-385-3000)

WHO
Several clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters, including a Chicago woman who founded a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
The list includes priests from AZ, NY, MD, MO, DE, TX and FL, and who worked or live in NJ, OH, IL, and RI. One surreptitiously fathered triplets seven years ago and recently molested two of them. Another drugged dozens of boys into unconsciousness and sodomized them. Another admits fathering eight kids with teenagers.

Each of the accused priests walks free in the US. Some have multiple victims yet also enjoy apparently substantial followings even now. One pastors a parish today, though he was convicted in a civil trial of molesting a boy. SNAP considers several of them flight risks. None have been criminally convicted (so they may be more dangerous than those who are on sex offender registries). Two are former high ranking monsignors. (The list is available at SNAPnetwork.org)

All belong in jail or secure treatment centers, SNAP feels, but apparently are getting little/no supervision.

SNAP is particularly highlighting predators who’ve abused in the last few years - in part because they may still face legal action, and it’s harder to excuse inaction or deceit by bishops with recent crimes.

The group is also concerned because often when pedophile priests are accused of molesting kids, parishioners immediately disbelieve the allegations, rush to support the priest, and do so in highly public and controversial ways that frighten witnesses and discourage victims from coming forward. Today, for instance, Harlem parishioners have essentially erected a shrine outside their church for a recently suspended powerful monsignor who faces at least eight accusers.

The group wants bishops to launch a new effort to teach parishioners how to respond to such allegations.

Yesterday, SNAP released a list of pedophile priests who, while suspended and unsupervised, committed more crimes recently. SNAP predicts this will be a growing trend, as predators get inadequate or no therapy or monitoring, and live on their own. Instead, SNAP believes those who cannot be jailed should be forced to live at independently, remote, professionally-run treatment centers with full disclosure to nearby residents and law enforcement.

In the past, SNAP has also released a list of ‘America’s Worst Cardinals’ and ‘Ten Dioceses That Treat Victims Most Harshly.’

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915, Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044 cell, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home

“Whistleblower” & Victims’ Group Challenge School & Church Officials

Whistleblower" & Victims' Group Challenge School & Church Officials


Former School Staff Member, Life-long Catholic, Speaks Out For First Time


Ex-Vianney PR Head Launches Ad Campaign To Show "Policy & Practice" Gap


Third Young Man Has Come Forward to SNAP Reporting Abuse by Same Cleric


Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Want Priest Taken Out of Parish & Kept Out of Schools


"Put Cleric in Treatment Center or Disclose Where He's Living," All of Them Urge


Civil Lawsuit Against Former-School President For Recent Abuse Was Settled in 2007


Yet He Often Showed Up Unsupervised on Campus & May Still, Kirkwood Woman Says


Alleged Predator Priest Now Works At Church A Mile From School Where He Resigned

What:
At a sidewalk news conference, an ex-Vianney school official will
-- announce that she's starting an advertising effort to alert people about an accused predator priest, and
-- disclose that even after he resigned facing abuse allegations, the priest still roamed a Catholic high school unsupervised.


Clergy sex abuse victims read a letter from a third victim of the priest who's come forward recently.
They will also prod current archdiocesan, church and school officials to
-- prevent the priest from working in parishes or schools,
-- put him in a treatment center with other pedophile priests, or, at the very least
-- disclose where the priest is living now and warn his neighbors about him.


When/Where:
TODAY, Tuesday, Nov. 11

At noon - outside St. Peter's Parish, 243 West Argonne Drive, in Kirkwood (966-8600)

At 1:15 p.m. – outside the Marianist national headquarters, 4425 W. Pine, in the CWE


Who:
A life-long Catholic and ex-Vianney employee along with several clergy abuse survivors who are members of a support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including the organization's long time national director

Why:

Until 2006, a Marianist priest, Father Robert Osborne, was the president of Vianney (Kirkwood Road at I-44). That month he was sued and stepped down.

Now, for the first time, a former Vianney staffer is publicly discussing her experiences at the school in the aftermath of the scandal. A devout, life-long Catholic, she's upset about disparities between how church officials talk about and handle abuse cases. She's launching a print ad campaign to prod Catholics to be more open-minded about such allegations, particularly those involving Osborne.

And a third Osborne victim has come forward to SNAP, though he hasn't yet taken legal action.

According to the 2006 lawsuit, Osborne used "his position to gain the trust" of a teenaged student, "coercing him to drink alcoholic beverages, making sexual comments to him, (trying) to observe and photograph him when he was undressed, hugging and kissing him, and making other overt and covert sexual contact with him." At least one other accuser came forward to police.. Osborne was suspended and months later, school officials announce that he would not be returning to Vianney.

In June 2007, that civil lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2006/03_04/2006_03_01_Courtaway_AllegationsIn.htm

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/05_06/2007_06_28_AP_CatholicOrder.htm

Five years ago, America's bishops adopted a nationwide 'charter' that prohibits 'credibly accused' abusive priests from working in parishes. SNAP believes Osborne's presence at St. Peter's parish in Kirkwood (where he has said Mass repeatedly and appears on their website) violates that policy. SNAP is especially troubled because the parish also has a parochial school and a youth group that meets on Sunday nights.

Two adults – the boy's relative and his therapist – repeatedly reported Osborne's abuse (in person and in phone calls) to the church and Vianney officials. They asked that Osborne be kept away from kids. But neither the Marianists nor the school took any action. Concerned for others, the boy and his family filed a civil lawsuit. They were represented by the attorney that has handled almost all clergy sex abuse cases in St. Louis: Ken Chackes of University City (872 8420, 369 3902 cell).

For a photo of Osborne: http://www.stpeterkirkwood.org/saintpeter_staff_pictures.htm

This is at least the sixth time in the last few years that a local Marianist has been named as an accused pedophile. The others include Fr. William Christiansen, Brother John Woulfe, Brother William Mueller, Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, and Brother Tony Pistone. Each faces one or more civil lawsuits. Litigation against Triulzi and Mueller has been settled.

Contact:
David Clohessy of SNAP (314) 566 9790 cell, 645 5915
Linda Briggs-Harty

Monday, November 10, 2008

Accused Predatory Bishops – a SNAP fact sheet - Nov. 2008

Accused Predatory Bishops – a SNAP fact sheet - Nov. 2008
 
-- We're particularly concerned about Gelineau (Providence RI), Hart (Cheyenne WY), O'Connell (Palm Beach FL), Rueger (Worcester MA), Ryan (Springfield IL), Skylstad (Spokane WA), Symons (Palm Beach FL), Williams (Lexington KY), and Zieman (Santa Rosa CA). The reasons are several but include at least one or more of the following:

- their whereabouts are unknown (Dupre, Williams)

- they've not addressed the allegations (Williams, Gelineau, Hart)

- they resigned just before allegations against them surfaced (Ryan, Dupre, Symons)

- they face several accusers (Hart has at least 6, Williams has at least 3)

- they've resurfaced in ministerial roles in recent years (Sanchez of Santa Fe NM)

-- We're also troubled by allegations against Hubbard of Albany. No civil or criminal charges have been filed against him. But rather than submitting himself to a lay review panel, he hired an attorney to investigate the allegations and she 'cleared' him.)

-- Some of the accused bishops have attracted considerable attention (Anthony O'Connell in Florida & Thomas Dupre in Massachusetts).

-- Others, however, have not (Louis Gelineau in Rhode Island, Joseph Hart in Wyoming, & Kendrick Williams in Kentucky.

-- Several accused bishops are now deceased (Arzube of Los Angeles CA, Dudley of Sioux Falls SD, Ferrario of Honolulu HI, Harrington of Worcester MA, Rausch of Phoenix AZ and Weldon of Springfield MA).

-- Three of them still head dioceses today (Hubbard, Skylstad, and Brown of Orange CA).

-- Still others (from Wisconsin, New York, Georgia and elsewhere) have been accused of sexually exploiting, manipulating and/or abusing adults and/or teens above the legal age of consent.

-- Two have admitted, to some degree, abusing kids (O'Connell and Symons).

-- Only one bishop (Dupre) has ever faced criminal charges, and that was short lived. A prosecutor indicted him for molesting two boys in 2004 but immediately dropped those charges because the statute of limitations expired.

-- Several accused bishops (Soens in Iowa, Hart in Wyoming and O'Connell in Florida) are still publicly honored on church buildings in their former dioceses. This of course, rubs salt into the already deep and sometimes still fresh wounds of their victims, other victims, and Catholics. Worse, it intimidates and depresses other victims into staying silence.
 
-- Only three (O'Connell, Symons & Rembert Weakland of Wisconsin) have admitted abuse. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/bishops/accused/

-- Massachusetts has the most accused bishops, two of whom are still alive (George Rueger of Worchester and Dupre of Springfield) and two who are deceased (Christopher Weldon of Springfield and Timothy Harrington of Worchester).

-- Two others worked in the Palm Beach Florida diocese (Joseph Symons and O'Connell).

-- A few bishops have apparently been wrongly accused (Mahony in California, Egan in New York).

-- Now retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart faces the most allegations of any bishop. Civil lawsuits by six men he molested in Kansas City have been settled, some as recently as August 2008. A children's home in Torrington, Wyoming dedicated a residence hall to Hart and has rebuffed efforts to change the name.

-- At least 31 men report having been sexually abused as kids during the 1950s and 1960s by Bishop Lawrence Soens when Soens taught at an Iowa City school. He went on to head the Sioux City diocese and is now retired. On Monday, the Davenport diocese said that Soens did abuse some of the boys.

 (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 19 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915, Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044 cell, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home

About abusive bishops . . . statement by Becky Ianni, Virginia SNAP leader

For immediate release:  Monday, Nov. 10, 2008

Statement by Becky Ianni of northern Virginia, Virginia director of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

However sporadically and imperfectly, at least some abusive priests have been defrocked or prosecuted, are being "monitored” or live in church run housing centers for pedophiles. Not enough, but at least some. . .

To the best of our knowledge, little or none of this is happening with abusive bishops.

No abusive bishops are being defrocked. Few disclose their whereabouts. Fewer still, we fear, are being monitored. Allegations against them are unresolved. No current church officials even claim to be taking responsibility for protecting kids from or warning adults about potentially dangerous predatory prelates
 
And there are between 10 and 20 bishops who are proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive. Nine are deceased. The others walk free, however, mostly, we fear, in unsuspecting communities.

Why are we addressing this now? Primarily for two reasons.

1)       For the first time ever, a week ago, a diocesan review panel announced that an alleged predator bishop is guilty of molesting kids. Roughly ten other bishops have been similarly accused, but as we said, essentially remain in ‘limbo,’ their whereabouts unknown and little or no monitoring or resolution of the charges against them. We now want other diocesan panels to investigate child sex allegations against these ten.

If one review panel can do this, it stands to reason that others can do likewise.

2) History, psychology and common sense tell us that molesters rarely strike once. Hard evidence tells us the same. Today, we’re releasing a list of 15 pedophile priests who’ve again broken the law in recent years, almost all of whom were on suspension for child sex crimes but getting little or no supervision or therapy.

If predatory priests who walk free hurt others again, it stands to reason that predatory bishops who walk free may well do likewise.

May God have mercy on the souls of today's church officials if one or more of these bishops already has molested again or does molest again, after they have already been accused because of sexual abuse.

Catholics remain troubled because of the on-going clergy sex abuse crisis. This is one reason why.

Children remain at risk because of the on-going clergy sex abuse crisis. This is one reason why.

The broader, nagging, crucial yet unanswered question centers on prevention and on what must be done with the hundreds and hundreds of complicit church officials who suspected or knew of child sex crimes and did nothing or concealed them. But for now, we ask: Can't church officials, including these 200+ bishops meeting inside today, at least take some steps to safeguard innocent kids today from these bishops?

Today, specifically, we call on the US bishops conference to create a new panel to probe sex charges against bishops. And we call on ten diocesan review panels to investigate child sex abuse allegations against their current or former bishops.

With the existing structure - local diocesan review panels – can probe accused bishops, if only panel members overcome their cowardice.

With a new structure – a national review panel designed solely to deal with these cases - can take action when local review boards do not.

Which approach is better? Both. The existing local boards, flawed though they are, can move most quickly and resolve some or all of these pending allegations. But a national board may lead to resolution of some allegations that local boards are unwilling to address.

The bottom line is that something must be done. It’s irresponsible, risky, unhealthy, unfair and cowardly for church officials to let ten or more accused predatory prelates walk free, unsupervised, with no one taking responsibility for them or investigation their alleged crimes.

Finally, as we did yesterday for the first time ever, we call on Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George to resign his post as head of the US bishops conference. In just the last year, his already troubled and troubling deceptiveness, recklessness around children’s safety has gone from bad to worse.

We urge George to step down, for the good of the church, both locally and nationally, because of new child sex crimes and cover ups that have recently come to light.

The latest and most glaring example involves a priest who was criminally convicted of molesting a boy for three years right here in Baltimore. Even now, six years after George and his brother bishops pledged to be ‘open’ about clergy sex crimes and to put kids’ safety first, the Cardinal secretly and deceptively keeps a convicted pedophile priest, a personal friend, working in Chicago sometimes next door to a Catholic school.

But our concern goes beyond this one case. There are cases involving five priests that have surfaced over the past year. Some are proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters (Fr. Kenneth Martin, Fr. Joseph Bennett, Fr. Norbert Maday). Others ignored or concealed abuse, according to SNAP and church records, “complicit” (Fr. Leonard Dubi and Fr. Edward Grace).

This morning, George spoke of the “hubris that he feels has “isolated our country politically.” For the protection of kids and the healing of victims, we hope he will come to see his own hubris, manifested in his continuing reckless and deceptive actions, and step aside so that he can better safeguard the vulnerable and help the wounded in his own archdiocese.

 (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 19 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915, Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044 cell, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home

Clergy sex abuse victims want action on ten predatory bishops

Clergy sex abuse victims want action on ten predatory bishops

For first time ever, a church panel just announced that one of them is guilty

Group wants a new national abuse committee created to help resolved such cases

It also releases a list of suspended predators who committed more crimes recently

Since so few pedophile priests are jailed or supervised, this trend will grow, SNAP says

WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will call on
-- ten dioceses to investigate child sex abuse allegations against current and former bishops, &
-- the US bishops conference to create a new panel to probe sex charges against bishops

They will also
-- release a list of suspended pedophile priests who’ve recently gone on to commit more crimes, largely because church officials refuse to provide them with supervision and/or treatment &;

-- repeat their public call, issued yesterday, to the head of the US bishops conference to resign because of recent abuse and cover up cases and disclosures in his archdiocese (including his secret decision to keep a convicted predator priest on his payroll even now).

WHEN

TODAY, Monday, Nov. 10, 2:30 p.m.

WHERE

Outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, where hundreds of America’s Catholic bishops are meeting this week (700 Aliceanna Street, 410-385-3000)

WHO

Several clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters, including a Chicago woman who founded a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY

For the first time ever, a week ago, a diocesan panel announced that an alleged predator bishop is guilty of molesting kids. At least ten other bishops have been similarly accused, but essentially remain in ‘limbo,’ their whereabouts unknown and little or no monitoring or resolution of the charges against them. SNAP now wants other diocesan panels to investigate child sex allegations against them.

While some of the accused bishops have attracted considerable attention (Anthony O'Connell in Florida & Thomas Dupre in Massachusetts), several others have not (Louis Gelineau in Rhode Island, Joseph Hart in Wyoming, & Kendrick Williams in Kentucky. Only two (O’Connell; Rembert Weakland in Wisconsin) have admitted abuse. (NOTE:  Rembert Weakland in Wisconsin admitted abusing an adult).   http://www.bishop-accountability.org/bishops/accused/

SNAP believes it’s irresponsible and reckless to let accused pedophile prelates walk free with little or no supervision and no adjudication of the charges against them. Hundreds of predatory priests won’t be criminally prosecuted and aren’t being defrocked. But virtually none of the predatory bishops face either penalty/discipline or even the slightest supervision, SNAP says

The group also believes it’s very tough for a local diocesan review board, appointed by a bishop, to objectively look into child sex allegations against that bishop. So SNAP is urging that a new national panel be created for this purpose (despite their strong belief that all clergy allegations be handled by police).

Massachusetts has the most accused bishops, two of whom are still alive (George Rueger of Worchester and Dupre of Springfield) and two who are deceased (Christopher Weldon of Springfield and Timothy Harrington of Worchester). Two others worked in the Palm Beach Florida diocese (Joseph Symons and O’Connell). A few (Mahony in California, Egan in New York) have apparently been wrongly accused.

Now retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart faces the most allegations of any bishop. Civil lawsuits by six men he molested in Kansas City have been settled, some as recently as August 2008. A children’s home in Torrington, Wyoming dedicated a residence hall to Hart and has rebuffed efforts to change the name.

At least 31 men report having been sexually abused as kids during the 1950s and 1960s by Bishop Lawrence Soens when Soens taught at an Iowa City school. He went on to head the Sioux City diocese and is now retired. On Monday, the Davenport diocese said that Soens did abuse some of the boys.

SNAP is also releasing a list of pedophile priests who, while suspended and unsupervised, committed more crimes recently. SNAP predicts this will be a growing trend, as predators get inadequate or no therapy or  monitoring, and live on their own. Instead, SNAP believes those who cannot be jailed should be forced to live at independently, remote, professionally run treatment centers with full disclosure to nearby residents and law enforcement.

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915, Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044 cell, Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Statement about tonight's vigil in Baltimore on the eve of the US Catholic Bishops conference.

Sunday, Nov 9, 2008

Statement by Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell

We’re here tonight for three reasons.

The first is because of a recently complicit Cardinal, a Cardinal who heads the US bishops conference.

The second is because of a recently criminal priest, a priest who fathered kids and then molested them.

The third is because of our mission: to heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.


1. We’re asking Cardinal Francis George of Chicago to step aside as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. His track record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups has been markedly worse than that of his colleagues. But it is his very recent misdeeds that lead us to make this request.

In particular, we are concerned about his continuing duplicity and recklessness regarding Fr. Kenneth J. Martin, who taught and molested at a Catholic school in Baltimore’s suburbs. These aren’t allegations. They are facts. Martin pled guilty to criminal charges of sexually assaulting a boy for three years. Even now, six years after promising to be open and transparent about clergy sex crimes, George secretly keeps.
 
A priest who was convicted for molesting a Baltimore child now works for Cardinal Francis George, head of the Chicago archdiocese and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to, news accounts in Illinois last month. Despite this, and other recent egregious mishandling of child sex cases and cover ups in Chicago, George will chair tomorrow’s annual national meeting of 200+ American Catholic bishops. SNAP wants him to resign.

From 1977-1980, Fr. Kenneth J. Martin repeatedly molested a teenaged boy. Martin was teaching at the school the boy attended - Loyola Blakefield Catholic High School in suburban Baltimore. In December 2001, Martin pled guilty to the crimes.

Despite this, in 2003, George secretly let Martin live part-time at George’s mansion in Chicago. When Martin’s employment in Chicago was disclosed publicly, George promised he would no longer work in the archdiocese. Last month, however, media sources disclosed that Martin is still on the payroll.

This is stunning recklessness and deceit by Cardinal George. He’s essentially thumbing his nose at parents, victims, children, and the ‘zero tolerance’ policy adopted by America’s bishops five years ago.

Hiding and tolerating pedophile priests in your own diocese is bad enough. But importing pedophile priests from elsewhere, especially secretly, is even worse.

It’s absurd and insulting that George’s public relations staff tries to minimize Martin’s time in Chicago. Whether Martin comes to Chicago seven times or 70 times is irrelevant. George is gambling with kids’ lives. (It takes only seconds for a child molester to shove his hand in a child’s pants.)

He’s also rubbing salt into already deep and still fresh wounds of Chicago Catholics who are still reeling from his dangerous deception and callousness with Fr. McCormack, Fr. Bennett, Fr. McGuire, and so many other predators.  

For many other reasons, but most especially this one, George owes it to American Catholics and victims to step aside and If the head of the bishops conference makes such disingenuous and dangerous moves, and gets by with them, why would any other bishop take seriously his pledges to safeguard kids and be honest?

2. We’re also concerned a newly accused pedophile priest in Baltimore. He’s Fr. Fernando Cristancho. Last month, a court determined that, in the last few years, Cristancho molested two of the three kids he surreptitiously fathered. Yet he walks free, and we worry that he may molest again.

We want church officials in Maryland and Virginia, where Cristancho also worked, to make more aggressive efforts to find any victims and witnesses of Cristancho’s crime and urge them to call police.

We also want Baltimore’s archbishop to yank Cristancho’s passport so he can’t flee the country.

We beg anyone with information about Cristancho to come forward immediately, get help, and call law enforcement.

3. Finally, we’re here because our mission is to heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.

The wounded are healed best when victims and witnesses find the courage and strength to break their silence and come forward. That, in turn, happens best when victims and witnesses are gently but lovingly prodded to come forward. This is what SNAP does every single day, and what we are doing again tonight.

The vulnerable are protected best when church officials honor their pledges and act responsibly. That, sadly, only seems to happen when concerned Catholics, determined journalists, aggressive prosecutors and caring victims pressure church officials. That’s what SNAP dose every single day, and what we are doing again tonight. 

Why are we here so late? Many bishops, we’re told, arrive here Sunday night. If nothing else, we hope that a few may walk by or see us out their windows. In the church structure, they’re powerful monarchs, and we’re powerless peons. So we have no illusions that our presence here will make any real difference in their callous, deceptive and reckless behavior. Still, we feel duty bound to at least try to expose callousness, deception and recklessness when we can, especially when those behaving in this way hold themselves out to be holy and compassionate shepherds. We simply cannot, in good conscience, sit home and stay silent while prelates like George act so irresponsibly and priests like Cristancho act so criminally. 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 19 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

CONTACT
Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314 566 9790