For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 14
A second victim of alleged predator priest comes forward
First victim of pedophile priest speaks publicly for first time
Self help group posts her ten minute video presentation on line
For now, grand jury declines to prosecute the alleged predator
Both women beg others who’ve been hurt to “overcome paralysis” & come forward
“When we break our silence, healing, justice, closure & prevention happen,” they say
A second women is reporting that she was molested as a child by a Steubenville Catholic priest, while a former Guernsey county woman has posted on line a ten minute video describing her childhood victimization by the cleric.
And even though a grand jury recently declined to prosecute the priest, the two women are hopeful that other victims and witnesses of his crimes will surface soon.
Earlier this month, the Guernsey County jurors opted to not charge Fr. Gary Zalenski with child molestation based on the testimony of Beth Rocker. In January 2008, Rocker filed a police report saying Zalenski molested her several places, including at Seneca Lake on his pontoon boat in 1991.
“I feel so much better having broken my silence, and I want to do whatever I can to help others do the same,” said Rocker. “I also want to safeguard others from Zalenski so they won’t be hurt like I’ve been hurt.”
Judy Jones, SNAP director southeastern Ohio, says she has met with a second victim of Zalenski.
"Like Beth, this woman is very brave,” Jones said, "She filed a report in 1991 which was the reason that Zalenski was removed from active ministry at that time, so there must have been good cause to believe these allegations or the diocese would not have taken action."
The second victim isn’t speaking publicly now, Jones says, but she and the victims are very disappointed the grand jury did not indict Fr. Zalenski.
"We believe he is a dangerous man," Jones said.
Jones is urging Steubenville area Catholics to watch Rocker’s video.
“It doesn’t hurt to hear all sides,” she said. “I think even the handful who believe Zalenski will have second thoughts.”
Rocker’s video is posted at SteubenvilleTruth.org
Judy Jones of St. Louis SNAP, SNAP Steubenville co-director, 636 433 2511
Helen Schoeppner, SNAP Steubenville co-director, 740 568 0024
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home