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SNAP Press Statement
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Despite twice making brief remarks about the church's on-going child sex abuse and cover up scandal, we've still seen no action. Not one child is safer today because of what the Pope said.
Today, he speaks about Catholic education. Common sense tells us that children's safety is a requirement for children's learning So 'job one' is exposing, removing and jailing child predators.
Just as Catholic diocesan officials transfer and hide predators in parishes, so too do Catholic education officials.
St. Louis University, for example, houses three sex offender priests.
One admitted predator priest works and lives on campus now.(1)
Another priest pled guilty to child porn lives on campus.(2)
A third is a retired priest against whom at least one civil lawsuit has been settled.(3)
Jesuit officials have not warned students, staff or parents (outside a few of the admitted predator's co-workers). There has been no media attention of the fact that these potentially dangerous men quietly walk free among teenagers and young adults.
SNAP is a small nonprofit self help group with no investigative skills, staff or resources. Yet through simple Internet searches, we've found three sex offending priests at just this one school. We shudder to think of how many proven, admitted and credibly accused are still living and working at or near Catholic schools.
As a victim, a mother, and a grandmother, this worries me terribly.
At a bare minimum, for the safety of innocent kids and vulnerable adults, we call on Catholic education officials to disclose all of the actual and likely predators they are sheltering.
David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home)
Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747)
Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688),
Mary Grant (626-419-2930)
Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
1) In November 2007, an Illinois newspaper reported that an admitted child molester, Fr. Vincent Bryce, now works as an assistant librarian at the Aquinas Institute (next to SLU), despite the fact that he admitted molesting a child years ago. He lives at Jesuit Hall at the corner of Lindell and Grand. After his admission in 2002, Bryce was suspended from two parishes in the Grand Rapids Michigan Diocese, according to the Detroit Free Press (5/23/02). Neither SLU nor archdiocesan officials announced or disclosed Bryce's history, nor explained why they opted to let him live and work here.
2) A child molestation case against Fr. Chester E. Gaiter was settled a year ago. He faces at least one other pending civil child sex abuse case.
3) According to BishopAccountability.org, "In 1995 Fr. Gerhardt B. Lehmkuhl was arrested for receiving child pornography through the mails. Lehmkuhl checked himself into (a church-run treatment center) after he pleaded guilty but before his sentence. In 1996 he was sentenced to one year in prison. He was also ordered to get mental-health treatment after he was released from prison. Per 2002 Catholic Directory, he was still active at Jesuit Community Corporation at St. Louis University--Jesuit Hall