SNAP Releases Transcript of Church Lawyers Grilling Director David Clohessy

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Clohessy got grilled!
On January 2, David Clohessy -- director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) -- sat down with lawyers representing Catholic priests.

It was not to chat over tea.

The attorneys deposed Clohessy for over six hours as part of a lawsuit that a anonymous victim has brought against Fr. Michael Tierney, a priest in Kansas City. 

But many of the questions had rather little to do with Tierney or other priests accused of sexual abuse in Kansas City. Instead, they had a lot to do with how SNAP operates, and appeared to be an attempt to establish that SNAP is not a rape crisis center under state law

That's crucial because the non-profit is now claiming rape-crisis-center status to shield itself from subpoenas that seek communications with victims. 

Clohessy said under oath that he didn't know "under the Missouri statutes exactly what constitutes a rape crisis center."

Here's what the statute says: 

any public or private agency that offers assistance to victims of sexual assault.

That's pretty vague. Still, the accused priests' attorneys appeared to be trying to somehow chip away at SNAP's eligibility by asking, for example, whether Clohessy had any advanced degrees in counseling (he did not) and whether the non-profit pays third-party counselors to assist victims (he didn't know).

Below are some other interesting bits from the depo.

(Having once reported a clergy sex abuse story, this Daily RFT reporter knows some of the accusations that area Catholics make about SNAP; thus it was interesting to see Clohessy confronted by these accusations during sworn testimony -- and this was indeed the first time in 23 years that any SNAP member had to sit for a deposition, Clohessy tells us).

On whether SNAP refers victims to attorneys:

Q. Does SNAP have any agreements with attorneys regarding referral of victims to those attorneys?

A. Can I say I'm offended at the question?

[Clohessy's attorney]: You just answer it.

A. No, we don't.

On repressed memory:

Q. What counseling or instructions does SNAP provide to sexual abuse victims, if any, regarding the issue of repressed memory?

A. Okay. I am -- I'm going to be as polite as I can but I am deeply offended.... We provide no instructions to anybody about repressed memory.

On SNAP's relentless pressure on the Catholic Church:

Q. Has SNAP ever issued a single press release commending the [United States Conference on Catholic Bishops] or any diocese or archdiocese for taking even a single positive step?

A. Yes, we have. Let's see. Where to start. We praised the diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, a bishop there I want to say in 2003. We often include the phrase: We are grateful that the bishop has suspended Father X or Father Y.  We often say we are glad that the Vatican has defrocked Father X or Father Y....

We praised a bishop in the case of Father Henry Willenborg in Wisconsin who refused to do the hair-splitting and excuse-making and do  nothing when Father Willenborg was credibly accused of molesting a child and sexually  exploiting an adult vulnerable Catholic parishioner and impregnating her and then ignoring her child and refusing to support the child.

We've praised Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, formerly of Atlanta, several times, any number of times frankly. I could go on and on.
Read the full depo by clicking here.
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45 comments
Hjshep1313
Hjshep1313

Helen Schoeppner,David You are doing  great job for victims. Do not let them stop you.The Catholic Church is having a very hard time holding on to members and yes their profit shares are down , because we do have people who read the Bible and understand it and know that the Catholic Church has false teachings.

So you see what they are trying to do and have always gotten by with it in the past.But now we have people who what the truth about their salvation.and who is willing to questionthe church on their teachings and who is willing to stand up to them on this sexual abuse.

I say if the people still support the catholic church then they must be for sexual abuse among our childern.

I can't for the life of me see how anyone could be a member of the Catholic church after allthis lying and sexual abuse that has been going on for years.

How can any one not believe that this is so very wrong . what is wrong with you people .What and how are you going to defend yourself when you face Jesus.Are you going to say Father I  am so sorry? well I think one needs to take a good hard look into the Catholic church. David Jesus will give you all the strenght and knowledge you need to stand up for the victims.God Bless you in everyway.

David Lorenz
David Lorenz

I'll make this short. I was abused by a priest when I was in my teens. I never forgot it but tried to ignore it. As I started realizing how big the problem was, I worked to fix my Church and help it heal only to find out they were not interested in hearing what I had to say. In fact I was told Bishop (now Cardinal) Wuerl not to come back. I very tentatively approached SNAP and found an acceptance and understanding and belief that I could not find in my own Church thanks to David and Barbara and Barbara. David is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. For those of you who think he is a monster, talk with him for 5 minutes before castigating him. I have since started a support group in my town for other victims. It is so amazing and rewarding to see someone finally realize that what happened to them was not their fault, they are not alone, and they can begin shedding the guilt and stigma of their abuse ... and I am very much NOT a trained therapist. I just listen and accept them and their story

Duffy
Duffy

By the actionxs of these churech lawyers, we can see just how effective SNAP has been in the past.  The thing for SNAP to do is to meet them head on..  Everyone who sees this know whast is really going on. This will come back on the bishops.  Their reputation is tarnished now. Their actions won't improve the pulic's opinion of them.

Bill Hannegan
Bill Hannegan

One law firm,  Chackes, Carlson, & Halquist, LLP,handles all the litigation SNAP generates and specializes in such litigation. Their website claims they have just hired a sex abuse specialist. Up until a couple days ago, I thought each victim used their family attorney or went to the yellow pages. Dumb, I know now. But I really thought that and I am sure others are unaware of this longstanding financial interest.http://www.cch-law.com/indextest.html... what extent does this firm, or any of its members, fund SNAP?

Bill Hannegan
Bill Hannegan

 One law firm,  Chackes, Carlson, & Halquist, LLP,handles all the Missouri litigation SNAP generates and specializes in such litigation. Their website claims they have just hired a sex abuse specialist. Up until a couple days ago, I thought each victim used their family attorney or went to the yellow pages. Dumb, I know now. But I really thought that and I am sure others are unaware of this longstanding financial interest.http://www.cch-law.com/indexte...

To what extent does Chackes, Carlson, & Halquist, LLP fund SNAP?

Suzy Nauman
Suzy Nauman

David Clohessy is a man of great integrity and compassion. The good people of SNAP have been tireless for over 23 years in their efforts toward outreach, healing and advocacy for victims and the protection of children. They have been beyond courageous in their calling out of the leaders of the institutional church who have done so very much damage to the innocent and, in turn, to the institution itself. SNAP is doing God's work. Whose work is the Church doing?

Josef_Stalin
Josef_Stalin

Hang in there David and only go after the Catholic Church because it has deep traceable pockets. Never ever go after Rabbis or other clergy because the haul won't be as good. Also don't go after jews because that would be anti-semen or something like that.

Fran Wood
Fran Wood

HANG IN THERE, DAVID!! THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ALWAYS HAS TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO BLAME FOR THE FAILURE OF THE PRIESTS AND FEAR PRODUCING METHODS IT USES, TO KEEP PEOPLE IN DENIAL... JUST LIKE POLITICS AND THE GOVERNEMT.  THEY WANT ALL THE POWER AND THE MONEY!THE CHURCH PLANTED SO MUCH SHAME AND BLAME ON MY FAMILY, AND ALL MY FRIENDS WHO GREW UP AROUND US, THAT THERE IS NOTHING BUT 'DYSFUNCTIONAL' PEOPLE IN THE 3 GENERATIONS OF MY FAMILY, NOW!  THEY ARE ALL SICK!MY OWN BROTHER WAS A PRIEST, AND WAS MOLESTED IN THE MONESTARY!ANOTHER ONE OF MY BROTHERS, GREW UP MOLESTING,WHILE IN THE SEMINARY, AND I WAS INCLUDED! UNTIL MY DAD FOUND HIM, AND HE HAD TO QUIT THE SEMINARY. THERE IS NO SUPERVISION OVER THE ACTIONS OF THE PRIESTS, AND THEY ARE PROTECTED BY THE ORDER, OR THE CHURCH, BY ASSIGNING THEM TO DIFFERENT PLACES, TO THEY CANNOT BE TRACED, OR IT IS ALL FORGOTTEN.

GO DAVID, GO!  AND DON'T LET THOSE EVIL PEOPLE INTIMIDATE YOU. IT IS STUPID THAT YOU HAVE TO DEFEND YOURSELF, WHILE TRYING TO DEFEND THE VICTIMS OF ABUSE!I PRAY FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM!GOD BLESS.FRAN

Brian Clites
Brian Clites

I am so ashamed of how the archdiocese has made this into a personal attack on SNAP.  It is painful to think that any judiciary body in this country would force a group like SNAP to release documents that identify victims who were raped or otherwise sexually abused as minors.  What the Church is doing is legally suspect, not to mention morally bankrupt.  No good will come out of this.  The Church's main goal is clearly to ruin the financial stability of SNAP, which has indirectly cost them hundreds of millions of dollars over the years (by empowering some survivors to come forward and take civil action against the Church for its crimes). 

David - from what I've read of the deposition, you're admirably handling the pressure of this situation.  Thank you for standing up on behalf of SNAP, and on behalf of all victims of sexual abuse in this country.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

So the catholic church is defending itself by attacking the victims now?  

jack kass
jack kass

Thank you for stepping forward David. I am sorry for sullying this board in your defense, but notice the only "person" attacking you is choosing three screen names to spout useless one-line bullshit. You are fighting this fight for all of us brother. Do not let the cowards push you back in the dark.

Kathy Peterson
Kathy Peterson

I have been aware of SNAP's activities almost since it became an organization to address the issue of clergy sexual abuse.  In all these years SNAP has faithfully advocated for victims and called for an end to impunity for abusers.  Instead of attacking SNAP the church should be supporting SNAP in every way to end the torment suffered by the most vulnerable members of the religious community. The transcript of this deposition demonstrates to me that the church is on a foolish witch hunt.  What a sinful shame.  Kathy Peterson 

Don Asbee
Don Asbee

From the age of 9 through 13, I was sexually abused by two priests in a small parish in central PA. My best friend was abused as well. I managed to repress the memories until the age of 40, when the flashbacks began. Tim, on the other hand was not so fortunate. His life ended in drug and alcohol assisted suicide by the age of 20. Our dads weren't a strong presence in our lives and it was seen as wonderful how we were favored by the priests. We were prime targets for grooming. I went back to the scene of the crimes at age 50, and talked to parishoners who recalled knowing of the abuse. But in the early '60's, no one wanted to rock the boat by calling out the priests. So, it just kept going on. Such spinelessness! To be told repeatedly by my abuser that it was all my fault, and that no one would believe me anyway. I see that the Church's tactics will create doubt that the abuse ever occured, and foster a climate of fear that the brainwashed flock will continue to  believe that they cannot speak of this scandal for fear that they somehow wont get to heaven. The priests, the salvation brokers, must not be crossed. Good God, people, wake up!

recovering catholic
recovering catholic

fine. let them grill away. (it is easily {6 hours} what the church attorneys do to the rape victims as well-and make no mistake-its not about discovery, its about intimidation). snap has nothing to hide. no hidden agenda. not on a witch hunt. as for protecting the identities of the victims-they must do so. who would come forward otherwise? are we forgetting what has happened here? the world wide cover up of the raping of thousands of children. without groups like snap and the testimonies of these brave victims the catholic church would have remained unexposed. i have seen them try to pay off victims contingent upon them signing a document that says they will never speak of this again. i have lived it.  if you really want to be fired up about something, take your sights of david clohessy and go to bishopaccountability.org

Tim Lennon
Tim Lennon

I was raped and abused by a priest when I was 13. My memories of that vile abuse came forward  30 years after the fact.  The memories were so horrible that as a child I could not deal with them, they remained hidden until I grew as an adult and developed the confidence, strength of character and strong will to face them.No one wants to remember horrific abuse but the crippling injuries caused by that abuse, severe depression, anger, fear, nightmares, emotional turmoil, low self esteem, anxiety, all force you to face the truth of the abuse.  That is one of the first steps to healing.SNAP and its members have been my support and companions on my journey to healing.  The use of legal tactics by the church to attack SNAP to crush it is reprehensible.

GM Spaner
GM Spaner

What is missing from all the coverage of the deposition of David Clohessy is the TOTAL disconnect between the request filed with the judge for the need to depose Clohessy and the actual questions asked in the deposition. The lawyers for the priests, the bishop, and the diocese made two claims in requesting that Clohessy be ordered to stand for deposition in the legal actions against the priests, the bishop, and the diocese:

1) the plaintiff (the victim) said the memory of their abuse was recalled after many years of repression. The lawyers for the defendants (the priests, the bishop, and the diocese) made the completely baseless and unsubstantiated claim that Clohessy "coached" the plaintiff in how to prepare and file such a claim, a claim of repressed memory. The facts are that the victim never referenced Clohessy. Clohessy never talked to or met the victim. So where does the justification for this judge and this set of defense lawyers come from? There is none.

2) SNAP conducted a press event and released a press statement regarding the case against the defendants based purely and completely on information made public by the court and media articles, programs, and interviews in the public domain. The lawyers for the defendants claimed that he could have only obtained that information from the plaintiff's lawyer who was under a gag order by the judge (indeed all parties to the court case were under a gag order by the judge). BUT, neither SNAP nor Clohessy were parties to the court case so anything they obtained from public sources were not covered by the gag order just as the media articles, programs, and interviews in the public domain were not covered by the gag order. FURTHERMORE, only parties to the court case can be charged with violating the gag order. So why did the defendants' lawyers request to depose Clohessy about violating the gag order when neither he nor SNAP were subjects of the order?  Why didn't they depose the council for the plaintiff? Because it was a trumped up charge.

The real answer to these questions is the Church and its legal councils want to revictimize the victims and want to wage a wanton and malicious war on the defenders of victims and the champions of survivors' health and justice. Catholics need to know that their clerics, vicars, bishops, and supreme leaders (cardinals and pope) do NOT feel the pain of the suffering, do NOT want health and well being for the victims, do NOT want to follow the truth and make things right. Catholics need to know that the words and the deeds of the Church are as the day and the night, never the same. Catholics need to know that they are following false and self serving messengers of the gospel, NOT men of God.

Observer
Observer

The RCC is just showing their true colors, let them... just get out of the way and let them show us all how they don't care. SNAP is helping abused children get help and let them know they are not alone. After following this for too long I must say, the writing is on the wall...

NeverChoozJooz
NeverChoozJooz

There is no evil in which at least one jew was not involved.

Clohomo
Clohomo

Clohessy = Jew Boot Licking Homo

Charles
Charles

As a victim of abuse who grew up in a devout Catholic family in Missouri, these tactics come as no surprised to me.  It took me years of healing before I was able to confront the abuse and when I did, the abusers intensified their attacks on me.

SNAP is getting too close to the truth, thus the abusers are pulling out all stops to try to put a halt to their support of the victims.

Abusers abuse.  It's all they know. It's the only power they have.  They have no personal spiritual connection, or they would have need to abuse nor would they want to cover for abusers.   And when someone has the courage to stand up to them, they retaliate with everything they have as if their very existence depended on it.  Because it does.  Ultimately, the abusers will be exposed and will fall.  Darkness cannot exist when light is shined.

Smith7188
Smith7188

SNAP has been a "life savior" for me. I cant believe how low the catholic church has gone here. To the volunteers at SNAP, my hat is off to you. You are more "my church" than the chiurch has ever been! I think this is yet another example of how the "deep pocketed- catholic church" silences and intimedates its victims!

TheMediaReport.com
TheMediaReport.com

SNAP only released the deposition because my site released it first!

EXCLUSIVE: Deposition of SNAP's Clohessy Revealed!http://www.themediareport.com/... 

SNAP and Clohessy did NOT want to make the deposition public. 

This article also did not mention that the deposition was conducted to determine the violation of a gag order in a case. It also left out the fact that Clohessy did not answer many important questions. 

Dave PierreTheMediaReport.com

-

Judy Jones
Judy Jones

FACT SHEETWhat's the crisis facing SNAP?

Catholic officials in two Missouri dioceses are trying to force key SNAP staff people to answer hours of questions under oath about and turn over thousands of pages of confidential communications with victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and concerned parishioners. It's an unprecedented assault on crime victims, on those who help crime victims and on our self help group.

Who's affected by this?

This potentially affects any crime victim who wants or needs privacy. It also affects police, prosecutors, journalists, witnesses, whistleblowers, victims, self help groups, counseling agencies - literally anyone who helps victims and exposes criminals. Emboldened by church officials' legal successes, a rapist may now seek, and perhaps get, records and depositions from staff at the center his victim went to for help. A violent husband might get documents and depositions from staff at the domestic violence center where the spouse he battered sought refuge.

Why is it a crisis?

This is the most severe threat we in SNAP have ever faced, for at least three reasons. First, fewer people are stepping forward and seeking help, fearing that their identities and experiences will be turned over to lawyers for predator priests and corrupt bishops. Second, these legal attacks consume massive amounts of time that our volunteers and staff need to devote to protecting kids, exposing predators, helping victims, reforming laws, and deterring future child sex crimes and cover ups. Third, these moves are driving SNAP toward bankruptcy. (We've had to suddenly spend tens of thousands of dollars just fighting and dealing with the first subpoena and church officials seem determined to drag out this process for months and months.) Some of our current members now fear that we will turn over their private information. As such, they have requested that we remove from them our member list. 

Has SNAP already been hurt?

Absolutely. We've already spent more than 300 person-hours going through files. For weeks, we've done little of what we normally do to "protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded." Instead, we've been forced to look long and hard for pro bono attorneys to help us. And we've spent hours and hours working with attorneys to fight motion after motion from church defense lawyers, prepare for depositions, etc.

Why are Catholic officials doing this?

We're convinced Catholic officials are trying to shut us down and shut victims up, while also deterring witnesses, whistleblowers, journalists and other from contacting us.  There are lots of other theories. Some suggest that this is a move to distract the public and parishioners from the serious and on-going clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Kansas City diocese (where Bishop Robert Finn faces criminal charges for refusing, for months, to give evidence of child porn to police). Others feel the attack stems from our formal complaint at the International Criminal Court against top Vatican officials for continuing to enable and conceal child sex crimes. (That filing was in early September. We were hit with the first subpoena in late October.)

How exactly are Catholic officials mounting this attack?

They're trying to drag us in to two civil lawsuits in which we're not involved. (SNAP has, in fact, only filed one lawsuit in our history.)  In Kansas City, it's John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese. In St. Louis, it's Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese.  They have issued four wide-ranging subpoenas (one in Kansas City and three in St. Louis) on two SNAP leaders (David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris) demanding thousands of pages of emails and records involving many individuals who have never met the accused or the accusers or even heard of the lawsuits at issue. Earlier this month, Clohessy was deposed for more than six hours by five lawyers representing Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and five Kansas City accused pedophile priests (Fr. Michael Tierney, Msgr. Thomas O'Brien, Fr. Mark Honhart, Fr. Francis McGlynn and Fr. Thomas Cronin).

How is SNAP responding?

We're doing all that we can to protect the privacy of people who contact us.  (Our choices are limited, however, because we are not a party to either lawsuit. Church officials are shrewdly attacking us in a venue where we lack much power or many options.) In his deposition, Clohessy refused to answer many question or give virtually any information about our members, supporters, and donors or our contacts withfamily members, journalists, police, prosecutors, whistleblowers and concerned Catholics.  We provided hundreds of pages of already-public documents (news releases, lawsuits, a print out of our website). But we are also refusing to provide hundreds  more pages that we consider private under our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, privacy, the Missouri rape shield law, and similar laws.

Are these two bishops acting alone?

We don't think so. This is the first time any SNAP staffer has been subpoenaed in 23 years, within weeks, and  they've done it to two of our three professional staff.  The first two subpoenas, though issued in different diocese by different lawyers, are virtually identical.

Are these two accused priests guilty?

The Kansas City priest (Tierney) has been suspended by his own bishop and faces at least five accusers in pending civil cases. The St. Louis priest (Ross) pled guilty in the late 1988 to molesting a boy. (After his sentence was completed, archdiocesan officials quietly put him back into a parish, warning no one. That's when and where he sexually assaulted this now 19 year old girl from 1998-2000.)

What about the claim that the Kansas City victim's attorney allegedly broke a "gag order?"

We in SNAP don't believe she did. And we're highly skeptical of this claim, in part because church officials refuse to take steps to formally accuse her with any wrongdoing. (They merely make the accusation without doing so in any forum where she could defend herself.) No one has found that she's done anything wrong. And we in SNAP didn't and couldn't violate any such "gag order" because none was issued against us.

What's next in the legal arena?

In St. Louis, we're trying to figure out who we can get to represent us. In Kansas City we expect lawyers for Tierney and Bishop Finn to try to get a judge to force us to give them even more information (both documents and deposition answers) soon.

How have journalists responded to these attacks?

The Missouri Press Association, representing 280 news outlets, has filed an amicus brief in court challenging the Kansas City subpoena as a threat to press freedom. The state's two largest newspapers, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, have editorialized against church officials and their lawyers. The National Catholic Reporter has also editorialized on their side. A link to these articles can be found on the  snapnetwork web site.

In KC, isn't this an attack by the accused priest, not by Bishop Finn?

It's important to remember that Fr. Tierney has sworn to obey Bishop Finn and is still being paid by Finn. Finn is a monarch in charge of the whole diocese. So Finn could order Tierney to stop. Instead, Finn's lawyers are cooperating with Tierney's lawyers while Finn himself stays silent. (We also suspect that Finn is paying for Tierney's lawyer.)  This is often the pattern in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases: the predator priest's lawyer plays "bad cop" while the complicit bishop's lawyer plays "good cop."

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511

"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.

 

Judy Block-Jones
Judy Block-Jones

FACT SHEETWhat's the crisis facing SNAP?

Catholic officials in two Missouri dioceses are trying to force key SNAP staff people to answer hours of questions under oath about and turn over thousands of pages of confidential communications with victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and concerned parishioners. It's an unprecedented assault on crime victims, on those who help crime victims and on our self help group.

Who's affected by this?

This potentially affects any crime victim who wants or needs privacy. It also affects police, prosecutors, journalists, witnesses, whistleblowers, victims, self help groups, counseling agencies - literally anyone who helps victims and exposes criminals. Emboldened by church officials' legal successes, a rapist may now seek, and perhaps get, records and depositions from staff at the center his victim went to for help. A violent husband might get documents and depositions from staff at the domestic violence center where the spouse he battered sought refuge.

Why is it a crisis?

This is the most severe threat we in SNAP have ever faced, for at least three reasons. First, fewer people are stepping forward and seeking help, fearing that their identities and experiences will be turned over to lawyers for predator priests and corrupt bishops. Second, these legal attacks consume massive amounts of time that our volunteers and staff need to devote to protecting kids, exposing predators, helping victims, reforming laws, and deterring future child sex crimes and cover ups. Third, these moves are driving SNAP toward bankruptcy. (We've had to suddenly spend tens of thousands of dollars just fighting and dealing with the first subpoena and church officials seem determined to drag out this process for months and months.) Some of our current members now fear that we will turn over their private information. As such, they have requested that we remove from them our member list. 

Has SNAP already been hurt?

Absolutely. We've already spent more than 300 person-hours going through files. For weeks, we've done little of what we normally do to "protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded." Instead, we've been forced to look long and hard for pro bono attorneys to help us. And we've spent hours and hours working with attorneys to fight motion after motion from church defense lawyers, prepare for depositions, etc.

Why are Catholic officials doing this?

We're convinced Catholic officials are trying to shut us down and shut victims up, while also deterring witnesses, whistleblowers, journalists and other from contacting us.  There are lots of other theories. Some suggest that this is a move to distract the public and parishioners from the serious and on-going clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Kansas City diocese (where Bishop Robert Finn faces criminal charges for refusing, for months, to give evidence of child porn to police). Others feel the attack stems from our formal complaint at the International Criminal Court against top Vatican officials for continuing to enable and conceal child sex crimes. (That filing was in early September. We were hit with the first subpoena in late October.)

How exactly are Catholic officials mounting this attack?

They're trying to drag us in to two civil lawsuits in which we're not involved. (SNAP has, in fact, only filed one lawsuit in our history.)  In Kansas City, it's John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese. In St. Louis, it's Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese.  They have issued four wide-ranging subpoenas (one in Kansas City and three in St. Louis) on two SNAP leaders (David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris) demanding thousands of pages of emails and records involving many individuals who have never met the accused or the accusers or even heard of the lawsuits at issue. Earlier this month, Clohessy was deposed for more than six hours by five lawyers representing Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and five Kansas City accused pedophile priests (Fr. Michael Tierney, Msgr. Thomas O'Brien, Fr. Mark Honhart, Fr. Francis McGlynn and Fr. Thomas Cronin).

How is SNAP responding?

We're doing all that we can to protect the privacy of people who contact us.  (Our choices are limited, however, because we are not a party to either lawsuit. Church officials are shrewdly attacking us in a venue where we lack much power or many options.) In his deposition, Clohessy refused to answer many question or give virtually any information about our members, supporters, and donors or our contacts withfamily members, journalists, police, prosecutors, whistleblowers and concerned Catholics.  We provided hundreds of pages of already-public documents (news releases, lawsuits, a print out of our website). But we are also refusing to provide hundreds  more pages that we consider private under our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, privacy, the Missouri rape shield law, and similar laws.

Are these two bishops acting alone?

We don't think so. This is the first time any SNAP staffer has been subpoenaed in 23 years, within weeks, and  they've done it to two of our three professional staff.  The first two subpoenas, though issued in different diocese by different lawyers, are virtually identical.

Are these two accused priests guilty?

The Kansas City priest (Tierney) has been suspended by his own bishop and faces at least five accusers in pending civil cases. The St. Louis priest (Ross) pled guilty in the late 1988 to molesting a boy. (After his sentence was completed, archdiocesan officials quietly put him back into a parish, warning no one. That's when and where he sexually assaulted this now 19 year old girl from 1998-2000.)

What about the claim that the Kansas City victim's attorney allegedly broke a "gag order?"

We in SNAP don't believe she did. And we're highly skeptical of this claim, in part because church officials refuse to take steps to formally accuse her with any wrongdoing. (They merely make the accusation without doing so in any forum where she could defend herself.) No one has found that she's done anything wrong. And we in SNAP didn't and couldn't violate any such "gag order" because none was issued against us.

What's next in the legal arena?

In St. Louis, we're trying to figure out who we can get to represent us. In Kansas City we expect lawyers for Tierney and Bishop Finn to try to get a judge to force us to give them even more information (both documents and deposition answers) soon.

How have journalists responded to these attacks?

The Missouri Press Association, representing 280 news outlets, has filed an amicus brief in court challenging the Kansas City subpoena as a threat to press freedom. The state's two largest newspapers, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, have editorialized against church officials and their lawyers. The National Catholic Reporter has also editorialized on their side. A link to these articles can be found on the  snapnetwork web site.

In KC, isn't this an attack by the accused priest, not by Bishop Finn?

It's important to remember that Fr. Tierney has sworn to obey Bishop Finn and is still being paid by Finn. Finn is a monarch in charge of the whole diocese. So Finn could order Tierney to stop. Instead, Finn's lawyers are cooperating with Tierney's lawyers while Finn himself stays silent. (We also suspect that Finn is paying for Tierney's lawyer.)  This is often the pattern in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases: the predator priest's lawyer plays "bad cop" while the complicit bishop's lawyer plays "good cop."

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511

"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.

 

Judy Block-Jones
Judy Block-Jones

FACT SHEETWhat's the crisis facing SNAP?

Catholic officials in two Missouri dioceses are trying to force key SNAP staff people to answer hours of questions under oath about and turn over thousands of pages of confidential communications with victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and concerned parishioners. It's an unprecedented assault on crime victims, on those who help crime victims and on our self help group.

Who's affected by this?

This potentially affects any crime victim who wants or needs privacy. It also affects police, prosecutors, journalists, witnesses, whistleblowers, victims, self help groups, counseling agencies - literally anyone who helps victims and exposes criminals. Emboldened by church officials' legal successes, a rapist may now seek, and perhaps get, records and depositions from staff at the center his victim went to for help. A violent husband might get documents and depositions from staff at the domestic violence center where the spouse he battered sought refuge.

Why is it a crisis?

This is the most severe threat we in SNAP have ever faced, for at least three reasons. First, fewer people are stepping forward and seeking help, fearing that their identities and experiences will be turned over to lawyers for predator priests and corrupt bishops. Second, these legal attacks consume massive amounts of time that our volunteers and staff need to devote to protecting kids, exposing predators, helping victims, reforming laws, and deterring future child sex crimes and cover ups. Third, these moves are driving SNAP toward bankruptcy. (We've had to suddenly spend tens of thousands of dollars just fighting and dealing with the first subpoena and church officials seem determined to drag out this process for months and months.) Some of our current members now fear that we will turn over their private information. As such, they have requested that we remove from them our member list. 

Has SNAP already been hurt?

Absolutely. We've already spent more than 300 person-hours going through files. For weeks, we've done little of what we normally do to "protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded." Instead, we've been forced to look long and hard for pro bono attorneys to help us. And we've spent hours and hours working with attorneys to fight motion after motion from church defense lawyers, prepare for depositions, etc.

Why are Catholic officials doing this?

We're convinced Catholic officials are trying to shut us down and shut victims up, while also deterring witnesses, whistleblowers, journalists and other from contacting us.  There are lots of other theories. Some suggest that this is a move to distract the public and parishioners from the serious and on-going clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Kansas City diocese (where Bishop Robert Finn faces criminal charges for refusing, for months, to give evidence of child porn to police). Others feel the attack stems from our formal complaint at the International Criminal Court against top Vatican officials for continuing to enable and conceal child sex crimes. (That filing was in early September. We were hit with the first subpoena in late October.)

How exactly are Catholic officials mounting this attack?

They're trying to drag us in to two civil lawsuits in which we're not involved. (SNAP has, in fact, only filed one lawsuit in our history.)  In Kansas City, it's John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese. In St. Louis, it's Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese.  They have issued four wide-ranging subpoenas (one in Kansas City and three in St. Louis) on two SNAP leaders (David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris) demanding thousands of pages of emails and records involving many individuals who have never met the accused or the accusers or even heard of the lawsuits at issue. Earlier this month, Clohessy was deposed for more than six hours by five lawyers representing Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and five Kansas City accused pedophile priests (Fr. Michael Tierney, Msgr. Thomas O'Brien, Fr. Mark Honhart, Fr. Francis McGlynn and Fr. Thomas Cronin).

How is SNAP responding?

We're doing all that we can to protect the privacy of people who contact us.  (Our choices are limited, however, because we are not a party to either lawsuit. Church officials are shrewdly attacking us in a venue where we lack much power or many options.) In his deposition, Clohessy refused to answer many question or give virtually any information about our members, supporters, and donors or our contacts withfamily members, journalists, police, prosecutors, whistleblowers and concerned Catholics.  We provided hundreds of pages of already-public documents (news releases, lawsuits, a print out of our website). But we are also refusing to provide hundreds  more pages that we consider private under our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, privacy, the Missouri rape shield law, and similar laws.

Are these two bishops acting alone?

We don't think so. This is the first time any SNAP staffer has been subpoenaed in 23 years, within weeks, and  they've done it to two of our three professional staff.  The first two subpoenas, though issued in different diocese by different lawyers, are virtually identical.

Are these two accused priests guilty?

The Kansas City priest (Tierney) has been suspended by his own bishop and faces at least five accusers in pending civil cases. The St. Louis priest (Ross) pled guilty in the late 1988 to molesting a boy. (After his sentence was completed, archdiocesan officials quietly put him back into a parish, warning no one. That's when and where he sexually assaulted this now 19 year old girl from 1998-2000.)

What about the claim that the Kansas City victim's attorney allegedly broke a "gag order?"

We in SNAP don't believe she did. And we're highly skeptical of this claim, in part because church officials refuse to take steps to formally accuse her with any wrongdoing. (They merely make the accusation without doing so in any forum where she could defend herself.) No one has found that she's done anything wrong. And we in SNAP didn't and couldn't violate any such "gag order" because none was issued against us.

What's next in the legal arena?

In St. Louis, we're trying to figure out who we can get to represent us. In Kansas City we expect lawyers for Tierney and Bishop Finn to try to get a judge to force us to give them even more information (both documents and deposition answers) soon.

How have journalists responded to these attacks?

The Missouri Press Association, representing 280 news outlets, has filed an amicus brief in court challenging the Kansas City subpoena as a threat to press freedom. The state's two largest newspapers, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, have editorialized against church officials and their lawyers. The National Catholic Reporter has also editorialized on their side. A link to these articles can be found on the  snapnetwork web site.

In KC, isn't this an attack by the accused priest, not by Bishop Finn?

It's important to remember that Fr. Tierney has sworn to obey Bishop Finn and is still being paid by Finn. Finn is a monarch in charge of the whole diocese. So Finn could order Tierney to stop. Instead, Finn's lawyers are cooperating with Tierney's lawyers while Finn himself stays silent. (We also suspect that Finn is paying for Tierney's lawyer.)  This is often the pattern in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases: the predator priest's lawyer plays "bad cop" while the complicit bishop's lawyer plays "good cop."

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511

"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.

 

Rosemary McHugh
Rosemary McHugh

I am a Catholic physician. I have met many who have been sexually abused by priests. I have great respect for the work that is done for victim/survivors and their families by SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). David Clohessy,Barbara Blaine, and Barbara Dorris are people of the utmost integrity, who were sexually abused themselves by priests when they were innocent children. They want to help the church to protect other children from what they experienced. The betrayal of trust by a priest is lifelong. Many who have been sexually abused never have the courage to speak up about it. Some even commit suicide. The American hierarchy have no shame in what they have done to David Clohessy. Instead of the American hierarchy making the predator priests accountable, they are victimizing those who have been victims of abuse. This is so wrong. Where is Jesus in this?Please see the video of "60 Minutes" which was shown on TV this past Sunday. Bob Simon interviewed Archbishop Martin of Dublin, Ireland on the priest sexual abuse there. Unlike the American bishops who are not humbly listening to the victims, Archbishop Martin is listening to the victims and making the predator priests accountable to civil law. Crimes are being committed and the lives of the victims are being irreparably damaged. It is time that the American hierarchy focus on the protection of innocent children and make their predator clergy accountable to civil law.Sincerely,  Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois

Paul
Paul

I think it is ashamed that the Cathlic church of Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese of Missouri is attacking an organization that is advocating for sexually abused individuals by catholic preists. It is sick. I am a retired deacon of the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago. The reason I retired is because of all of the lying and hiding of abusive priests.

SNAPJudy
SNAPJudy

It is becoming clearer every day that child predators, church officials, and their lawyers are desperately using any ugly tactic to:-- shut down SNAP-- intimidate all child sex abuse victims,witnesses, and whistleblowers to keep quiet -- keep crimes of cover up and enabling child predators from being exposed-- keep those who commit these crimes from being held accountable or jailed-- protect child predators-- makes parents and parishioners believe their child protection policy works-- stop the media (their biggest fear) from reporting on this subject -- keep the full ugly truth from being known

SNAPJudy
SNAPJudy

The catholic hierarchy has never been so close to being held accountable for enabling sex crimes against thousands of innocent kids.

It has become clear that they will use any disgusting tactic to keep themselves in power and out of jail.

BUT, we will not stop. Victims will not shut up anymore. The silence has been broken, and it is very loud..

The sex abuse of children needs to talked about even more, it needs to be in the news even more, the taboo needs to be removed. A victim of child sex abuse is given a life sentence of pain, trauma, horrific nightmares, daily triggers, feeling of being all alone, lack of self confidence, and just desperately trying to stay alive ... and now the church officials want victims to continue to suffer and to keep their mouths shut, so that bishops and church leaders can keep on doing what they have been doing for decades.

It is time that these so called holy men be kicked off their pedestals, that is never a healthy place for any human being to be. Sorry, the ugly stinking can of worms has been opened, and there is no way these church leaders can stuff those worms back in the can.... they are now crawly all over the world. Victims will not go backwards. Victims will go forward...  even when we do outreach work by using our own hard earned money.

I work every day reaching out to still silent victims and trying to expose the truth so that kids will be safe. SNAP will not shut down, we have too many dedicated volunteers who care about helping victims and protecting kids.

My brother and several of my relatives were not sexually abused by our long time parish priest for nothing.

The hundreds of hurting victims and family members whom I have talked with did not get sexually abused by clergy for nothing.

The hundreds of clergy abuse victims who have committed suicide did not die for nothing..

WE WILL NOT GO BACK INTO HIDING, AND WE WILL NOT KEEP QUIET....

There is way too much at stake, OUR CHILDREN....!!!

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director,

"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests"

 

SNAPJudy
SNAPJudy

The catholic hierarchy has never been so close to being held accountable for enabling sex crimes against thousands of innocent kids. It has become clear that they will use any disgusting tactic to keep themselves in power and out of jail.BUT, we will not stop. Victims will not shut up anymore. The silence has been broken, and it is very loud.. The sex abuse of children needs to talked about even more, it needs to be in the news even more, the taboo needs to be removed. A victim of child sex abuse is given a life sentence of pain, trauma, horrific nightmares, daily triggers, feeling of being all alone, lack of self confidence, and just desperately trying to stay alive ... and now the church officials want victims to continue to suffer and to keep their mouths shut, so that bishops and church leaders can keep on doing what they have been doing for decades.It is time that these so called holy men be kicked off their pedestals, that is never a healthy place for any human being to be. Sorry, the ugly stinking can of worms has been opened, and there is no way these church leaders can stuff those worms back in the can.... they are now crawly all over the world. Victims will not go backwards. Victims will go forward...  even when we do outreach work by using our own hard earned money. I work every day reaching out to still silent victims and trying to expose the truth so that kids will be safe. SNAP will not shut down, we have too many dedicated volunteers who care about helping victims and protecting kids.My brother and several of my relatives were not sexually abused by our long time parish priest for nothing.The hundreds of hurting victims and family members whom I have talked with did not get sexually abused by clergy for nothing.The hundreds of clergy abuse victims who have committed suicide did not die for nothing..WE WILL NOT GO BACK INTO HIDING, AND WE WILL NOT KEEP QUIET....There is way too much at stake, OUR CHILDREN....!!!Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511 <snapjudy@gmail.--->"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.</snapjudy@gmail.--->

Brealnow
Brealnow

the catholic religion and its managers and lawyers are about as close to Jesus Christ as the moon is from the Sun.Thanks for showing your true colors...we the mass will gladly go to another part of God's family to give love back to the Creator and society. The catholic religin is making a mockery of Christianity and is foolishly  building their own grave of ignorance.

SNAPJudy
SNAPJudy

FACT SHEETWhat's the crisis facing SNAP?

Catholic officials in two Missouri dioceses are trying to force key SNAP staff people to answer hours of questions under oath about and turn over thousands of pages of confidential communications with victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and concerned parishioners. It's an unprecedented assault on crime victims, on those who help crime victims and on our self help group.

Who's affected by this?

This potentially affects any crime victim who wants or needs privacy. It also affects police, prosecutors, journalists, witnesses, whistleblowers, victims, self help groups, counseling agencies - literally anyone who helps victims and exposes criminals. Emboldened by church officials' legal successes, a rapist may now seek, and perhaps get, records and depositions from staff at the center his victim went to for help. A violent husband might get documents and depositions from staff at the domestic violence center where the spouse he battered sought refuge.

Why is it a crisis?

This is the most severe threat we in SNAP have ever faced, for at least three reasons. First, fewer people are stepping forward and seeking help, fearing that their identities and experiences will be turned over to lawyers for predator priests and corrupt bishops. Second, these legal attacks consume massive amounts of time that our volunteers and staff need to devote to protecting kids, exposing predators, helping victims, reforming laws, and deterring future child sex crimes and cover ups. Third, these moves are driving SNAP toward bankruptcy. (We've had to suddenly spend tens of thousands of dollars just fighting and dealing with the first subpoena and church officials seem determined to drag out this process for months and months.) Some of our current members now fear that we will turn over their private information. As such, they have requested that we remove from them our member list. 

Has SNAP already been hurt?

Absolutely. We've already spent more than 300 person-hours going through files. For weeks, we've done little of what we normally do to "protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded." Instead, we've been forced to look long and hard for pro bono attorneys to help us. And we've spent hours and hours working with attorneys to fight motion after motion from church defense lawyers, prepare for depositions, etc.

Why are Catholic officials doing this?

We're convinced Catholic officials are trying to shut us down and shut victims up, while also deterring witnesses, whistleblowers, journalists and other from contacting us.  There are lots of other theories. Some suggest that this is a move to distract the public and parishioners from the serious and on-going clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Kansas City diocese (where Bishop Robert Finn faces criminal charges for refusing, for months, to give evidence of child porn to police). Others feel the attack stems from our formal complaint at the International Criminal Court against top Vatican officials for continuing to enable and conceal child sex crimes. (That filing was in early September. We were hit with the first subpoena in late October.)

How exactly are Catholic officials mounting this attack?

They're trying to drag us in to two civil lawsuits in which we're not involved. (SNAP has, in fact, only filed one lawsuit in our history.)  In Kansas City, it's John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese. In St. Louis, it's Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese.  They have issued four wide-ranging subpoenas (one in Kansas City and three in St. Louis) on two SNAP leaders (David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris) demanding thousands of pages of emails and records involving many individuals who have never met the accused or the accusers or even heard of the lawsuits at issue. Earlier this month, Clohessy was deposed for more than six hours by five lawyers representing Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and five Kansas City accused pedophile priests (Fr. Michael Tierney, Msgr. Thomas O'Brien, Fr. Mark Honhart, Fr. Francis McGlynn and Fr. Thomas Cronin).

How is SNAP responding?

We're doing all that we can to protect the privacy of people who contact us.  (Our choices are limited, however, because we are not a party to either lawsuit. Church officials are shrewdly attacking us in a venue where we lack much power or many options.) In his deposition, Clohessy refused to answer many question or give virtually any information about our members, supporters, and donors or our contacts withfamily members, journalists, police, prosecutors, whistleblowers and concerned Catholics.  We provided hundreds of pages of already-public documents (news releases, lawsuits, a print out of our website). But we are also refusing to provide hundreds  more pages that we consider private under our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, privacy, the Missouri rape shield law, and similar laws.

Are these two bishops acting alone?

We don't think so. This is the first time any SNAP staffer has been subpoenaed in 23 years, within weeks, and  they've done it to two of our three professional staff.  The first two subpoenas, though issued in different diocese by different lawyers, are virtually identical.

Are these two accused priests guilty?

The Kansas City priest (Tierney) has been suspended by his own bishop and faces at least five accusers in pending civil cases. The St. Louis priest (Ross) pled guilty in the late 1988 to molesting a boy. (After his sentence was completed, archdiocesan officials quietly put him back into a parish, warning no one. That's when and where he sexually assaulted this now 19 year old girl from 1998-2000.)

What about the claim that the Kansas City victim's attorney allegedly broke a "gag order?"

We in SNAP don't believe she did. And we're highly skeptical of this claim, in part because church officials refuse to take steps to formally accuse her with any wrongdoing. (They merely make the accusation without doing so in any forum where she could defend herself.) No one has found that she's done anything wrong. And we in SNAP didn't and couldn't violate any such "gag order" because none was issued against us.

What's next in the legal arena?

In St. Louis, we're trying to figure out who we can get to represent us. In Kansas City we expect lawyers for Tierney and Bishop Finn to try to get a judge to force us to give them even more information (both documents and deposition answers) soon.

How have journalists responded to these attacks?

The Missouri Press Association, representing 280 news outlets, has filed an amicus brief in court challenging the Kansas City subpoena as a threat to press freedom. The state's two largest newspapers, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, have editorialized against church officials and their lawyers. The National Catholic Reporter has also editorialized on their side. A link to these articles can be found on the  snapnetwork web site.

In KC, isn't this an attack by the accused priest, not by Bishop Finn?

It's important to remember that Fr. Tierney has sworn to obey Bishop Finn and is still being paid by Finn. Finn is a monarch in charge of the whole diocese. So Finn could order Tierney to stop. Instead, Finn's lawyers are cooperating with Tierney's lawyers while Finn himself stays silent. (We also suspect that Finn is paying for Tierney's lawyer.)  This is often the pattern in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases: the predator priest's lawyer plays "bad cop" while the complicit bishop's lawyer plays "good cop."

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511

"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.

 

SNAPJudy
SNAPJudy

FACT SHEETWhat's the crisis facing SNAP?

Catholic officials in two Missouri dioceses are trying to force key SNAP staff people to answer hours of questions under oath about and turn over thousands of pages of confidential communications with victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and concerned parishioners. It's an unprecedented assault on crime victims, on those who help crime victims and on our self help group.

Who's affected by this?

This potentially affects any crime victim who wants or needs privacy. It also affects police, prosecutors, journalists, witnesses, whistleblowers, victims, self help groups, counseling agencies - literally anyone who helps victims and exposes criminals. Emboldened by church officials' legal successes, a rapist may now seek, and perhaps get, records and depositions from staff at the center his victim went to for help. A violent husband might get documents and depositions from staff at the domestic violence center where the spouse he battered sought refuge.

Why is it a crisis?

This is the most severe threat we in SNAP have ever faced, for at least three reasons. First, fewer people are stepping forward and seeking help, fearing that their identities and experiences will be turned over to lawyers for predator priests and corrupt bishops. Second, these legal attacks consume massive amounts of time that our volunteers and staff need to devote to protecting kids, exposing predators, helping victims, reforming laws, and deterring future child sex crimes and cover ups. Third, these moves are driving SNAP toward bankruptcy. (We've had to suddenly spend tens of thousands of dollars just fighting and dealing with the first subpoena and church officials seem determined to drag out this process for months and months.) Some of our current members now fear that we will turn over their private information. As such, they have requested that we remove from them our member list. 

Has SNAP already been hurt?

Absolutely. We've already spent more than 300 person-hours going through files. For weeks, we've done little of what we normally do to "protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded." Instead, we've been forced to look long and hard for pro bono attorneys to help us. And we've spent hours and hours working with attorneys to fight motion after motion from church defense lawyers, prepare for depositions, etc.

Why are Catholic officials doing this?

We're convinced Catholic officials are trying to shut us down and shut victims up, while also deterring witnesses, whistleblowers, journalists and other from contacting us.  There are lots of other theories. Some suggest that this is a move to distract the public and parishioners from the serious and on-going clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Kansas City diocese (where Bishop Robert Finn faces criminal charges for refusing, for months, to give evidence of child porn to police). Others feel the attack stems from our formal complaint at the International Criminal Court against top Vatican officials for continuing to enable and conceal child sex crimes. (That filing was in early September. We were hit with the first subpoena in late October.)

How exactly are Catholic officials mounting this attack?

They're trying to drag us in to two civil lawsuits in which we're not involved. (SNAP has, in fact, only filed one lawsuit in our history.)  In Kansas City, it's John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese. In St. Louis, it's Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese.  They have issued four wide-ranging subpoenas (one in Kansas City and three in St. Louis) on two SNAP leaders (David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris) demanding thousands of pages of emails and records involving many individuals who have never met the accused or the accusers or even heard of the lawsuits at issue. Earlier this month, Clohessy was deposed for more than six hours by five lawyers representing Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and five Kansas City accused pedophile priests (Fr. Michael Tierney, Msgr. Thomas O'Brien, Fr. Mark Honhart, Fr. Francis McGlynn and Fr. Thomas Cronin).

How is SNAP responding?

We're doing all that we can to protect the privacy of people who contact us.  (Our choices are limited, however, because we are not a party to either lawsuit. Church officials are shrewdly attacking us in a venue where we lack much power or many options.) In his deposition, Clohessy refused to answer many question or give virtually any information about our members, supporters, and donors or our contacts withfamily members, journalists, police, prosecutors, whistleblowers and concerned Catholics.  We provided hundreds of pages of already-public documents (news releases, lawsuits, a print out of our website). But we are also refusing to provide hundreds  more pages that we consider private under our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, privacy, the Missouri rape shield law, and similar laws.

Are these two bishops acting alone?

We don't think so. This is the first time any SNAP staffer has been subpoenaed in 23 years, within weeks, and  they've done it to two of our three professional staff.  The first two subpoenas, though issued in different diocese by different lawyers, are virtually identical.

Are these two accused priests guilty?

The Kansas City priest (Tierney) has been suspended by his own bishop and faces at least five accusers in pending civil cases. The St. Louis priest (Ross) pled guilty in the late 1988 to molesting a boy. (After his sentence was completed, archdiocesan officials quietly put him back into a parish, warning no one. That's when and where he sexually assaulted this now 19 year old girl from 1998-2000.)

What about the claim that the Kansas City victim's attorney allegedly broke a "gag order?"

We in SNAP don't believe she did. And we're highly skeptical of this claim, in part because church officials refuse to take steps to formally accuse her with any wrongdoing. (They merely make the accusation without doing so in any forum where she could defend herself.) No one has found that she's done anything wrong. And we in SNAP didn't and couldn't violate any such "gag order" because none was issued against us.

What's next in the legal arena?

In St. Louis, we're trying to figure out who we can get to represent us. In Kansas City we expect lawyers for Tierney and Bishop Finn to try to get a judge to force us to give them even more information (both documents and deposition answers) soon.

How have journalists responded to these attacks?

The Missouri Press Association, representing 280 news outlets, has filed an amicus brief in court challenging the Kansas City subpoena as a threat to press freedom. The state's two largest newspapers, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, have editorialized against church officials and their lawyers. The National Catholic Reporter has also editorialized on their side. A link to these articles can be found here: www.snapnetwork.org/snaps_figh...

In KC, isn't this an attack by the accused priest, not by Bishop Finn?

It's important to remember that Fr. Tierney has sworn to obey Bishop Finn and is still being paid by Finn. Finn is a monarch in charge of the whole diocese. So Finn could order Tierney to stop. Instead, Finn's lawyers are cooperating with Tierney's lawyers while Finn himself stays silent. (We also suspect that Finn is paying for Tierney's lawyer.)  This is often the pattern in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases: the predator priest's lawyer plays "bad cop" while the complicit bishop's lawyer plays "good cop."

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511

snapjudy@gmail.com

"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/

 

jack kass
jack kass

The Catholic Church=Taliban Lite. 

jack kass
jack kass

What exactly is your problem? Once again, you are the same POS as above. Why would he go after anyone BUT the church? He was Catholic you dim-wit. I fucking dare you to show yourself you coward. However, we all know you will not. 

jack kass
jack kass

Please say more, and do it without hiding you coward. I live in KC, and I would be more than happy to meet your sorry ass halfway. We will see how brave you are then. 

jack kass
jack kass

obviously you are the same person hiding behind a different screen name. Get help or get beat; choose one.

jack kass
jack kass

You deserve an ass-whipping. You are either one of the turds behind this, or you are in the closet. If it is the latter, I forgive you. Just come out. If it is the former, I dare you to stop hiding behind a stupid moniker and show yourself motherfucker.

jack kass
jack kass

Thank you for your tireless effort on behalf of all of us Judy.

Dennis Kirby
Dennis Kirby

Excellent explanation of the situation, Judy.  I have often wondered about these diocesan lawyers and diocesan officials and the state of their consciences, while they are doing what they did to David.   Yes, a lawyer should assist his/her client, but there are moral and ethical boundries to that assistance--beyond which the behaviors become immoral and unethical. 

My thinking is that these diocesan lawyers and other officials should be called out.  Their names and behaviors should be broadly communicated to the public, so that the public could then judge these individuals for their behaviors.  This "call out" also applies to judges who skew their judgements and rulings, and to the editor of the local diocesan newspaper for misleading the laity with biases and incomplete articles that push the bishop's agenda.Only a few good people have resigned rather than betray their consciences, and these too should be held up for honor. 

David Clohessy
David Clohessy

Paul - Thanks for your supportive comment. I'd love to chat with you sometime if you are willing. 314 566 9790. David

d.and.l
d.and.l

This article failed to mention that the reason Clohessy and SNAP released the deposition is because my web site - TheMediaReport.com - posted it first last Thursday night. Clohessy and SNAP did NOT want this deposition made public.

Dave PierreTheMediaReport.com

-

d.and.l
d.and.l

The reason that SNAP and Clohessy released the deposition is because my site posted it first.

*EXCLUSIVE* Deposition of SNAP's Clohessy Revealed! (Thu., 3/1/12)http://www.themediareport.com/... 

My indication was that Clohessy and SNAP did NOT want the deposition out in the public.

This article failed to mention that the deposition was conducted to determine the violation of a gag order. The article also did not mention that Clohessy refused to answer many questions and hand over all court-ordered documents, despite losing several appeals to try not to do so.

Dave PierreTheMediaReport.com

-

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