Thursday, August 23, 2007

Disturbing Clergy Sex Abuse & Cover Up Press Conference


WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The following press release is being issued on behalf of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests:

WHAT -- At sidewalk news conferences in DC and three other cities, a new $1.2 million settlement in a recent Catholic priest sex abuse and cover up lawsuit will be disclosed and discussed.

The child sex crimes happened until 2002, the predator was moved to another state, and during a police probe of the case, church officials failed to notify law enforcement about reports of a second victim.

Later, the church hierarchy sought a court order to prevent them from having to disclose the name of a Catholic teacher who was in touch with the second victim. A judge refused to grant their request.

WHEN -- TODAY, Thursday, Aug. 23, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE -- Outside St. Dominic's Catholic Church, 630 E Street SW, Washington DC -- (202-544-7863)

WHO -- The Frederick MD parents of the now 21 year old victim, their attorneys, and a Missouri man who heads a nationwide a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

WHY -- Last week, Brandon Rains settled the civil child molestation lawsuit he filed in 2005 against the Washington Archdiocese, a religious order, and Fr. Aaron Joseph Cote, who abused Rains when he was a teenager. The crimes took place at/near two DC-area parishes (including this one) just five years ago (2001-02). Despite two separate, credible child sex abuse allegations, church officials let Cote keep working in parish ministry, up until that suit was filed. Equally disturbing, they fought to keep secret the identity of a Catholic teacher who was in touch with another young victim of Cote’s.

Cote is still a priest and now lives at the priory, according to his sworn testimony in a deposition given a year ago.

Thirty pages of previously-secret church documents about Cote, filed in a DC court, will be provided. They show that Catholic authorities were worried and warned about Cote’s excessive drinking and his disturbing interest in children even during his seminary days. They considered not ordaining him.

After Rains reported his abuse, Cote was transferred to St. Pius V church in Providence, Rhode Island. Previously, he’d worked in -- Peru, where records show he repeatedly and inappropriately let kids be and stay in priests’ living quarters, --Ohio, where he was also accused of molesting a boy years ago in the Columbus diocese. (For months, however, church officials refused to turn over, either to police or to Brandon’s attorneys, the name of a key witness in that incident. Ultimately, under court order, that individual’s identity was finally disclosed.)

The case is clear proof, SNAP says, of how church officials in general (and religious orders in particular) ignore the US bishops weak and vague but highly-touted child sex abuse policies adopted five years ago

Cote, now 56, belongs to the Dominican religious order and also worked in two DC area suburbs - Bethesda and Germantown (where some of Rains’ abuse took place).
Another link to the Washington Post article

Similar news conferences are being held today in two cities where Cote worked (Providence RI and Columbus OH) and where he abused Rains (Washington DC).

For More Information:
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president 312 399 4747 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314 566 9790 cell
St. Paul attorneys Jeff Anderson 612 817 8665 & Mike Finnegan 612 205 5531


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when is The Awareness Center going to organize a rally like this in front of Ner Israel and Heinemann's shul?

August 23, 2007 8:45 PM  

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