The strident National Catholic Reporter has exclusively reported that a Missouri judge is forcing David Clohessy, the national president of SNAP, to appear at a deposition, and Clohessy is vehemently fighting the order.
A judge has told Clohessy and SNAP to turn over all of their documents related to the case of an accused priest. According to the Reporter, these demanded documents may include:
- press releases or press release drafts;
- correspondence with members of the press;
- any correspondence with the victim named in the lawsuit;
- any correspondence from members of the public "that discuss or relates to repressed memory";
- and more.
Clohessy and his legal help are frantically fighting this court order, weakly claiming that the deposition could have "a huge chilling effect on helping child sex abuse victims at every stage."
A judge has already overruled SNAP's objections, and a Missouri Court of Appeals has denied an appeal. A judge has ordered Clohessy to "submit himself for deposition Monday, Jan. 2 (2012)," according to the Reporter.
It appears that SNAP's last hope is to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court to review the case. SNAP's chances of success for this are possible, but thin.
Clohessy's actions reek of hypocrisy. While SNAP and Clohessy now fight viciously to keep their own documents secret, they have repeatedly blasted the Catholic Church over the years for alleged "secrecy." Consider this small sampling from recent press statements from SNAP:
- "SNAP blasts St. Louis church officials for 'reckless secrecy'" (from a 1/12/11 press release)
- "Sex abuse victims denounce secrecy" (1/24/11 press release)
- Victims accuse bishop of "secrecy and stonewalling" (from a 2/3/11 press release)
- "Victims blast Cardinal's on-going secrecy regarding predators" (7/28/11 press release)
- "Such callous and irresponsible secrecy and delay gives ample time for corrupt church and school officials to intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers …" (David Clohessy media statement just weeks ago, 11/26/11)
The hypocrisy is glaring.
Quoted in the article is Yeshiva University's Marci A. Hamilton, who – in addition to having a close relationship with SNAP – has a well-established record of being fast-and-loose with the facts.
Final note #1 … When I first read this story on the Reporter this morning (Fri., 12/30/11), I went to the web site of the Kansas City Star to see what it has reported, since this story is occurring right in its backyard. The Star's leading Church-bashing reporter, Judy Thomas, is nowhere to be found on this huge development. I emailed her about this, and I have yet to receive a response.
Where are you, Judy? (UPDATE, Fri. pm: Kansascity.com has posted a wire version (AP) of the story.)
Final note #2 … It is interesting that the case against the accused priest appears to involve "repressed memory." Indeed, leading memory experts have thoroughly debunked the theory of "repressed memory."
Stay tuned. There's a lot more to come on this, and it could get very interesting.
[And a reminder: This is not the first instance of hypocrisy from SNAP's Clohessy. It has been reported that in the early 1990's Clohessy knew of allegations that his brother, Kevin – a Catholic priest – was sexually abusing innocent boys. Yet Clohessy did not call the police. Read more about this.]