Newly released court documents in Missouri have exposed an alarming practice by which the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), abuse attorneys, and the media conspire against the Catholic Church.
These documents reveal that plaintiff attorneys have utilized SNAP to issue press releases about lawsuits that have yet to be publicly filed in court.
Defense attorneys for an accused Kansas City priest have chronicled an eye-opening series of events from last October. Please take note of the times:
- October 20, 2011, 8:14 a.m.: SNAP issues a press release announcing a lawsuit against a priest and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The press release stamps the accused cleric as a “predator priest who still walks free now.” The release lists David Clohessy, SNAP’s national director, as the contact person, and it provides his email address and cell phone number.
- October 20, 2011, 10:55 a.m.: Attaching the press release sent to her by SNAP, a Kansas City Star reporter (very likely Judy Thomas) contacts the diocese and the accused priest’s attorney for them to comment on the suit. Neither party makes a statement, citing a gag order that’s in place.
- October 20, 2011, 2:44 p.m.: The lawsuit that SNAP has already publicized is filed in court.
The defense for the accused priest has stated the obvious with regards to this surly succession of events (capital letters in original):
"There is simply no way that the SNAP press release was made without the assistance of plaintiff counsel since the lawsuit was publically filed hours AFTER the press release was issued."
SNAP and the abuse attorney then repeated this surly practice a few weeks later, on November 8, 2011. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph received a press release from SNAP around 11:12 a.m. about a lawsuit that was not even filed until 1:28 p.m.
The priest’s attorney adds (emphasis added):
"SNAP could not detail allegations from lawsuits that weren’t even filed at the time of the press releases without plaintiff counsel assistance. A conclusion can be drawn from the timing of the press releases and the filing of the lawsuits that Plaintiff counsel and SNAP are working in concert to vilify [the accused cleric] and the Diocese in the media."
An important, final note: It is because of this series of events that David Clohessy was ordered to appear at a deposition earlier this month. The accuser's attorney appeared to clearly violate a court gag order that was in place regarding the accused priest, and it is pretty obvious that Clohessy was party to this.
David Clohessy wants to dupe the media and the public into believing that the Church deposed him for the explicit purpose of revealing accusers’ names and violating people’s privacy. This is patently false, and Clohessy knows it. (The Church already knows the names of the people who have accused it, and it guards their privacy according to civil law.)
If Clohessy never took part in these shifty series of events, he never would have been deposed. Period.