Late today (3/1/12), TheMediaReport.com obtained a copy of the high-profile but carefully guarded deposition given by David Clohessy, the national director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), on January 2, 2012. The deposition was conducted in Clayton, Missouri, as part of an effort to determine the violation of a court-imposed gag order in the case of an accused Catholic priest.
The deposition exposes Clohessy as steadfastly refusing to answer many of the questions asked of him and declining to hand over important documents ordered by a judge. Clohessy did this despite losing a number of appeals before being forced to be deposed.
For years, Clohessy has been incessantly railing against Catholic Church officials for alleged "lack of transparency," "hardball tactics," and "avoiding tough questions." Meanwhile, it is these very traits that characterize Clohessy's January deposition appearance.
Clohessy repeatedly refused to answer many questions based on the objections from him and his lawyers that SNAP falls under the privacy protections provided in the "Missouri Rape Crisis Center Statute."
However, in the deposition, the reader learns:
- SNAP has never advertised or promoted itself as a rape crisis center;
- SNAP's tax records have shown no expenses for rape counseling services nor any identification as a "rape crisis center";
- Clohessy has no formal training as a rape counselor;
- Clohessy works out of his home;
- There are no paid licensed rape crisis counselors on SNAP's staff, with the possible exception of SNAP president Barbara Blaine in Chicago;
- Clohessy could not give a definition of "rape trauma syndrome";
- Clohessy could not tell what a "safe exam" is; and
- Clohessy could not give a definition of "repressed memory."
In other words, lawyers for an accused priest effectively shredded Clohessy's claim that SNAP operates in the manner of a rape crisis center.
Clohessy also said that he had no idea that SNAP "is required by federal law to contribute so much of their assets every year for charitable purposes."
"I'm not aware of that," Clohessy replied.
Understandably, Clohessy was clearly displeased to be on the hot seat. At one point Clohessy bemoaned that the lawyers' questions were "a gross violation of [accusers'] constitutional rights and our constitutional rights and freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and privacy."
A couple of other interesting exchanges in the deposition:
Q: Has SNAP to your knowledge ever issued a press release that contained false information?
Q: Is part of what you do, and that is SNAP, is to coordinate with lawyers that file lawsuits against Catholic priests?
Clohessy: We certainly talk to lawyers who file lawsuits.
Uh-huh. We pretty much knew that.
TheMediaReport.com has learned that a ruling is expected April 20, 2012, that may compel Clohessy to answer the questions he refused to answer in the deposition.