[First reported at TheMediaReport.com]
A falsely accused priest in Michigan has sued the group SNAP, SNAP's disgraced former director David Clohessy, the Detroit Free Press newspaper, and the Macomb Daily newspaper, claiming that they wrongly charged that he molested a 16-year-old girl in the 1970s.
Rev. Kenneth Kaucheck filed a lawsuit for defamation and libel in Wayne County Circuit Court in Michigan, on January 30, and now TheMediaReport.com is the first to report the news. This is already the second lawsuit that SNAP has faced so far in 2017.
Seeking truth and justiceIn 2009, after Fr. Kaucheck had served over three decades in ministry with a completely unblemished record, a lone woman came forward to claim that Kaucheck molested her over thirty years earlier, in 1976. Kaucheck has vehemently denied the charges.
According to the lawsuit, Kaucheck was placed on administrative leave after the allegation, but neither a civil, criminal, or canonical hearing has ever been held for Kaucheck to present his case and fight the false claim.
Yet the mere decades-old accusation – made by a woman who enjoys complete anonymity – did not halt SNAP and the media from hurling false statements about the priest.
According to the lawsuit, among the many false claims that were aired was that the Archdiocese of Detroit "determined that in 1976 he committed sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old girl." In truth, even though Kaucheck has delivered to the Archdiocese of Detroit sworn affidavits and other evidence to support his innocence, no such determination has ever been made about his case, and there has never been any kind of hearing allowing him to prove his innocence.
Fr. Kaucheck was also accused of "working with pregnant teens" at a shelter (Gianna House) "without the knowledge or approval of the Archdiocese." In fact, according to the lawsuit, Rev. Kaucheck has never had any contact with any girls at the facility, his role at Gianna House is strictly one for fundraising, and the archdiocese was very well aware of Kaucheck's work for the shelter since its inception.
In 2015, Kaucheck voluntarily submitted himself to a psychological evaluation by an expert in priest sex abuse. The doctor concluded that Fr. Kaucheck's history, psychological profile, and spiritual life are "not consistent with those who sexually abuse adolescent females" and that "Fr. Kaucheck is and always has been a psychologically healthy priest and he is not a threat to adolescent females or to women."
Not letting the facts get in the way
Yet the inconvenient truths about Fr. Kaucheck's case did not stop SNAP's hysterical former director, David Clohessy, from doing his usual smear job. On April 17, 2016, Clohessy and SNAP published a press release trumpeting that Kaucheck was "ousted because he molested a girl" and that the Archdiocese of Detroit should alert every parish in the archdiocese so it will be "harder for [Fr. Kaucheck] to assault another girl."
Surprisingly, SNAP has removed the offending post from its web site (see a screenshot). We are unaware of any other time in SNAP's history that the group has removed a press release from its site, no matter how incorrect or crazy. This sure appears to be an admission of guilt by Clohessy and SNAP.
As for the Detroit Free Press and the Macomb Daily newspapers, in the summer of 2016, a lawyer for Fr. Kaucheck sent letters to the papers which asked for retractions from the papers and provided evidence to support the requests. (The letters are attached to the lawsuit.)
What were the papers' response to the lawyer's requests? Both papers completely ignored them. And while both papers have gleefully regurgitated the false charges about Fr. Kaucheck over the years, neither paper has ever informed the public that Fr. Kaucheck requested a retraction and has now sued them. So much for transparency.
Kudos to Fr. Kaucheck for standing up to the crazy bullies at SNAP and in the media and for fighting for truth and justice.
• "SNAP's Clohessy Resigns In Wake of Lawsuit Scandal That SNAP Took Lawyer Kickbacks and Exploited Victims" (1/25/17)
• "SNAP’s Leadership Suddenly Resigns Amid Lawsuits and Scandals" (2/7/17)