Two Clergy Sex Abuse Cases Settle
By David Clohessy
September 13, 2012
Two clergy sex cases settle
Victims urge bishop to do outreach
On his 1 year anniversary, SNAP prods NH’s top Catholic official
"Go beyond bare minimum," group says, “and visit predators’ parishes”
“And put names of pedophile priests on your website,” support group begs
SNAP: For kids’ safety & victims’ healing, “it’s the LEAST any Catholic diocese should do”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a year after NH’s Catholic bishop was picked, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will publicly
---disclose that two clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against a NH priest have just settled,
---urge NH’s bishop to aggressively seek out other victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers of this child molesting cleric and others, and
----beg him to post on his diocesan website - like 30 other bishops have done - the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused pedophile priests (to help protect innocent kids and heal wounded victims).
TODAY, Thursday September 12 at 2:15 PM
Outside the Manchester Diocese headquarters (“chancery office”’), 153 Ash Street (between Orange and Myrtle) in downtown Manchester.
Three-four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man whose brother is a predator priest and who is the organization’s long time director
Two civil lawsuits against a predator priest have just been settled by the Diocese of Manchester. The child molesting cleric is the now-deceased Fr. George St. Jean, who died in 1982, but has been accused multiple times of molesting NH kids during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
In May 2010, Plymouth NH resident John Labbe sued St. Jean for sexually assaulted him roughly 100 times as a boy in the 1960s, when St. Jean was assigned to the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Colebrook (Labbe was murdered in 2011.)
In July 2010, another man filed suit charging that St. Jean had also abused him at St. Brendan’s parish in Colebrook. The alleged victim, identified as John Doe, said the crimes happened when he was 11 and 12.
In addition, according to a 2009 report from the NH Attorney General, St. Jean is also accused of molesting at least one child in Tyngsboro, Lowell or Dracut, MA.
“We hope that this settlement will help these victims with their healing and will encourage others who may have seen or suffered crimes by St. Jean or other NH priests to come forward,” said David Clohessy, SNAP Director.
For the first time, SNAP is also urging NH Bishop Peter Libasci (appointed to the NH post on 9/19/11) to permanently list on his diocesan website the names, photos and work histories of the 90+ proven, admitted and credibly accused NH child molesting clerics, so that kids will be safer, victims will feel vindicated, and the truth about NH clergy sex crimes and cover ups will be better revealed and understood.
“The need for Bishop Peter Libasci to do outreach in his diocese doesn’t diminish just because this predator is deceased,” said Clohessy. “By aggressively seeking out other victims, he can show he cares about children and victims and help deter future cover ups.”
Specifically, SNAP also wants Libasci to visit every parish where predator priests worked, prodding victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step forward.
SNAP encourages anyone who may have information or suspicions about clergy sex abuse or cover ups in the Manchester diocese to come forward, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they may think their information may be. They should call police and prosecutors, not church officials, SNAP says.
The formal names and case numbers of the two just-settled suits are: JOHN DOE v. DIOCESE OF MANCHESTER, STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE Case No. 226-2010-CV-00471, HILLSBOROUGH, SS. SUPERIOR COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT and JOHN LABBE v. DIOCESE OF MANCHESTER , STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE Case No. 10-C-0464, HILLSBOROUGH, SS. SUPERIOR COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT.
Both victims are represented by Miami attorney Jeffrey Herman (305 931 2200) who has handled hundreds of child sex abuse lawsuits across the US, mostly in churches and other institutional settings.
A photo of St. Jean is at BishopAccountability.org