A support group for victims of clergy abuse plans to hold a news conference Tuesday morning in Charlotte to protest recent dismissals of cases against two Roman Catholic priests in the Diocese of Charlotte.
The news conference comes one day after Pope Francis met with victims of clergy abuse and begged forgiveness for the way that victims’ cases were treated by Catholic officials.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) plans to gather about 10 a.m. outside the Diocesan Pastoral Center on Church Street at Morehead Street.
“We will urge Bishop Jugis to hold a news conference and admit that the men who reported having been sexually assaulted as kids by Fr. Kelleher and Fr. Farwell are credible,” according to a statement issued by SNAP.
During the past month, judges have dismissed both criminal and civil cases filed by people who said they were sexually abused by either Fr. Joseph Kelleher or Fr. Richard Farwell in the 1970s and 1980s.
In Albemarle, Judge Anna Mills Wagoner dismissed a criminal case against Kelleher, filed by a man who said he was abused in 1977 while Kelleher was a priest at Our Lady of Annunciation Church in Stanly County. Wagoner ruled that Kelleher, 86, now living in a nursing facility, is not mentally capable of standing trial.
And judges also dismissed civil suits filed against Kelleher and Farwell, saying those cases were filed after the state’s 10-year statute of limitations had expired. The alleged abuse occurred more than 25 years ago, according to the suits.
Charlotte’s Catholic diocese has said it has a number of policies in place to guard against sexual abuse. Those include mandatory training for all church staff members and volunteers, the diocese said.