SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]
April 27, 2021
New pedophile priests are exposed
Five are not on Rockford’s ‘accused’ list
One was convicted but is still in a parish
Another reportedly admitted child sex crime
And church officials call 2 ‘credibly accused’
Victims urge cooperation with IL AG probe
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names of five proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive clerics who were in the Rockford diocese but are NOT on the official Rockford diocese ‘accused’ list.
They will also disclose and discuss another predator priest who was just ‘outed’ by the diocese last month.
And they will blast local Catholic officials for their “continued secrecy and deceit.”
Finally, they will urge anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” clergy sex crimes to call the Illinois Attorney General who is conducting a statewide investigation into such crimes and cover ups in the Catholic church.
Tuesday, April 27. 8 at 1:00 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St. Peter, 1243 N. Church St. in Rockford, IL
Two-three adults who were abused as kids by clerics and who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s former national director and an Illinois man who is the group’s Chicago director.
—-1) SNAP has found five credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or were in the Rockford diocese but are NOT on the diocese’s ‘credibly accused list.
One was sued, one was suspended and one pled guilty to abusing two kids (but is still working in a Catholic parish). And two have been deemed ‘credibly accused’ by other Catholic entities.
SNAP charges that church officials, including Rockford Bishop David Malloy, “are being reckless, callous and secretive by protecting the identities of these predators.” The group wonders how many other abusive priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers, bishops or lay church employees in the Rockford area remain ‘under the radar.
The ‘missing’ predators are:
—Fr. Philip DeRae, who was deemed ‘credibly accused’ in 2020 by a Catholic religious order (the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart). He was sued for reportedly abused a Washington DC boy for eight years.
In the Rockford diocese, DeRea worked at the order’s headquarters in Aurora (1970-71) and studied at Sacred Heart Mission Seminary in Geneva (1956-1960). For three years (1976-79), he was vocations director for the order, traveling widely to recruit teens and young men to become priests and became chaplain to the Indy 500 car race.
DeRea also was a hospital chaplain, founded a Washington-DC non-profit hospital, worked in Rome 2003-2007 and died in 2017.
Two others are NOT on any church ‘credibly accused’ lists but should still be on Rockford’s list, SNAP says.
–Fr. Alfredo Pedraza-Arias, a diocesan priest who was charged with sexually abusing two girls under the age of six in 2009 and 2014. He pled guilty in 2018 and was deported to Colombia later that year.
Police were also looking to charge him with fondling a three-year-old girl when he worked in DeKalb.
In the Rockford diocese, he arrived 2013 and was suspended for suspected abuse by church authorities for abuse in 2014. He worked in Hispanic Ministry at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora and at least one other Aurora parish.
“This is a deliberate, egregious violation of Malloy’s pledge to be ‘open’ about abuse,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “And it inexcusably puts kids in South America at risk.
—Fr. Al F. Harte, who was sued in 2014 by Kathleen Gibbons of Rockford who said he molested her repeatedly for three years while a student at Holy Family Catholic School from 1972-1980 when she was 11 to 13 years old. Her attorney was Rene Hernandez of Rockford (815 387 0261).
(She also charged that two priests, “Fr. Bob” and “Fr. Allen abused her. on multiple occasions in 1978-80).
The suit, which has been settled, claimed the diocese knew of Harte’s behavior before her abuse. He died in 2002.
—Fr. Edwin Banach, who was suspended in 2002 for allegedly abusing two boys. (One was Sid Pauletto.)
In the Rockford diocese, he worked at St. Anthony of Padua twice for at least nine years, mostly in the 1960s-70s. In between, he was sent to a California parish, then sent back to St. Anthony’s in 1974, then sent again to California.
He belonged to the Franciscan religious order and died in 1984.
(NOTE: Another abuser, Fr. Ted Feely, was also at St. Anthony’s.)
—Fr. Lawrence “Bud” M. Spellen(also went by Jerome), who was declared ‘credibly accused’ of abuse in 2018 by the Salt Lake City diocese where he victimized three kids. He also reportedly molested in Hawaii where he was sued.
In 1993, church officials say Fr. Spellen “self-reported” his abuse to them and they found ‘some merit’ in sexual misconduct allegations against him and put him on leave.
In the Rockford in Illinois, Fr. Spellen was at St. Joseph Seminary, Elgin, IL from 1949-1952. He died in 2003.
Spellen “bounced around numerous parishes and assignments throughout his career” including stints in California and Colorado. He belonged to the Servite religious order and died in 2003.
—-2) Last month, Rockford’s bishop quietly added at least one cleric to his ‘credibly accused’ list: Fr. Joseph P. Marron, supposedly when San Diego church officials notified Malloy about Marron.
But Marron has been on the San Diego ‘accused’ list for 15 years ago, starting in 2007, and much of his personnel file was publicly released in 2010.
SNAP wants Malloy to apologize for and explain this delay and pledge to add news names promptly in the future.
As best SNAP can tell, Malloy only notified members at one parish about Fr. Marron (St. Mary Oratory in Rockford) and put a small story about him in the diocesan newspaper.
SNAP maintains that Malloy should notify the public, not just some parishioners when new abusers are posted on his website.
(Last October, Malloy added six other ‘credibly accused’ clerics to his list: Fr. David F. Heimann, Fr. Joseph Jablonski, Fr. Ivan Rovira, Fr. Daniel Cipar, Fr. Aloysius Piorkowski and Fr. Leo Petit.)
Now, there are 22 predator priests on the Rockford diocese website, but SNAP suspects there should actually be two or three times that number.
—–3) Finally, SNAP is begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover-ups in southern Illinois to contact the Illinois attorney general who is investigating all of the state’s dioceses.
Over the past three years (and again in the last two weeks), SNAP held similar news conferences in two other Illinois dioceses (Springfield and Belleville) calling on them add more alleged predators to their diocesan ‘credibly accused’ list.
Months ago, both of those bishops did quietly add some of the names SNAP had brought forward.
Madigan also said “The dioceses of Belleville, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield did not take the basic step of publishing a comprehensive list of clergy who had been ‘credibly accused’” until her office began investigating clergy sex crimes. “Even now, these lists, for the most part, remain difficult to locate on the Illinois Dioceses’ websites,” she wrote.
The Rockford diocese covers Kane, McHenry, Winnebago, Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, JoDaviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson and Whiteside counties.