SNAP Warns Visitors to Santa Barbara Mission

KCOY [California]
July 21, 2004

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests handed out leaflets to tourists and neighbors near the Santa Barbara Mission on Monday. They want the Catholic Church to turn over a Friar to his native Canada, where he faces child molestation charges.

Brother Gerald Chumik, an admitted sex offender, is accused of victimizing a 15 year old boy decades ago.

"Our lives could have been spared the devastation and we're very very concerned that innocent children and families visiting the mission are needlessly being put at risk", said Mary Grant of SNAP.

Some visitors refused the fliers, but many lent a sympathetic ear. Some parishioners stand by their church, saying the pastor spoke about this during Sunday mass.

The Franciscans say brother Chumik is essentially kept under house arrest behind these walls of the old mission. Still, they say they may have to relocate him due to the publicity.

"If it causes so much trouble in Santa Barbara, we may have to rethink whether he'd stay here, but where would we send him, would people there also hound us until we send him to another place? And yet we know the way he is constrained, there's zero danger" says Father Alberic Smith of the Franciscans Order.

The Franciscans say Brother Chumik's attraction is to young adults, not small children. They claim Canadian lawmakers are satisfied with the terms of his treatment and confinement.

But these sex abuse victims say it is not enough.


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