Support Group Helps Those Abused by Priests

By Jasmine Lo
WHIZ [Ohio]
January 18, 2006

This Sunday a former Zanesville priest will be released from jail. Francis Benham was convicted of abusing two teens in Maryland in the 1970s.

That's why members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) were in Zanesville. They stood in front of St. Nicholas' Church to hold a sidewalk news conference. Fr. Benham worked at Saint Nicholas Church in the late 70s and 80s.

The group went door-to-door handing out leaflets. They say they want to inform residents that a pedophile priest would soon be back on the streets.

"He was incarcerated for molesting a boy and a girl and what we want to ensure is that no victim sits out here and suffers in your community alone thinking they were the only ones," said Claudia Vercelloti of SNAP Toledo.

In the bulletin to parishioners last Sunday, Father Leo Connolly from St. Nicholas' Church in Zanesville addressed the priest's release from jail.

He said the church "had not received any allegations about inappropriate behavior with minors that took place while he was at St. Nicholas."

He also wrote that he would be glad to meet with anyone who might have information regarding the priest and that he would make every effort to assist anyone having problems.


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