SNAP Leader Arrested for Church Protest

North Country Gazette
April 9, 2006

ALBANY---The co-director of the Albany Chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has been arrested and charged with violating a court order which restrains him and other protesters from being within 100 feet of the Holy Cross Church.

Mark Lyman was charged with a misdemeanor by Albany Police during Palm Sunday services. After posting bail, he reportedly joined in another protest outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He is scheduled to appear in Albany City Court Monday morning.

Lyman is being represented by controversial clergy sexual abuse attorney John Aretakis, himself the subject of a restraining order which keeps him at least 300 feet away from the Holy Cross Church.

Lyman is a plaintiff in an action against the Diocese, claiming that he was sexually abused by a Troy priest when he was a child.

In February, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court rejected the efforts of Lyman to remove Albany Supreme Court Justice Thomas Spargo from the case involving church protests.

Spargo is no longer on the case though, having been removed from the bench by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct for allegedly trying to shakedown attorneys and other judicial misconduct.

A temporary restraining order that had been in force against Aretakis was converted into a permanent injunction in January by Spargo that restricts Aretakis and his followers from their weekly protests at Holy Cross Church and the Holy Cross School.

Spargo's injunction extended restrictions on Aretakis. He had originally been banned from within 100 feet of the church or school but that was extended to within 300 feet during Mass or at any time when school is in session and for the hour before and hour following Mass or school classes.

The Roman Catholic Diocese had been granted a temporary restraining order against Aretakis in September, saying that he was harassing parishioners and neighbors of the church and school by his weekly protests at the church during Sunday Masses.

SNAP wants the Rev. Daniel J. Maher, pastor of Holy Cross Church, removed, alleging that he molested an altar boy in the early 70s. Maher was cleared by the church following an investigation by the Diocese.

When a process server hired by the Diocese tried to serve the restraining order on Aretakis last fall, the attorney allegedly stole the man's briefcase.

Diocese attorney Michael Costello had hired Robert Wells, a process server, to serve the order on Aretakis. When attempting to do so, the attorney allegedly reached through the back window of Well's car and took his briefcase which Wells said contained confidential material from other attorneys. According to North Greenbush Police Chief Rocco Fragomeni, Aretakis held the briefcase for two days before returning it.

A church spokesman says that Aretakis has been involved in at least three confrontations with parishioners and neighbors at the church since June when he SNAP members including Lyman began picketing Sunday Masses including leafleting cars of parishioners. They have also videotaped parents and students leaving the school. 4-09-06


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