|Clergy-Abuse Victims Aim Protest at Hartford Archdiocese
By Elizabeth Hamilton
October 20, 2008
Clergy sex abuse victims called on Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell Monday to use the power of his office to more aggressively protect the public from accused priests, particularly in the case of the Rev. Stephen Foley.
Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) staged a protest in front of the Cathedral of St. Joseph Monday afternoon because of what they called Mansell's continuation of "passive, failed policies" where Foley and other accused priests are concerned.
Foley, a priest who is accused of abusing boys he lured through his work as a state police and fire chaplain, moved out of Connecticut last year after Mansell ordered him to leave St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. Mansell's order came after The Courant reported Foley was driving a Ford Crown Victoria similar to the car used by state troopers.
The archdiocese has settled 12 lawsuits against Foley in the last several years. Most recently, Foley failed to show up for a video deposition in Arlington, Va., where the priest is believed to be living now, in connection with another Connecticut lawsuit. Foley is now scheduled to give his deposition Oct. 27 in New London.
Although the Hartford Archdiocese knows where Foley lives — it is still paying him a $1,000 a month stipend plus health benefits — it has refused to release that information to the public.
David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, traveled to Hartford from St. Louis Monday to lambaste Mansell for refusing to tell the public where Foley lives.
"Archbishop Mansell is protecting his church and his own reputation and the reputation of the people who came before him," Clohessy said.
The Rev. John Gatzak, spokesman for the Hartford Archdiocese, said the archbishop cannot release Foley's address because it would violate the rights of a diocesan employee.
"I don't think we have the right to disclose personnel information without the approval of the individual involved," Gatzak said. When asked if an exception should be made for accused sex offenders, Gatzak said, "Again, those are accusations that are made."
Clohessy also called on Mansell to do everything he can to force Foley to show up for his deposition and said the archbishop should personally visit every parish where Foley worked, to urge other victims to come forward.
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