Accused Predatory Bishops a SNAP Fact Sheet

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
November 10, 2008

— We're particularly concerned about Gelineau (Providence RI), Hart (Cheyenne WY), O'Connell (Palm Beach FL), Rueger (Worcester MA), Ryan (Springfield IL), Skylstad (Spokane WA), Symons (Palm Beach FL), Williams (Lexington KY), and Zieman (Santa Rosa CA). The reasons are several but include at least one or more of the following:

- their whereabouts are unknown (Dupre, Williams)

- they've not addressed the allegations (Williams, Gelineau, Hart)

- they resigned just before allegations against them surfaced (Ryan, Dupre, Symons)

- they face several accusers (Hart has at least 6, Williams has at least 3)

- they've resurfaced in ministerial roles in recent years (Sanchez of Santa Fe NM)

— We're also troubled by allegations against Hubbard of Albany. No civil or criminal charges have been filed against him. But rather than submitting himself to a lay review panel, he hired an attorney to investigate the allegations and she 'cleared' him.)

— Some of the accused bishops have attracted considerable attention (Anthony O'Connell in Florida & Thomas Dupre in Massachusetts).

— Others, however, have not (Louis Gelineau in Rhode Island, Joseph Hart in Wyoming, & Kendrick Williams in Kentucky.

— Several accused bishops are now deceased (Arzube of Los Angeles CA, Dudley of Sioux Falls SD, Ferrario of Honolulu HI, Harrington of Worcester MA, Rausch of Phoenix AZ and Weldon of Springfield MA).

— Three of them still head dioceses today (Hubbard, Skylstad, and Brown of Orange CA).

— Still others (from Wisconsin, New York, Georgia and elsewhere) have been accused of sexually exploiting, manipulating and/or abusing adults and/or teens above the legal age of consent.

— Two have admitted, to some degree, abusing kids (O'Connell and Symons).

— Only one bishop (Dupre) has ever faced criminal charges, and that was short lived. A prosecutor indicted him for molesting two boys in 2004 but immediately dropped those charges because the statute of limitations expired.

— Several accused bishops (Soens in Iowa, Hart in Wyoming and O'Connell in Florida) are still publicly honored on church buildings in their former dioceses. This of course, rubs salt into the already deep and sometimes still fresh wounds of their victims, other victims, and Catholics. Worse, it intimidates and depresses other victims into staying silence.

— Only three (O'Connell, Symons & Rembert Weakland of Wisconsin) have admitted abuse.

— Massachusetts has the most accused bishops, two of whom are still alive (George Rueger of Worchester and Dupre of Springfield) and two who are deceased (Christopher Weldon of Springfield and Timothy Harrington of Worchester).

— Two others worked in the Palm Beach Florida diocese (Joseph Symons and O'Connell).

— A few bishops have apparently been wrongly accused (Mahony in California, Egan in New York).

— Now retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart faces the most allegations of any bishop. Civil lawsuits by six men he molested in Kansas City have been settled, some as recently as August 2008. A children's home in Torrington, Wyoming dedicated a residence hall to Hart and has rebuffed efforts to change the name.

— At least 31 men report having been sexually abused as kids during the 1950s and 1960s by Bishop Lawrence Soens when Soens taught at an Iowa City school. He went on to head the Sioux City diocese and is now retired. On Monday, the Davenport diocese said that Soens did abuse some of the boys.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 19 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is


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