SNAP speaks out about allegations against Toledo-area priest

By Cristina Mutchler
Toledo News Now
May 27, 2015

Father Samuel Punnoor

[with video]

(Toledo News Now) - Friday, the Diocese of Toledo issued a statement regarding a Maumee priest being accused of violating the diocesan code on sexual abuse of minors. 

Reverend Samuel Punnoor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church is now on administrative leave. And while he has not been formally charged with any crime, Lucas County Children Services is investigating.

The diocese says the allegations were brought forth on May 6 and immediately brought to the attention of Lucas County Children Services. Punnoor was addressed by Bishop Thomas and diocesan officials about the allegation last week after he returned from his home parish in India.

The diocese says this is the first allegation regarding Father Punnoor, who has served in the Diocese of Toledo since April 2011. They say he passed necessary background checks and completed 'safe environment training.'

While on leave, Punnoor is not allowed to exercise public ministry, wear clerical attire or present himself publicly as a priest. He also will not be residing at St. Joseph Parish.

The diocese says the notice regarding the allegation against Father Punnoor will be given to parents, students and parishioners that had any type of involvement with him.

Representatives of the group SNAP, or 'Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,' say that's not enough.

"We think that at a bare minimum, the Bishop should be reaching out and encouraging parishioners and employees and former employees and former parishioners to speak up. That it's both their Christian and civic duty to report any information they have to the police. We think they should be reporting all of this information to police and law enforcement officials rather than to church officials," said Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP.

The Toledo Diocese says it's fully cooperating with the Children Services investigation. After it is complete and a report is giving on the findings, an ecclesiastical investigation will be open through the diocese.

If you have any concerns or information pertaining to this case to report, you can contact the Lucas County Children Services at 419-213-2273 or the Diocesan Case Manager Mr. Frank DiLallo at 419-243-2150.

In addition, SNAP welcomes any victims of sexual abuse to be part of their support group. Fore more information click here.


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