Former Catholic School Coach Convicted in Child Porn Case, SNAP Calls for Update to Diocesan List

By Carol Yeager, Zach Hiner
SNAP Network
August 31, 2020

A former coach at a Catholic high school in Havelock, North Carolina, has been convicted on twelve counts of second degree child sexual exploitation. We now call on Diocesan officials to update their list of those “credibly” accused to include this teacher and all other lay employees or volunteers in the Diocese of Raleigh that have hurt children or vulnerable adults.

Peter Van Vilet is a former city commissioner in Havelock as well as the former cross-country, lacrosse, and basketball coach at Annunciation High School there. He was arrested late last year on charges related to the possession of child pornography and was recently found guilty on those charges. Now that Van Vilet has been sentenced to two years in prison, it is time for his former employers to step up, urge anyone who may have been hurt to come forward, and ensure that Van Vilet is included on the Diocesan list of “credibly” accused abusers.

Too often, lay employees are excluded from diocesan lists of abusers and typically this is done due to hair-splitting in an attempt to keep the number of perpetrators artificially low and not for any logical reason. The Diocese of Raleigh no doubt knows of other lay abusers: brothers, nuns, seminarians, and lay employees or volunteers. For example, we know a former seminarian was accused of raping a woman on parish grounds.

Catholic officials in Raleigh may claim that their list is only meant to include bonafide clergy, but we believe it should also include anyone with a position of power and access to a victim. A survivor's pain and damage does not depend on whether or not the abuser was ordained.

We call on Bishop Luis Zarama and his colleagues in the Diocese of Raleigh to end this hair-splitting, include men and women like Van Vilet on their list, and take steps to ensure they are warning their communities about all their former employees who are abusers, and not just those wearing a Roman collar.



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