Press release for Knoxville - 04/09/2010
New records show that a predator priest worked here
Public records released in Memphis show extent of his abuse and the coverup
But Knoxville church officials have kept silent about him for years
Court and newspaper have disclosed 10,000 pages proving complicity & coverup
SNAP will discuss the "Dangerous 11" predator priests who cover East Tennessee
Local support group seeks others hurt by child molesting clerics in all faith groups
Holding signs, and giving copies of information, victims of child sexual abuse and their supporters will reveal the name of a former East Tennessee priest who
-- is a credibly accused child molester
-- extensive record of his abuse was made public this week in Memphis court documents.
-- and has been ignored in East Tennessee
- beg anyone with info about another predator priests to warn authorities and get support from SNAP
They will also urge the church hierarchy to
-- spend more time protecting kids from abuse by coming clean about the clergy abuse in East Tennessee.
-- reveal the whereabouts of Father Steve LaPrad
-- name the Dangerous 11
-- visit all areas of East Tennessee and tell parishioners about the clergy sexual abuse that has occurred.
They will also prod anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by predator priests to call law enforcement officials, not church officials.
Friday, April 9th, 9:45 a.m.
On public property in front of the Diocesan Offices of the Knoxville Catholic diocese, 805 Northshore Drive Southwest, Knoxville TN 37919
One-two members and supporters of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation's largest and oldest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious institutions, including one of the founders of the organization’s East Tennessee chapter
Controversy erupted this week as a Memphis court released and Memphis media reported on 10,000 pages of long-secret church documents which show the complicity of top Catholic officials in clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Some of the Memphis predatory priests also were sent to East Tennessee, including one (Fr. Walter Emala) who reportedly molested kids in Maryland and western Tennessee and worked for the church in Eastern Tennessee. His assignment in this area has never been disclosed before, and SNAP fears he may have also sexually assaulted children in the Knoxville area.
List of newspaper articles can be found at http://www.rememberthesurvivors.com
SNAP will urge Knoxville’s bishop to ‘come clean’ about Emala and anyone else who was or is on the church payroll who may have assaulted children. According to BishopAccountability.org, “the first allegation of sexual abuse by Emala arose in 1975 and his faculties to perform ministry were removed. Since that time, a number of individuals have alleged sexual abuse by him from 1970s-1980s. Name appears on 9/02 list of priests and brothers associated with the Baltimore Archdiocese who have been accused of child sexual abuse.”
The group will also prod East Tennessee church officials to honor their promises to be “open and transparent” in clergy sex cases by disclosing, and permanently posting on their diocesan website, the names, photos and whereabouts of every proven, admitted, and credibly accused cleric who lives or lived in this area. SNAP is particularly worried about the status and location of Father Steve LaPrad who was removed from ministry and deemed “credibly accused” by the Knoxville Diocese several years ago. (They’ve kept quiet about him ever since.)
As best SNAP can tell, neither LaPrad nor Emala were ever defrocked.
SNAP will also discuss allegations that Pope Benedict should do more to protect kids and criticize top Catholic staffers across the globe who are rallying to the pontiff’s defense and, in the process, discouraging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from stepping forward, exposing predators, protecting children, and starting to heal.
Susan Vance, East Tennessee SNAP coordinator, 854-748-3518, email@example.com
David Clohessy 314-566-9790 - SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747 - SNAPblaine@gmail.com