Remember the

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee




Victim Recounts Horror: "I stood there in tears; confronting my abuser. The bishop did nothing. My abuser stayed a priest."

For Immediate Release
Susan Vance, leader of SNAP of Tennessee
Date:  December 6, 2018
Phone:  865-748-3518

Victim of Catholic priest says, "Bishop, I begged 20+ years ago, "
Asks why only now is abusive priest's name being released
Reluctant bishops cower behind the secrecy of decades' old files
Letter to Bishop Spalding with copies to Bishop Stika and Archbishop Kurtz (see letter below)
SNAP leaders will again send Spalding more names of molesters

Nashville, TN Dec. 6, 2018  The victim advocacy group, SNAP of Tennessee (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) reacts to victim's questions, "Why now?  Why not when I needed you?  My abuser died a priest with no repercussions.  I have struggled.  Where is my justice?  Why did you not report him?" 
"The Catholic Church's credibility is at an all-time low among the faithful as well as the public at large," says Susan Vance of SNAP of Tennessee.  "Victims are asking why their demands for truth have gone unanswered for decades and still are not being addressed."

SNAP notes that there has been poor press coverage across the state regarding the 16 names released by Nashville.  

:"There are victims of these priests in all four corners of Tennessee, but the information lies buried on the diocesan website," says Vance.  "We are wondering why the silence in Knoxville and Memphis and all the cities and small towns in between where these abusive priests have been assigned.  The public should care even if the Catholic Church does not."

Is the Catholic diocese of Nashville using the ploy of secrecy and silence even while assuring transparency?  Victims urge that all three dioceses place a permanent link to the list in a prominent place on their diocesan websites and draw attention to the list.  

"These abusive priests were assigned across the state.  All three dioceses need to admit that abusers were in their parishes for decades," says Vance.  "Go back to your secret files, bishops, and get the other names of abusers,  Own it now so other victims will not have a similar story of being ignored and disrespected for years."  

SNAP of Tennessee started asking in 2003 for cross-referencing by the three dioceses and compiling a list of abusive priests who had been assigned in Tennessee and when and where they were assigned.  No move has been made until now, but SNAP contends that the list is far from complete
********** Letter to Spalding, Stika and Kurtz **********

Bishop Mark Spalding
The Catholic Pastoral Center
2800 McGavock Pike
Nashville, TN, 37214-1402

Dear Bishop Spalding,

A victim called me yesterday. This victim had stood in the office of the bishop of Nashville about 25 years ago with the pedophile priest present and told the story of abuse that occurred at the age of 13. The bishop did nothing. The priest remained in ministry. When he retired, he remained a priest until his death and never suffered the repercussions of his molestation. The victim still struggles, however, decades later.

The name of this priest is on the list of 16 pedophile priests that you just released. The years of silence about the molester is cruelty beyond imagining for this victim. Other children and teens were put in harm's way. The victim's pain was never validated by the diocese which cavalierly put his name on the list of pedophiles, totally ignoring the monumental courage that it took to face this pedophile and the bishop of the diocese."

This only emphasizes the need for an investigation of your files as well as that of the diocese of Memphis and diocese of Knoxville. You are disseminating the information about these pedophile priests in the same haphazard manner in which you compiled the list in the first place.

This brings up the following questions:
  1. Are you releasing only the names of pedophile priests whose victims you believe still to be alive?

  1. Are you deliberately burying this list on your website so that it is difficult to find?

  1. Have you asked Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville and Memphis interim administrator Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to have these names with the places where they have been assigned fully printed in their diocesan papers? Have you asked them to permanently post these names on their diocesan websites?

  1. Have you sent personal letters to every single parish where these abusive priests have been assigned so the people will know? Will you ask Bishop Stika and Archbishop Kurtz to allow this to be done?

  1. Will you place a permanent link to the complete information about these pedophiles on your website? Will you re-post monthly these names so that as many survivors as possible can see these names?

  1. Will you ask the media across the state to publish the information from your diocesan website in their respective newspapers and on their radio and TV networks? Knoxville and Memphis have noticeably not given this story the serious consideration that it deserves.

I will be sending you another list of priests under separate cover to be investigated in the secret canonical files. I would appreciate a close look at this list and care given to make sure that no other victims will be saying that they told the diocese years ago about a priest whom they now see decades later on a list. This kind of inept release of names gives the Catholic Church in Tennessee no credibility.

I would request an answer to this letter on behalf of victims of clergy abuse in Tennessee.


Susan Vance
SNAP of Tennessee

cc: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archdiocese of Louisville, Pastoral Center, 3940 Poplar Level Road, Louisville, KY 40213-1463

Bishop Richard Stika, Chancery, Diocese of Knoxville, 805 S. Northshore Drive, Knoxville, TN 37919

About SNAP: We are SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are the largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others}.