Over the weekend, news broke that a former Penn State football coach, serving under head coach Joe Paterno, was involved in alleged sexual abuse of young boys. Although Paterno immediately notified the Athletic Director, he did not call the cops. David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is now calling for Paterno to be investigated. Yet when Clohessy learned in the 1990s that his brother Kevin, a priest, was a child molester, he covered it up.
The Kansas City Star is working with SNAP, and its lawyers, against Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn. Only once, in a brief story in 2003, did it ever mention that the SNAP director’s brother was charged with molestation; even then it never reported that David Clohessy refused to call the cops. And in a big puff piece on the SNAP director in September, it never mentioned this juicy story. The cover up—and that is exactly what it is—is sickening.
Nor does the Star ever bother to question the spurious lawsuits that SNAP lawyers have been bringing. Isn’t it more than just a little curious that the Catholic Church is being singled out for hundreds of “repressed memory” lawsuits? A Nexis search connecting “repressed memory” with “minister” yields 551 stories; connecting it to “rabbi” yields 71; and though the nation’s teachers vastly outnumber priests, there were 1208 stories on “teachers” and 1855 on “priests.”
Between 2009 and 2010, there was a startling 42 percent increase in false accusations against priests. The data didn’t come as a surprise to California attorney Donald H. Steier. Last year, he testified that “One retired F.B.I agent who worked with me to investigate many claims in the Clergy Cases told me, in his opinion, about ONE-HALF of the claims made in Clergy Cases were either entirely false or so greatly exaggerated that the truth would not have supported a prosecutable claim for childhood sexual abuse.” A really independent newspaper would report such stories. The Star is not one of them—it’s in bed with SNAP.
Contact Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish: firstname.lastname@example.org