In the last edition of Catalyst we featured an article about Dr. Steven Taylor, a psychiatrist associated with the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP), who was sent to prison for the possession of child pornography. After it was published, new questions surfaced about Taylor.
Dr. Taylor seems to have a very curious mindset, and an even more curious relationship with SNAP. At first, he said he downloaded the child porn for “scientific” purposes—he wanted to see what interested pedophiles. Then he said he never obtained such fare, going so far as to say he didn’t recall ever admitting to doing so in the first place. But when his lawyer informed him they had him dead to right, his slippery memory snapped back into place, just in time to cop a plea.
Now it may be that Dr. Taylor’s memory is organically flawed: he has been working only half-days since he suffered a head injury in 1968 (the State Board of Medical Examiners made this call when it was determined that his judgment becomes impaired after four hours). In any event, in 2010 board members sanctioned him after they concluded he was a kiddie porn aficionado; he had previously been sanctioned for drug use, dementia, and other maladies.
What has not been determined is whether his suspect mental faculties (combined with his hatred of the Catholic Church, e.g., he wanted to bust the seal of confession) worked against the due process rights of priests whom he pursued while working with SNAP. As it turns out, Taylor’s wife, the former Lyn Hill Hayward, founded the local SNAP chapter, and it was that affiliate which he served. For her part, she claims she was once abused by a priest friend of hers: they were such good friends that eight years after the alleged abuse, he officiated her marriage. It is not a giant leap of faith to wonder whether all of these factors compromised the rights of priests.
Nothing less than full disclosure of the contents of all records detailing the proceedings between Dr. Taylor and his SNAP clients will satisfy. We also need to know whether he and his wife violated conflict of interest standards. SNAP records should also be disclosed.