www.RememberTheSurvivors.net

SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

Archdiocese denies cover-up

By Kimball Perry
Post staff writer

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati responded to criticism Thursday of "fraudulent concealment" of documents to hide priest sex abuse, saying the documents aren't new and nothing was covered up.

That didn't stop Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters from promising Thursday to look into the possibility of re-opening the criminal investigation into the archdiocese, or victims from calling for the resignation of the organization's spokesman and attorney.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg, we believe," Christy Miller, a victim of priest abuse, said Thursday.

She spoke outside Saint Peter in Chains Cathedral downtown and was joined by other members of the support group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

The criticism comes days after court documents revealed that Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk assigned the Rev. David Kelly to a Vandalia, Ohio, parish after Pilarczyk learned Kelly had been accused of fondling at least two male students at Elder High School, where Kelly was principal.

Miller and SNAP have called for the archdiocese to open all its records to expose all of the abuse and have asked Deters to look at the criminal investigation of the archdiocese that ended when then-prosecutor Mike Allen agreed to a plea deal.

"I made a commitment to some people when I ran for prosecutor that I would look at what the previous prosecutor did," Deters said.

That entails talking to the assistant prosecutor who was involved in the plea negotiations under Allen "and seeing how the deal was structured," Deters said.

"The biggest fear of these people is that there was a cover-up," Deters said. "I'm going to look at it."

Allen, a graduate of Elder, ended his criminal investigation that was looking at if the archdiocese followed the law in reporting abuse to police in November 2003. That was when Pilarczyk, representing the archdiocese, pleaded no contest to -- and was convicted of -- four counts of failing to report the abuse.

The archdiocese paid a $10,000 fine and, as part of the plea deal, agreed to set up a $3 million fund to compensate victims of priest abuse.

SNAP also called Thursday for the resignation of archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco and dismissal of Mark VanderLaan, the attorney for the archdiocese who negotiated with Allen.

"I'm sorry that members of SNAP were abused by priests, but that doesn't automatically validate everything they say about abuse and about the church," Andriacco said.

The courts, he added, have consistently ruled that the suits brought by accusers were filed after the statute of limitations expired.

"Given that those lawsuits have been consistently dismissed at the local level and the appellate level, it's not surprising that they are disgruntled," Andriacco said.

The documents in question, Andriacco added, already were the subject of media reports in October and "far from secret."

There also were made available, he said, to authorities and the victims who applied to the victims assistance fund.

SNAP wants VanderLaan fired because he's with the law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl -- where Allen worked before he became prosecutor.

"(A goal is) to undo the sweetheart deal between (Allen's) prosecutor office and the archdiocese," SNAP member Dan Frondorf said Thursday. Like Allen, Frondorf is an Elder graduate.