Thursday, January 16, 2014

FR. PAUL, WHILE YOU'RE AT IT: SUE S.N.A.P.

Back in 2010, Archbishop Apuron was scrambling to stay out of the clutches of SNAP, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. SNAP was on Guam looking to flush out victims of clergy sex abuse. The SNAP visitation occurred against the backdrop of the recent introduction of two bills: one that would have required the Archbishop to be a "mandated reporter" (of sex abuse) - with all the legal consequences of not reporting; and another bill which lifted the statute of limitations on sex crimes so that old cases could be prosecuted. 


The Archbishop escaped unscathed primarily because no one came forward. No one talked. But despite the close call with an organization that was here just a couple of years ago with a mission to tar, feather, and sue him, the Archbishop recently appeared to be chummy with the group by touting that it had supported his decision to get rid of Fr. Paul. 

In addition to the reported slanderous statements implying a sexual affair between Fr. Paul and Mr. Lastimoza made at what we'll now call the "Thrilla in Manila" (the clergy retreat held in the Philippines last November), the Archbishop is reported to have also bragged that SNAP had "applauded" him for his decision to remove Fr. Paul and had advised that Fr. Paul should not be reinstated. 

This is actually frightening. The last thing the Archbishop should be doing is even mentioning the name of SNAP given the current climate of unrest and the possibility that those who have been silent may now feel emboldened to talk. But we'll leave that for another time.

The real issue here is that because of the Archbishop's actions against Fr. Paul and his refusal to admit that he was wrong, Fr. Paul's name has been further slandered by SNAP on its website:

Guam- Priest fired for keeping sex offender employed 

For immediate release: July 25, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A priest from the Santa Barbara Catholic Church in Guam was fired for failing to remove a sex offender from the parish.
Father Paul Gofigan had been instructed by Archbishop Anthony Apuron to fire a predator who worked at the church but failed to do so believing the crime was too far in the past, therefore putting children in harm's way. Gofigan now wishes to seek a canonical hearing in order to defend his careless decision and save his career.
We urge the Archbishop to stand by his decision of firing Father Gofigan. It is outrageous that any individual would rather put his career before the safety of children, let alone a man who is supposed to be considered as a community representative and leader. We also urge the parishioners of the Santa Barbara Catholic Church to speak out against Gofigan's choice to endanger the safety of their children.
Find the story here at the SNAP website, or go here, just in case they take it down after seeing this post

There are three matters here:

1. As we now know, Fr. Paul DID NOT "fail to do so" (terminate the employee as ordered). Fr. Paul had terminated the employee as ordered on October 26, 2011. (See the letter of termination here.) However, the Archbishop persisted in the "untruth" that Fr. Paul had disobeyed the order and SNAP picked it up, further spreading this lie and further hurting and maligning Fr. Paul. 

2. SNAP also repeats the "untruth" that the man was a danger to children. This was specifically and prominently stated by the Archbishop in his July 16, 2013 letter to Fr. Paul and repeated in his press release of July 22, 2013. The man's crime, which occurred over three decades ago, had nothing to do with children and there was zero evidence that he (now a married man with children of his own) was a danger to anyone, let alone children. Yet SNAP picks up this lie and perpetuates it, further maligning Fr. Paul to the world as well as the man and his family, all thanks to the Archbishop. 

3. Up to this point, SNAP could simply say that it was only reporting what the Archbishop himself had said, and that would be correct. But SNAP goes further by making its own statement:
We urge the Archbishop to stand by his decision of firing Father Gofigan. It is outrageous that any individual would rather put his career before the safety of children....We also urge the parishioners of the Santa Barbara Catholic Church to speak out against Gofigan's choice to endanger the safety of their children.
Note that last part: "Gofigan's choice to endanger the safety of children." SNAP is accusing Fr. Paul, openly and explicitly, of CHOOSING to endanger the safety of children. This is a LIE. It is defamatory. And it deserves a law suit from a priest against an organization which is only too happy to see priests sued.

We also know that SNAP, soon after this release appeared on its website, was sent proof that Fr. Paul HAD NOT FAILED to terminate the employee. However, SNAP did not respond, and as of today, these LIES are still posted on its website. 

Maybe they'll respond to a lawsuit. But if nothing else, the Archbishop, himself, since he is the source of this malignancy, should call SNAP and tell them the truth, which is:

  1. Fr. Paul DID NOT FAIL to terminate the employee.
  2. The former employee had no history of being a danger to children and there is no evidence that he is or ever was. 
  3. And I have allowed these lies to be perpetuated in order to carry through on my threat to inflict "an arduous and painful closure" to his assignment. 

Meanwhile, Fr. Paul, should he sue the Archbishop, should sue SNAP as well. 

SO MUCH MORE TO COME. 


1 comment:

  1. Why not??? Fr. Paul should definitely sue SNAP or at least get a televised apology statement directly from David Clohessy himself. Fr. Paul should also demand they remove the link they posted on the SNAP website! Fr. Paul is neither a sexual abuser or a homosexual priest and SNAP MUST RETRACT their statement!

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