Wednesday, June 10, 2020

SNAP to Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina: Nine Names Missing from Your List of Credibly Accused Clergy Need to Be Added

In January this year, I reported that after the Catholic bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina, Peter Jugis, and his diocese released a list of clergy credibly accused of having abused minors, survivors spoke out to say that the list Jugis released was incomplete. The January 2020 posting to which I have just pointed you provides an excerpt of a statement SNAP made on 30 December 2019, which states the following:
Catholic officials in Charlotte, NC have finally followed in the footsteps of the vast majority of dioceses around the country and released a list of priests accused of abuse. Unfortunately, the list released today is incomplete and leaves off allegations related to other church staffers. We call on them to update this list immediately in order to provide a clearer and more complete look at abuse within the Diocese of Charlotte.

My posting also points you to statements by several local media outlets questioning whether Jugis's s was complete, and warning that it would not serve the diocese's stated aim of transparency if the list were found, in fact, to be missing names. 

This saga continues. On 26 May, SNAP published a letter to Bishop Jugis listing nine names of clergy and ministers who have worked in the Charlotte diocese, and, in SNAP's view, need to be added to the Charlotte diocese of those credibly accused of abusing minors. For documentation regarding each of these names, please click and read the 26 May SNAP statement to which I have just pointed you.

The names SNAP is calling on Bishop Jugis to add to his list are as follows:

1. Father Albert Gondek, OSFS, who has been accused of sexually abusing an 18-year-old male and minor children in 2010 in the Charlotte diocese. There are also multiple accusations against Gondek from other dioceses in which he has ministered.

2. Father David Hagan, OSFS, who was accused by two men in a 2006 lawsuit of sexually abusing them when they were minors. Hagan worked from 1972-1978 at Sacred Heart College/Belmont Abbey College in the Charlotte diocese.

3. Abbot Timothy Kelly, Benedictine, who worked as an administrator at the Benedictine monastery, Belmont Abbey, in Belmont, North Carolina, from 1989-1991. Multiple allegations have been made against him in other places in which he worked.

4. Seminarian Brian Kaup, who was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl on parish grounds in 2013, and against whom a lawsuit was filed in 2017.

5. Deacon Mark Doherty, who worked as a teacher at Bishop McGuiness Catholic High School in Charlotte from 1997-2003. He had been prevented from becoming a priest in Boston because of "substantial" allegations of sexual misconduct with young boys before he moved to North Carolina.

6. Father John McCole, who was accused of abusing a teenaged boy at the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville in the Charlotte diocese. A lawsuit filed in 2009 also accuses him of abusing the same minor in Pennsylvania. The complaint made in this lawsuit states that, in addition to McCole, Father Justin Pechulis abused the minor at the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville. Pechulis is on the Charlotte diocesan list of credibly accused priests.

7. Father Vincent Dwyer, Trappist, who lived in Charlotte in the early 1970s and was a well-known speaker and assistant professor at UNC-Charlotte for several years. He has been  accused of abusing a 15-year-old high school student beginning in 1969; she received a $75,000 settlement in 1995 from St. Joseph's Abbey in Massachusetts, Father Dwyer's abbey.

8. Music Minister Paul Berrell, who was working at St. Eugene Catholic Church in Asheville when he was arrested in 2009 for the abuse of a 13-year-old girl. He pled guilty to a federal charge of production of child pornography in 2010. A lawsuit was also filed on behalf of the minor and it was settled for $1.5 million in 2013.

9. Father John Schneider, who resigned as pastor at St. Eugene Catholic church in Asheville because of his involvement in the attempted cover-up of child pornography produced by his Music Minister, Paul Berrell. After having been charged with felony obstruction of justice, Schneider was allowed to plead to a lesser charge of misdemeanor obstruction.

In the view of SNAP, because these nine men all worked at some point in the Charlotte diocese, the diocesan list of credibly accused clergy and other ministers is incomplete unless it includes these names. It's important that these names be listed and publicized so that anyone who may have been abused by any of these men can know that support is available, and that those abused as minors have a legal right to take action within the two-year statute of limitation window in North Carolina.

SNAP's 26 May public letter linked above is signed by Carol Yeager of SNAP in Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, who provides an email address — — and phone number —910-584-9113 — for those seeking to contact her.

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