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|Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
March 19, 2007
1) an accused priest is in court on Wednesday. can you be there? if so, please let me know. thanks. Barbara Dorris, firstname.lastname@example.org
2) here's a statement we sent out today to rochester area media:
Sex abuse victims respond to heaing involving accused priest
For immediate release: Monday, March 19, 2007
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)
We're sad that the alleged victims parents first contacted church officials, instead of reporting directly with law enforcement. However, we are grateful that the parents believed their child and are apparently cooperating with law enforcement.
All child sexual abuse is criminal and should be handled by criminal authorities, not church authorities.
We're also glad this is moving toward resolution. It's been nearly a year since Gates was arrested for this crime.
Finally, we hope that anyone who may have witnessed, suspected or experienced crimes or suspicious behavior by Gates will come forward right now to police and prosecutors. When victims and witnesses stay silent, nothing changes. When victims and witnesses speak up, however, at least there's a chance that justice will happen, the truth will be exposed and children will be protected.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 17 years and have more than 7,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
Priest heads back to Gates court
(March 19, 2007) - GATES - The Rev. John J. Steger will be back in Gates Town Court tomorrow, facing four misdemeanor charges involving a 12-year-old girl.
Steger was a priest at St. Jude the ApostleChurch in Gates. He was arrested in May 2006 and was accused of inappropriately touching the girl in late April and early May. Police learned of the allegations after the girl reported two incidents to her parents.
The parents contacted the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, which contacted the police. The alleged incidents reportedly occurred in the rectory, adjacent to the church building, 4100 Lyell Road.
Steger has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors.
Gates priest due back in court March 21
By CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN, Messenger Post Staff, Posted: Mar 17, 08:30 AM EDT
The district attorney's office is negotiating with the defense in the case against the Rev. John Steger, who is accused of sex crimes.
GATES - After a seven-month delay, the case against a Gates priest accused of sex crimes is due back in court on Wednesday, March 21.
The Rev. John J. Steger, 80, stands accused of allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl. He was arrested in May 2006 after the girl told her parents about two alleged incidents with the priest. The girl was reportedly doing chores for Steger in the private living area of the rectory at 4110 Lyell Road. Steger has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A representative of the court said Steger is due to appear at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 in Gates Justice Court in front of Judge Peter Pupatelli.
The case is being prosecuted by Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Buckley. Buckley said the March 21 court date is a suppression hearing requested by the defense to determine whether statements Steger made to police are admissible in court.
Buckley said the district attorney's office and the defense are in negotiations, "but there hasn't been any sort of a settlement." If nothing comes of those negotiations, she said, Steger will go to trial on misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
He could get up to a year in jail on both counts if convicted, Buckley said.
Steger is being represented by Rochester attorney John Speranza. Speranza did not return calls for comment.
Steger is pastor of St. Jude the ApostleChurch on Lyell Road in Gates - a position he has held since 1968. He has been a priest with the Catholic diocese since 1951. He has been on administrative leave from the diocese since his arrest last year. He is not permitted any public ministry.
Steger's last court appearance was in August 2006.