Activist: Diocese of Ft. Wayne-SB failed to acknowledge 11 priests accused of abuse

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Activists from a support group for victims abused by clergy members claim the bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend failed to acknowledge 11 priests accused of abuse.

“We're here because we believe the bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend is deliberately concealing names of predator priests,” said David Clohessy, the St. Louis director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Clohessy is traveling across the region calling for Bishop Kevin Rhoades to reconsider the list he released of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

“If [the bishop] is going to claim to come clean, he should really come clean and name all of the abusive priests, nuns, seminarians, bishops, brothers, monks – all of them,” Clohessy said.

In September, Rhoades released a list of accused clergy members.

However, SNAP members say they researched and found 11 priests who were at one point in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend who have been accused of abuse but were not on the list.

Four of those priests were in South Bend.

“I was abused as a kid, my three brothers were abused by the same priest,” Clohessy said. “I vividly remember the pain of suffering in silence and thinking, 'Nobody understands this, nobody will believe me, nobody will care, nobody will do anything.'”

Clohessy says SNAP is there to listen to and believe survivors like himself.

“Fortunately, times are changing. And it's still very tough to disclose horrible childhood sexual trauma, but there is help out there,” he said. “There are people who will believe you and who will help you.”

Clohessy says he's dedicated 30 years to helping other victims of clergy abuse.

NewsCenter 16 has reached out to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend but has yet to hear back from them.

To see the list of clergy accused of abuse released by Rhoades, click here.