CBS: SNAP’s David Clohessy Could Face Jail Time

From CBS with my emphases and comments:

SNAP’s David Clohessy Could Face Jail Time

ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–The director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says he may faces fines or jail time for refusing to obey a judge’s order to release information on clergy abuse victims.

The usually confident, sometimes strident, David Clohessy appeared shaken and teary-eyed by what he says is the worst legal problem the group has faced in 23 years.

“Church defense lawyers will likely ask that we be found in contempt of court and possibly fined or possibly jailed,” Clohessy said. [Get that? Not just “defense” lawyers. “Church” defense lawyers.]

Earlier, Clohessy refused to cooperate during a deposition in a Kansas City area abuse case. SNAP has sought help from the Missouri Supreme Court, but it refused to intervene.

I refused to answer many, many many questions that were all designed to find out the identities and experiences of victims and those who help victims,” Clohessy said. [Perhaps the questions were more about with whom Mr. C had shared certain information he is now refusing to turn over.  Am I wrong?]

Defense lawyers wanted the documents as evidence that an attorney for an alleged victim violated a gag order by giving details of the case to SNAP.

Last week, a Kansas City area judge ordered SNAP to turn over records that could include years of emails with victims, journalists and others. The order is tied to a sex abuse lawsuit against the Rev. Michael Tierney and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

When asked if he is prepared to go to jail, rather than turn over documents, Clohessy said he’ll “cross that bridge when he comes to it.”


We shall have to keep an eye on this.

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  1. Elizabeth D says:

    I invite others to join me in an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the true good of Mr Clohessy and for God’s will to be done.

  2. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Please God let this slimy dissembling demagogue get his comeuppance! The minute this creep drops off every reporter’s well-thumbed Rolodex is the minute my blood pressure drops.

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    BaedaBenedictus: “pray for your enemies and do good to those who hate you.”

  4. Centristian says:

    I wonder if it might not be considered unseemly to relish in the misfortunes of advocates for persons who have been victimized by clergy, regardless of how misguided some of them may be. This remains a very ugly, very sensitive, and very current chapter of the history of the Church. Tread carefully.

  5. Tony Layne says:

    @ Centristian: Unseemly? Yes; Schadenfreude is so common we don’t often recognize how ugly it is. And yet, I question how much of SNAP’s agenda really is victim advocacy and how much of it is tearing down the Church. Clohessy strikes me as so filled with anger that his participation has never been about justice but rather vengeance, leading to a tendency not to let anything get in the way of destroying enemies … including judicial orders.

  6. Mom2301 says:

    I am no big fan of Mr. Clohessy but he is in great need of prayer. His brother was a priest at the University I attended and I saw first hand the destruction and grief his first lawsuit
    and his attacks on the church wrought on others, including his family. Please pray that the anger that fuels him will be relieved and that he may reconcile himself with the church and all he has hurt.

  7. Nan says:

    It’s not about the Church, it’s about his failure to follow a court order. He is not above the law.

  8. BaedaBenedictus says:


    I wish his comeuppance not out of vengeance but out of hope that his fall will prevent him from continuing his vicious demagoguery and the lies he peddles to attack people’s reputations. Do you not remember his contributions to those appalling Laurie Goodstein NYT attacks on the Pope?

    The man needs a time out.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    And do not forget, some priests have been accused unfairly and had their reputations ruined by false accusations. It is only fair that there is transparency on both sides, and those of you who have read my comments before, know I have four family members who were abused for years by a priest. I still feel openness is a necessity.

  10. mibethda says:

    At the heart of this present matter is the attempt by Clohessy to claim for himself and SNAP a testimonial privilege which the law does not recognize and has never recognized for such persons or entities. It is not without irony that he has often been in the forefront advocating the elimination of this privilege in areas and in respect to persons to whom the law has generally recognized this privilege. To him it is an issue less of rights than of power.

  11. Brad says:

    Elizabeth D, well said sister. You show wonderful Christian charity and wisdom. You do your patroness proud. St. Michael in all his archangel splendor did not speak uncharitably to satan, but simply wished that the Lord rebuke him according to the Lord’s timing and manner.

  12. irishgirl says:

    I’m with Baeda Benedictus on this one.
    I hope Clohessy goes to jail, and SNAP goes broke!

  13. ContraMundum says:

    One of the worst characteristics of any human association is how quickly its original purpose is subordinated to endless self-preservation. For example, NATO was formed in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Now that the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is no more, NATO should be happy to fade away, right? Not on your life!

    The effect this has on groups like SNAP is that they can never be satisfied by any action the Church might take. If they were to ever say, “Well, that was a nasty period in our history, but it’s over now,” there would be no reason for SNAP to exist any more, let alone give interviews to the media. Their 15 minutes of fame would be up! Inconceivable!

    (And for the smart aleck out there who was going to say it: Yes, this argument would also be true of the Church, if the Church were merely a human association. It isn’t. If it were, it would be best to have nothing to do with it.)

  14. Pingback: Priests, SNAP, and Sex Scandal |

  15. Johnno says:

    Jimmy Akin on Real Catholic Register had a good article highlighting this groups’ hypocracy on the matter with regards to demanding the courts order the Church to hand over ever document and absolutely everything in their posession, but when the shoe’s on the other foot, they are claiming they shouldn’t to protect their client’s interests… The irony is so thick you could spread it on bread by itself and have a full course meal.

    You can read it at this link as well as many good comments about the legal proceedings involved:

  16. mibethda says:

    SNAP does not have clients. The undercurrent here is that the Court in the early stages of the litigation issued a gag order forbidding counsel from revealing certain categories of information developed in the course of the litigation to those outside of the litigation process. The local press published stories about the litigation which probably came from someone within the litigation (and probably the plaintiff’s counsel team). The defense counsel have raised the violation of the order and are entitled to use the normal processes of discovery in order to determine the source. It appears that the media obtained the information directly from SNAP, which is not a party and which is (probably) not subject to the gag order. It appears that Missouri does not have a press shield law that would protect its sources. The suspicion of the defense is that the plaintiff’s counsel or someone on their team provided the information to SNAP and Clohessy who, in turn, provided it to the press. Thus, if the suspicion is correct, SNAP and Clohessy served as intermediaries in the plaintiff’s efforts to evade the gag order. Without a press shield law, had the plaintiff fed the information to the press directly, the matter would be quickly discovered and the responsible party sanctioned. Clohessy is attempting to claim an absolute privilege from disclosing where he obtained the information which he passed on to the media in order to block the inquiry into the source of the media’s ultimate source. Contrary to the exaggerated claims of Clohessy, the Court did not order a wholesale search of all of SNA P’s files. If Clohessy is asked a question on deposition that he feels invades an area of legally recognized privilege, he may refuse to answer and have that particular question ruled upon by the Court; similarly, if he or SNAP believe that a particular document, which is within the scope of the documentary production request, is privileged, he may assert a specific privilege and, if the defense counsel disagree with the claim, the Court will review the document, determine the validity of the claim and rule upon the document’s disclosure.
    In sexual abuse litigation to an even greater extent than in most other areas of litigation, the modern plaintiff’s trial strategy relies upon a tight control of the flow of information to the public. Getting out information and spin on information which puts the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s claim in the most favorable light possible and the defendant in the worst light possible at various stages in the litigation is critical (e.g. in the week before the beginning of a jury trial, you will often find news articles on the upcoming trial very favorable to the claim – it is not surprising that most of the larger firms specializing in plaintiff’s claims will have a media relations consultant on staff who fosters a continuing relationship with the reporters assigned to court proceedings and who provides them with carefully crafted releases which are often published as news articles with only minor changes if any). A gag order can pose a problem to this strategy, at least in a state where the absence of a shield law would make surreptitious efforts to evade the gag rule by passing information directly from counsel to a reporter a hazard. This is where SNAP – which has long been suspected of having very close ties with a number of plaintiffs’ law firms – comes in. And at risk to SNAP and Clohessy in this matter is that the discovery process may bring to light a great deal about this relationship that neither SNAP or the law firms care to have come into the light.

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