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.
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.
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.”