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SNAP leader vows to fight records disclosure

David Clohessy (left) speaking Tuesday in front of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
Joseph Leahy
David Clohessy (left) speaking Tuesday in front of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

The director of a sexual abuse support group is denying that he helped violate a gag order in a lawsuit against a Catholic priest in Kansas City.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, says he refused to answer questions in a deposition yesterday that would have revealed identities of alleged victims.
"They insist that we should hand over every single document that we have that mentions repressed memory," said Clohessy. "Whether the priest is in Alaska and the victim is in Miami and both of them are dead, what possible relevance could that have?"
The order is related to an abuse lawsuit against the Reverend Michael Tierney and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Defense lawyers are seeking evidence that the accuser's attorney violated a gag order by providing details of the case to SNAP.
A Jackson County Circuit Judge ordered SNAP last week to disclose records that could include years of emails with victims, journalists and others. Clohessy says turning over the documents could discourage other victims from coming forward. 
"We have no information that could possibly determine the crucial question in this lawsuit which is 'did Father Michael Tierney molest this boy'?"
"I refused to answer many questions that were all designed to find the identities of victims and their experiences and those who helped victims."
The Missouri Supreme Court refused yesterday to intercede in the case.