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Press Release, Thursday 8 January 2009For immediate release: Thursday, Jan 8
lawsuit about alleged predator priest
She wants Guernsey County criminal
investigation records released
Case involves a suspended Steubenville
cleric who faces at least two accusers
A woman who says she was
molested by a priest is filing a new lawsuit to get copies of police records
about the cleric.
Beth Rocker, who now lives in Israel, wants Guernsey
county officials to make public the criminal investigation records involving her
accusations against Fr. Gary Zalenski, a Steubenville diocesan priest. Zalenski
was suspended in September 2007 for allegedly molesting Rocker when she was a
girl in the early 1990's.
The lawsuit was filed today in Guernsey County
Court of Appeals. Cincinnati area attorney Konrad Kircher (513-229-7996,
513-218-1252) represents Rocker.
that families understand how this predator operates," Rocker said. "As a matter
of conscience, I feel it's my duty to help other victims know they aren't alone
and help parents know that it's critical to keep their kids away from this
Leaders of a national self help group for victims called SNAP
(Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) support Rocker and believe that
Zalenski should be prosecuted.
Rocker reported her abuse to law
enforcement a year ago. In September, she testified before the Guernsey County
grand jury about the crimes she experienced.
On Oct. 1, the grand jury
chose not to indict Zalenski. That same day, Rocker’s lawyer filed a
written request to prosecutor Dan Padden, asking that investigation documents be
Three weeks later, Kircher sent a second letter to Padden,
repeating the request.
In November, Padden refused to release files but
agreed that a court should decide if they can be released.
Judy Jones has talked with two of Zalenski's victims. Two sources have told her
about a formal complaint from 1991 filed with the Guernsey county sheriff’s
office. It accuses Zalenski of physically beating a young woman he had molested
when she was a teenager.
“We fear there may be more victims of this
priest who are still not coming forward and getting help,” said Jones. “And we
fear that Steubenville Catholic officials may not have turned over all of the
Zalenski documents to the law enforcement.”
SNAP outreach director
Barbara Dorris shares Jones’ concern.
"We’re worried that this man is
still free to abuse, manipulate, coerce, and use violence and power to control
his vulnerable victims, and we feel this needs to be investigated further,"
For a copy of the lawsuit, please contact Kircher or
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national
director 314 566 9790
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director
314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell
Judy Jones of St Louis, SNAP director
Southeastern Ohio 636-433-2511 home, 314-974-5003
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