Priest up for Early Release, SNAP Opposed

August 15, 2006

St. Louis, MO (2006-08-15) A Catholic priest serving 15 years for sexual abuse will be considered for early release today in Bonne Terre, Missouri. But the sex abuse victims group SNAP wants Gary Wolken to stay put.

He was sentenced three years ago after pleading guilty to two charges related to sexually abusing a boy. The state says the earliest he could be released is January 23rd, 2008.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch wrote the parole board that the victim has suffered greatly from the abuse.

SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) also wants Wolken defrocked. The St. Louis archdiocese says it has initiated a process to permanently remove Wolken from priesthood. He has been on administrative leave since 2002 and the archdiocese is awaiting word from the Vatican on whether Wolken will be defrocked. Until such a ruling is made public, Wolken is forbidden to represent himself as a priest, according to the archdiocese.

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