January 11, 2006

Father Ryan’s Yearbook Access

Nashville Weekly

by John Spragens

On Thursday, Dec. 15, former Father Ryan High School student Mike Coode was kicked off his alma mater’s campus. He and two women had stopped by to look at archived yearbooks from the mid-1950s—and, hopefully, to reproduce pages from them—when they were told that they could not take digital photos of the books, nor could they view them at all. In fact, after checking with principal Jim McIntyre, a development office administrator instructed the three to leave the premises immediately.

Coode was surprised but not shocked. After all, as a victim of long-ago sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, he’s dealt with the Diocese of Nashville many times. On this occasion, he and two leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) were hoping to find a picture of Coode at the age when he was being abused, as well as use the yearbooks to piece together old webs of classmates and priests who were suspected to have molested them. School officials, citing privacy concerns, said that wouldn’t be an option.

But only weeks before, according to Coode and SNAP co-director Ann Brentwood, they had been welcomed at the Father Ryan development office and allowed to look through all available yearbooks. “If there had been cookies and coffee, we would have joined them for cookies and coffee,” Brentwood says of the pair’s amiable November visit. “It was a very relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.”

Posted by kshaw at January 11, 2006 05:55 PM