Upcoming Trials for Mount Saint Mary Sexual Abuse Cases

Sep 11, 2013

Barbara Dorris with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) stands outside Pulaski County Courthouse.
Credit Jacob Kauffman

A former volleyball coach and a former athletic director from Mount Saint Mary Academy in Little Rock are headed to trial next week over allegations of sexual abuse. 

Kelly O’Rourke previously admitted to molesting a student in 2012 and will face charges over violating parole by attempting to contact the girl she molested. Kathy Griffin, the athletic director and a counselor for 9th grade girls, will face charges for having knowledge of child abuse but failing to report it. 

The national group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, sent a representative, Barbara Dorris, to Little Rock Wednesday. She visited the Pulaski County Courthouse where the two trials are set.

“The school has done very little. They issued a statement that is extremely vague. You don’t know whether the teacher committed murder, stole school supplies, or molested a child. Parents needed that information to go home and talk to their kids to find out what happened," said Dorris. 

Dorris also offered critical words for Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock, calling on him to use his “bully-pulpit” to visit the school and create a supportive atmosphere so any other potential victims could come forward. She said school and church officials’ response mirrors what is seen elsewhere.

“Unfortunately the pattern is the same. The reputation of the institution becomes more important than the safety of the children,” said Dorris.

She wants officials to be more active in discussing the situation with students and parents. Dorris said a supportive environment is critical because it’s rare for child molesters to have only one victim and said it’s likely others were abused and have remained silent.