Survivors Demand Federal Investigation Into Church Sexual Violence And Cover-Up
For immediate release: August 15, 2018
Statement by Tim Lennon, President of SNAP, the Survivors Network (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org)
For more than forty years the widespread and systemic abuse of children and its cover up by officials of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has been brought to light by survivors.
· In 1974 hearing-impaired victims of Father Lawrence Murphy, including the recently deceased Gary Smith, distributed fliers outside a Milwaukee cathedral protesting the Church’s failure to remove this prolific abuser from ministry.
· More than thirty years ago a pedophile priest from Louisiana, Father Gilbert Gauthe, made national headlines. His superiors knew about his abuses and failed to take action to protect children.
· In 2002, when the Boston Globe highlighted the same abhorrent practice in the Archdiocese of Boston, there was already mounting evidence of widespread sexual violence and church cover up.
· Following the “Spotlight” report, more revelations from across the country continued to be exposed.
· Yesterday, an explosive grand jury investigation into six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania described horrific crimes and the most callous disregard for the safety of innocent children, with the foreseeable consequence of grievous harm to those young lives.
Despite all the evidence that thousands of children suffered needlessly to protect the image of Catholic Church, federal officials have taken virtually no steps to probe or prevent these crimes or cover-ups or punish clerics who conceal or commit them.
SNAP asked for such action in 2003, and again in 2014.
We will never know how many children would have been spared harm if decisive action had been taken in 2003, or even in 2014.
Today, we are again demanding that the federal government take action. Please do not waste any more time waiting for the Catholic Church to reform itself.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - Tim Lennon (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org); Judy Jones (636-433-2511, email@example.com), Becky Ianni (703-801-6044, firstname.lastname@example.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.