Aussie- UN panel blasts Vatican & cites Australia case
For immediate release: Friday, May 23, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
In Geneva today, the United Nations Committee Against Torture harshly criticized top Catholic officials for endangering kids and specifically cited an Australian case in which an archbishop refused to cooperate with civil authorities about child sex crimes.
The panel expressed concern that the pope's official representative (papal nuncio) to Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, “invoked diplomatic immunity in refusing to provide archival documentation to assist the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into sex abuse.”
When bishops refuse to cooperate with civil authorities, they are endangering children and should be disciplined by the highest officials in the church.
This is just one case of many in which the Catholic hierarchy is still hiding information that might protect kids and expose criminals.
We call on Pope Francis to harshly punish any Catholic official who refuses to cooperate in helping secular authorities with child sexual abuse cases, in the present or past.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.