Ten years ago, a Boston Globe series put the Catholic abuse and cover up crisis on the front pages of newspapers across the globe.
Watch closely the language that Catholic officials use when they try to distance themselves from accused clerics.
Bishops recruit, educate, train, ordain, hire, supervise, and often transfer and protect predator priests. But once allegations surface, top church staff often pretend they’ve never even met the accused. In many church notices, he was “Fr. Smith” on Tuesday, but suddenly, on Wednesday, became “Smith” or “Mr. Smith” the minute child sex abuse allegations arose.
Could there be a more shrewd way for child molesting clerics to avoid getting caught than this: legally changing their names?
SNAP was invited to testify before the Royal Commission into Sex Abuse convened by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. SNAP President and Founder Barbara Blaine made the 28 hour trip and our Australian leaders Nicky Davis and Mark Fabro all testified not only to their own experiences but also to the scope of the abuse and cover-up by church officials.
A Baptist minister, John Langworthy, faces charges in Mississippi of "gratification of lust." He is accused of molesting at least five kids.
A grant writer, Margaret Mata had a good job finding funding for the Kansas City diocese. Then she learned that diocesan officials were not telling the truth about the Fr. Shawn Ratigan child porn and cover-up case.
Yesterday, SNAP stood with over a dozen clergy abuse survivors in Kansas City, who had been part of a large settlement with the diocese in 2008. What makes this event so unusual is that these peope had included 19 non-economic conditions as part of their settlement. In just three short years, officials have violated at least six of those promises over twenty times.
Recently, a friend and supporter sent me a link to Holy Watergate in German. If you're unaware of Holy Watergate, it's a documentary by powerful film-maker Mary Healey who tracks the horrific stories of five victims from their life before abuse to what it is like today. It examines nineteen years of cover-up and criminality from the church across the country and is a very well made testament to how the clergy abuse crisis has been handled. Below is the link to the film, available in its entirety in German. Part 1 is also available in English.
Calls and emails have been coming from survivors and supporters from around the world. We're hearing from a range of countries: China, Argentina, Russia, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Germany, the UK, Kenya, Netherlands, Chile, Brazil, Poland, France Venezuela, and the Philippines. We are becoming experts using Google Translate!
Today I received sad news; SNAP has lost a very good friend. After a long battle with kidney and liver problems, Steve Rabi of Albuquerque, NM passed away. Steve had been a SNAP leader for about a decade.
Steve spent countless hours working to recover from his own abuse, reaching out to others in pain, consoling and guiding them, exposing wrongdoing in the church, reforming predator-friendly laws, and prodding church officials to act responsibly. And he hung in there, despite long odds and slow progress, year after year after year. We in SNAP are very grateful to him for his leadership. Hundreds of once alone, hurting and confused victims found some degree of solace and support because he worked so hard, gave so much, and refused to give up.