CA- Predator priest files will be kept closed; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
The Monterey Catholic Diocese has succeeded, at least temporarily, in keeping documents about a predator priest sealed.
This is yet another case which church officials choose to protect their reputations over children and secrecy over transparency.
We are very disappointed in this ruling of the 6th District Court of Appeals. It goes against the interest of public safety. We are also disappointed in the diocese's continued efforts to keep hidden information that Monterey Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills has deemed relevant to the sexual abuse of a child.
We feel the arguments made by the diocese in its defense of secrecy are invalid, self-centered, and dangerous.
We are grateful for the courageous and unselfish survivor in this case and his attorney for pressing for the disclosure of documents that would protect children and expose enablers of child abuse. It is a shame this type of legal battle is still necessary more than a decade after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop promised to be open and transparent in cases of child sexual abuse.
We urge the Court of Appeals to immediately lift the stay it has placed on Judge Wills' court order and allow the public to read what Monterey Catholic officials so badly want to keep hidden. Additionally, we urge the victim to continue to fight for truth, justice, and the protection of children. Finally, we ask the Monterey's bishop to explain why he's choosing continued secrecy instead of openness.
(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.