For immediate release: Tuesday November 19, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
We are worried that some victims of child sex crimes will be even more afraid to report predators in light of the damage award in the recent case involving a Catholic school teacher.
It's extremely tough for men, women and kids who were sexually assaulted as children to speak up, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing. Most victims never tell of the horror they endured. So most predators are never charged, convicted or jailed. And so the horrific cycle of violence and pain continues, and millions of children's lives are shattered every year.
One way to help end this tragedy is to make it easier, not harder, for victims to disclose their suffering and pursue their perpetrators.
Again, we fear this $362,000 award will scare more already-wounded and struggling victims into staying silent.
So we call on San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath to educate his flock about how rare false abuse allegations are leveled against Catholic employees.
The overwhelming majority of child sex abuse charges against Catholic officials are legitimate.
--According to BishopAccountability.org: “Fewer than 2 percent of sexual abuse allegations against the Catholic church appear to be false.”
-Australian Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has said "Experience has shown that the number of false claims of abuse is quite small." http://reform-network.net/?p=10159
--Patrick Schiltz, dean of the University of St. Thomas law school in Minnesota, said that for more than a decade he had defended Catholic dioceses against sexual-abuse lawsuits in more than 500 cases, and that he had concluded that ''fewer than 10'' of those cases were based on false accusations.
In light of this, it’s irresponsible for Bishop McGrath to do nothing. He has a duty to help protect kids and foster a climate that encourages, not discourages, the reporting of known and suspected child sex crimes. For the safety of children, we call on him to publicly acknowledge that few child sex abuse reports against church employees are false and to urge victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to find the courage to call law enforcement.