Clergy Sex Victims to Hold Vigil
- They Urge Government Probe of Church Cover Ups
- Group Dismisses “Biased” Church-Initiated Investigation
- SNAP Also Wants Other Denominations to Do More to Protect Kids
Holding signs and photos of abuse victims who committed suicide, clergy sex abuse victims will stand on a street corner in a silent vigil outside an event honoring and welcoming Pope Benedict. They will publicly:
-- urge German government officials to launch independent, government-sponsored investigations into clergy sex crimes and cover ups (like Ireland has done), and
-- criticize the effectiveness and alleged objectivity of a so-called “investigation” of the continuing abuse crisis by German bishops who hand-picked the purported “investigators,” and
-- ask leaders of other denominations, especially those who are meeting with the pope, to work harder in their own churches to prevent clergy sex crimes and expose cover ups.
Victims will also hand out fliers to passersby urging them to ask every current and former Catholic they know if any clergy victimized them and, if so, to contact law enforcement – local, national and international - with any information or suspicions they may have.
Saturday, September 24, 10:30 am
in front of St. Martin, Rathausplatz (near city hall plaza), 79098 Freiburg
(public transport: tram/bus: Siegesdenkmal or Bertoldsbrunnen)
(less then 5 minutes from the official press center in Freiburg)
Four adults who were abused as children by priests and are with an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Last March, in the wake of extensive controversy, the German Bishops Conference announced a probe into the abuse of more than 170 children (including those who claimed to be abused in a choir headed by the Pope’s brother Georg Ratzinger). But SNAP is highly skeptical of such moves by bishops. The group wants secular officials to launch a truly independent investigation, one free from the meddling of Catholic officials, in order to determine the true depth of the clergy abuse crisis in Germany.
The Pope has met recently with leaders of other religious groups (including Lutherans, Jews and Muslims). SNAP wants those church officials to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Catholic hierarchy by taking effective steps now to root out child molesting clerics and expose any abuse cover ups in their own denominations.
SNAP also wants current and former Catholic employees to share what they know and suspect about clergy sex crimes and cover ups with law enforcement officials at the local, national and international level.
SNAP will also praise and thank victims of clerical violence across Germany for stepping forward in recent months and years in order to help expose dangerous pedophile priests and complicit church officials.
For More Information, please contact
Barbara Blaine, +1 312.399.4747; +49-(0)172 1677 178 (English)
Wilfried Fesselmann +49-(0)176-48210171 (German, English)
Emmanuel Henckens +32(0)485 967 671 (Dutch, German, Italian, French)
David Clohessy (Executive Director), SNAPclohesy@aol.com, +1 314 566 9790
Barbara Dorris (Outreach Director), SNAPdorris@gmail.com, +1 314 862 7688
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.