GA- Catholic bishop loses & victim wins; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Atlanta's Catholic archbishop has lost his bid to stop a clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit on a technicality. Shame on him for even trying.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory tried to get a case tossed out over the victim's use of “Jane Doe,” rather than her actual name, in legal papers. This is a mean-spirited move designed only to help Catholic officials evade responsibility for heinous crimes. It is more befitting a cold-hearted CEO than a man who professes to be a caring shepherd.
In 2002, Gregory postured as a “reformer” when he headed the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as it enacted its first-ever nationwide church abuse policy (a policy we regarded then, and still regard now, as weak, vague and almost meaningless because it's virtually never enforced).
The very least Catholic bishops can do is to fight victims, if they must, on the merits, not on the technicalities.
We are grateful to the appeals court for not letting Gregory get away with such a callous, self-serving maneuver. And we are even more grateful to this brave victim for having the strength and courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing. We hope her bravery will encourage others who have been assaulted by priests, nuns, brothers, seminarians and bishops to follow in her footsteps.
And we hope that Atlanta Catholics stop donating to the archdiocese and start donating to institutions that protect kids, instead of endangering them, and groups that help victims instead of attacking victims. Atlanta Catholics should not passively let their archbishop use their contributions to hire lawyers who exploit technicalities to protect predators and re-victimize victims.
(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 20,000 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.