Geneva--UN panel to issue report on clergy abuse
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 4 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Tomorrow, at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time, a United Nations panel in Geneva is expected to release a formal report on whether Vatican officials are complying with a treaty on children's rights.
It will likely be posted here:
And here: http://ccrjustice.org/ and here http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/CRCIndex.aspx
No matter what the panel does, this has already been a historic and helpful process for wounded victims and vulnerable kids.
We're grateful to the panel for fulfilling their mission of making the children of the world safe from violence.
We are grateful for their calling the Vatican to give an accounting and hope this added scrutiny will deter church officials - and others in other institutions - from protecting those who commit and conceal heinous violent crimes against kids in the future.
We hope - and believe - it also will give hope to victims of child abuse all over the world and that the crimes they suffered will no longer go unnoticed. For decades victims of clergy abuse felt helpless. With the UN questioning of Vatican officials victims feel that when they find the courage to come forward that they will be heard and justice is possible.
We hope, in a tangible way, it will inspire those who have been sexually violated - in any setting - to step forward to seek justice, expose corruption and protect children.
At the same time, however, we doubt whether Catholic officials will make any real reforms. They seem fixated on internal policies and procedures that are largely public relations maneuvers. Last month in Geneva, they dodged questions by the UN panel and repeated the same tired, ridiculous claim that Vatican officials have little or no control over how this on-going crisis is dealt with across the globe.
Real reform will come when more secular authorities – local, national and international – find the courage to investigate and pursue those who enable child molesting clerics to assault children and destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses and protect wrongdoers' reputations instead of children's safety.
To hasten this real reform, it's crucial that those who see, suspect or suffer clergy sexual violence and cover ups continue to find the courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, call police, protect kids and start healing.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.com)
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.