IL- Survey of Springfield Catholics is online, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 26, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A survey of more than 900 Springfield area Catholics shows that the church's on-going child sex abuse and cover-up crisis is one reason many people stopped attending mass.
We're not surprised. During the past year or so, Springfield Catholic officials:
– let an accused child molesting cleric, Fr. Robert “Bud” DeGrand, resign from his posts, instead of suspending him, after delaying for a week after the diocesan abuse panel quietly urged them to oust Fr. DeGrand. They used vague, misleading language – like “misconduct” - to describe alleged child sex crimes, hoping to soften the horror of sexual assaults on children by clergy.
– put Fr. Thomas Donovan back on the job after he'd been found by police to be wearing an orange jumpsuit and “a leather bondage-type mask with a bar in his mouth” (A church therapist allegedly diagnosed him as having engaged in "non-sexual self-bondage.")
Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki can and should take steps to renew his flock's faith in the church and its leadership.
He can start by making kids safer and post the names of all credibly accused child molesting clerics on his diocesan website. Roughly 30 other bishops have taken this simple public safety step. (Here is the list of them: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/diocesan_and_order_lists.htm
(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.
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.