INTL- Lessons & omissions from papal victim choices
For immediate release: Thursday, June 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 Catholic newspaper says that next weekend, the pope will reportedly meet with clergy sex abuse victims from four countries: the U.S., Britain, Poland and Ireland.
In each of those four countries, hundreds or even thousands of victims are bravely speaking up and protecting children by exposing clerics who commit and conceal heinous clergy sex crimes.
There's a lesson here for victims across the world: despite deep pain and long odds, by overcoming your fears and uniting with other victims, you can attract attention and sometimes prod Catholic officials to do something. More importantly, by stepping forward, you can reduce your shame, get some help and begin - no matter what the church hierarchy does or doesn't do - to really protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
Apparently, the pope is not meeting with any victims from the developing world, which is sad, because the plight of clergy sex abuse victims there is even more desperate than the plight of victims in developed nations. It would be encouraging if Francis would include Argentinean victims in this meeting, especially Julieta Añazco (who was abused by Fr. Ricardo Gimenez who is still a priest in Buenos Aires), Sebastian Cuattromo (who was abused by Fr. Fernando Enrique Picchiochi) and Beatriz Varela (whose son was abused by Fr. Ruben Pardo).
(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.