ITALY- SNAP 20 child safety steps for the new pope’s first “100 days”

Here are 20 simple steps the next pope could and should promptly take with little effort or real controversy. Based on our 25 years of dealing with this crisis, we are convinced these moves will make children much safer by exposing and deterring wrongdoing in child sex cases by church staff.

New proposals

---Ordering bishops to set up and finance a “whistleblower fund” to reward church staff whose actions lead to criminal charges or conviction of current or former abusive clerics.

---Removing child sex abuse from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s jurisdiction so that all church officials will clearly see that clergy sex abuse and cover up is a crime, not a sin, and a matter of discipline not of doctrine.

---- Insisting that priests immediately give their passports to their bishops when abuse accusations arise (so they can’t flee overseas).

----Demanding that bishops hire independent corrections staff to house and monitor child molesting clerics (who cannot be criminally charged) in remote, secure facilities so they will be kept away from children.

----Instructing bishops to use only licensed therapists (not priests or nuns) to deal with abuse victims.

----Instructing bishops to use only former police (not clerics) to investigate abuse cases that cannot be pursued by law enforcement.

----Convening and funding a world-wide conference of secular lawmakers who are working to reform archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly secular laws (like the statute of limitations) that prevent victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sex offenses through civil and criminal courts.

---Making an urgent, strong public plea to all church employees and members, begging them to give information and suspicions about fugitive predator priests to civil authorities so the clerics may be prosecuted and kept away from children.

----Instructing bishops to avoid using language that minimizes clergy abuse (“it’s just a small percentage of priests”), deflects blame (“abuse happens in other settings too”), faults accusers (“these allegations are from 25 years ago”), mollifies church-goers (“he’s not accused of molesting at this parish”), praises accused wrongdoers (“he’s a very popular priest”), or guilt-trips victims (“he has tirelessly worked to help the poor”).

----Removing Fr. Robert Oliver, the recently appointed Vatican abuse prosecutor, who has led Boston church officials in quietly “backsliding” on abuse measures over the past decade.

----Openly soliciting nominations for the prosecutor’s post and choosing a new one only after consulting with victims, advocates and lay people.

Other proposals

----Demoting and denouncing Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City Missouri, the only sitting bishop who has been criminally convicted of failing to report suspected child sex crimes (by keeping hundreds of explicit and sexually suggestive photos of young girls taken by Fr. Shawn Ratigan).

----Discouraging current and future cover ups by clearly, publicly and severely disciplining prelates (like Cardinal Roger Mahony and others) who are concealing or have concealed child sex crimes.

--Ordering bishops to post names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics (including religious order priests) on diocesan and parish websites. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm

--Turning over Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) records about predatory priests to local law enforcement in the nations where the alleged crimes took place.

--Insisting that the head of each diocese and religious order do likewise with their abuse records.

---Ordering bishops to provide two types of diocese-wide training: for kids and adults on preventing crimes and for adults (parishioners and employees) on reporting crimes

---Mandating church-based sessions teach parishioners how to respond appropriately in abuse cases so victims, witnesses and whistleblowers won’t feel intimidated or hopeless (See SNAP brochure “What to do when your priest is accused of abuse,” http://www.snapnetwork.org/what_to_do_when_your_priest_is_accused_of_abuse

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Showing 5 reactions


commented 2013-03-08 19:30:10 -0600 · Flag
I think perhaps it is precisely because the former Pope did not have the courage to do what you suggest (particularly with regards to Roger Mahoney and others like him), that he retired. I really do think that is the main reason he quit. So sad.

Sad, that a grown man a Pope who is supposed to lead billions of people, could not bring himself to follow the words of Christ in Matthew, Mark and Luke. If people in general can’t seem to apply the biblical allegories, then maybe they will understand your words, Mr. Clohessy :

1. “Discouraging current and future cover ups by clearly, publicly and severely disciplining prelates (like Cardinal Roger Mahony and others) who are concealing or have concealed child sex crimes.” Actually, I think this should be your FIRST suggestion to the incoming Pope.

2. And then, “Convening and funding a world-wide conference of secular lawmakers who are working to reform archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly secular laws (like the statute of limitations) that prevent victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sex offenses through civil and criminal courts.”

I truly believe that these are the two most important first steps the next Pope should take. full stop
commented 2013-03-08 12:07:31 -0600 · Flag
Wonderful suggestions! I hope someone is listening….
commented 2013-03-08 09:25:14 -0600 · Flag
The church has been a huge player in opposing strengthening child protection laws, especially statute of limitations in reporting both criminal and civil
commented 2013-03-08 07:33:56 -0600 · Flag
I have to agree with you ;when the Priest are all in their black & white uniform how can we tell which one is a child molester; even when they don’t have their uniform on how can we be sure .As a victim myself" Priest sholud be treated like any other child molester; but their not"
Why aren’t the Priest who have raped ,molested children “why aren’t they registered sex offenders ? all of the children and adults through out the years” that have got up the nerve to come forward to tell what horrible sick, sex act a Priest did to us; We all can’t be wrong; So why are the Priest still out in the public" only to rape more children; the States won’t get on the side of the victim;to help us get these Priest as registered sex offenders,this is one way we can help other children from being raped by these Priest; We don’t need or want other children to be hurt. Each state,also the justice Dept. in Washington should help victims of Clergy Sex Abuse ; get these Priest as registered sex offenders; and also have their pictures posted in the news paper in every State,this would be a start to help victims get justice; instead of the Statute of Limitation protecting these Priest ( Child Molesters ) these Priest are protected by the Pope & others. It’s as though the victim has to convince others;to believe in us;we are the victim; not the Priest……………… !
I do believe " that the child molester;found a loop hole in the Religious system; become a Priest; they can have all children with in their reach" and get away with molesting children; because they are protected with the black and white uniform on. I think that they really brain wash themselves with the black and white uniform on; they believe that with the uniform on they can get away with rape or whatever else ?
This has been going on for decades;how sad;how painful for;for all victims of Clergy Abuse !
commented 2013-03-08 06:28:14 -0600 · Flag
Presenting prospective priests’ psychological profiles and employment records to parish committees composed of professionals and consultants, allowing them to interview and test prospective priests, conduct random drug tests and computer inspections (to check for porn) before a priest is placed in a parish would also show respect for people of God. No priest should be foisted on a parish without the permission and the careful examination and approval of that parish.
Our most powerful tool is the light of truth. Through our actions, we bring healing, prevention and justice.



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