LA- Unusual court ruling on confession, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, July 7, 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)
The Louisiana Supreme Court may compel a Catholic priest to testify in court about an alleged confession in a clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit.
This is what happens when Catholic officials conceal child sex crimes for decades – they lose credibility among judges. And this is what happens when Catholic officials deliberately and deceptively exploit confessional confidentiality.
Often, we've seen Catholic officials falsely claim that conversations about abuse were confessions, so they could keep hiding the truth from police, prosecutors, parents and parishioners. We hope that's not the case here.
We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups by Baton Rouge Catholic officials – will speak up, get help, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.
(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 2,000 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.