LA- US bishops hear controversial speaker in New Orleans
For immediate release: Thursday, June 12, 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)
We're saddened but not surprised that America's bishops have invited a man to speak to them who minimizes and mischaracterizes abuse.
He's W. Bradford Wilcox, co-author of a controversial recent Washington Post op ed about violence against women.
Bishops do this often - consult with questionable male "experts," men like Paul McHugh who said “I believe that the belligerent frenzy characteristic of media reports on priestly sexual abuse has done much damage and needs to stop."
(Bishops put McHugh on their first National Review Board overseeing the crisis.)
Bishops send predator priests to therapists like Father Benedict Groeschel, who said in 2012: “In many cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 is the seducer.”
Or Bishops pick therapists like Richard Fitzgibbons who has criticized the “zero-tolerance” policy and argues that many accusations are false.
(Fitzgibbons also diagnosed notorious serial predator Shawn Ratigan as "lonely.")
Bishops rarely "monitor" predator priests. But when they do, they pick "monitors" like the St. Louis nun who said "I would trust them all. I would."
Here's the bottom line: In the clergy sex abuse crisis, like other arenas, bishops can afford to hire the “best and the brightest” experts. But they don't. They deliberately hire “friendly,” biased professionals who can be counted on to tell bishops what they want to hear and to help maintain the secrecy bishops want with clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
Instead, bishops use their vast resources to hire the “best and brightest” lawyers and public relations people to defend themselves and their reputations.
(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 18,000 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.