MN- Archbishop to speak today, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Statement by Frank Meuers of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952-334-5180, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt may speak to some reporters today about partial results from an investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct with adults. We hope he'll explain why he has so clearly violated the US bishops' abuse policy by hiding and helping proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. We doubt, however, that he will, in spite of his repeated promises to be “open and transparent” about clergy sex crimes.
As we've said before, we don't care about Nienstedt's private behavior, unless it involves sexually harassing seminarians or underlings or makes him unable or unwilling to discipline predators in his archdiocese.
We care deeply about Nienstedt's public behavior which inexcusably puts children in harm's way. He has been and remains, secretive, reckless and callous about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
We have little faith in so-called "investigations" that are funded or carried out by Catholic officials. Powerful prelates can always find and pay lawyers or "experts" who will tell them what they want to hear. (This is why they continue to quietly send proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics to the same church-funded "treatment" centers year after year after year, while hypocritically blasting those same centers in public for the allegedly "bad advice" they gave about putting predators back on the job.)
As my colleague, Barbara Dorris of SNAP said:
“We believe that most priests don't or can't honor their celibacy pledge. So they have sexual secrets. And if you have a sexual secret, you're less willing to report the sexual secrets of your colleagues and supervisors, especially if those secrets involve criminal behavior.
This is perhaps the most disturbing sentence we've read about this investigation: ‘he also stands accused of retaliating against those who refused his advances or otherwise questioned his conduct.’
We are highly skeptical when bishops like Nienstedt claim that allegations against them are ‘personal attacks’ due to ‘my unwavering stance on issues consistent with church teaching, such as opposition to so-called same-sex marriage.’ This is especially unlikely if there are in fact ten accusers including some who were or are Catholic clerics.”
(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.