For immediate release: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Statement by Frank Meuers of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952-334-5180, firstname.lastname@example.org)
"It's just about money." That’s what many Catholic officials say when they're sued for committing and concealing child sex crimes. But today's release of Archbishop John Nienstedt's deposition is proof that civil lawsuits are a key tool in the struggle to safeguard children from predators.
Civil suits can help expose wrongdoers, protect kids, reveal truth and hopefully deter future cover ups. Sometimes, information gleaned from civil litigation helps police and prosecutors catch and convict child predators. Always, information from civil litigation educates us all on how cunning predators operate and how callous supervisors collude.
So we applaud this brave victim for seeking justice for himself, while also seeking to reveal the truth for others. He could have pushed hard for a quick and quiet settlement. Instead, he's pushing hard to expose those who commit and conceal horrific crimes against innocent boys and girls. Every Minnesota Catholic owes him – and dozens of other equally courageous Minnesota clergy sex abuse victims - a debt of gratitude.
For decades, bishops have tried to seal any court records about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. But for the last decade, bishops have pledged to be “open and transparent” about clergy sex cases. They continue, at virtually every opportunity, to keep trying to seal such records. We've seen absolutely no decline whatsoever in efforts by bishops to keep every single page of court documents about this crisis hidden from public view.
We hope other child sex abuse victims who were hurt in institutional settings take note of today's disclosure. We hope they find the strength and courage to call law enforcement and support groups and civil lawyers, so they too can protect children by exposing wrongdoers.
(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 15,000 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)