MN--SNAP: “Real numbers in Catholic church scandal are much higher”
For immediate release: Friday, Aug. 7
Statement by Frank Meuers, Minnesota SNAP leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952-334-5180, email@example.com)
About 407 abuse victims of Twin Cities child molesting Catholic clerics have stepped forward in just a few months. Now, there’s a risk that the extent of the abuse and cover up crisis will be understated.
Starting this week, many people, including journalists, will be inclined to use that number - 407 victims - to describe the crisis in the St. Paul Archdiocese. They should not do so. For the sake of accuracy and healing, all of us should emphasize that this figure is artificially low.
Most child sex abuse victims tell no one. Most take no legal steps. We suspect that’s especially true of clergy sex abuse victims, who fear bringing shame or discomfort to their families, many of whom still worship at the very parishes where the crimes happened.
So let’s be careful. Let’s say “a minimum of 407 alleged victims.”
Similarly, we should be accurate about the number of predatory priests, nuns, brothers, seminarians and bishops in the Twin Cities. A credible website, BishopAccountability.org, lists 64 publicly accused Twin Cities predator clerics. But we strongly suspect the real figure is two or three or four times higher. (Few child sex abuse victims are able or willing to report their trauma. Timid prosecutors, overworked police, limited evidence, shrewd predators, church ‘enablers’ and archaic statutes of limitations prevent most victims from taking legal action against those who assaulted them as kids.)
We help no one but wrongdoers when we underestimate how widespread and devastating this on-going crisis really is.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Frank Meuers (952-334-5180, email@example.com), Verne Wagner (218- 340-1277, firstname.lastname@example.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.