For immediate release Thursday, February 13, 2014
Statement by Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952-334-5180, email@example.com)
The Archdiocese of Minneapolis admits to having spent $8.8 million over the past decade on costs related to clergy misconduct. We suspect this is misleading. We suspect the real figure is significantly higher.
And we suspect Catholic officials are using these figures to begin convincing people that they're poor so they can pressure victims to file fewer lawsuits and settle those cases more quickly and cheaply.
Usually, when Catholic officials do this, they take many deceptive steps to minimize their wealth. Usually, they deliberately avoid mentioning their many investments, parishes, cemeteries, schools and their for-profit enterprises. Usually, they value properties at the cost they bought buildings for decades ago, and not at the cost for which they could be sold these days.
Bishop Lee Piché is being disingenuous. He claims he's disclosing this because “it's the right thing to do.” He's half right – it IS the right thing to do. But it's being done because Catholic officials have been caught – repeatedly and recently – deceiving parents, parishioners and the public.
Now, they must do something to try to convince citizens and Catholics that they are “changing.”
A mountain of skepticism is in order.
It's silly to generalize or predict based on how one acts under duress. What matters is how one acts when a scandal is over and pressure is reduced. So we beg Catholics to keep open minds and not assume this is in any way a positive step.
These figures would be dramatically lower if only Catholic officials would act compassionately and promptly, not callously and selfishly, at the first hint of clergy sex crimes or misdeeds. But the past few months have shown, again, that church officials act recklessly, not prudently when they learn or suspect that a cleric is sexually assaulting children. They continue choose to protecting their own reputations over protecting their flock.
Victims sue in desperation when nothing else seems to bring real reform.
We suspect these amounts would be much smaller if only Catholic officials had done and would do the right thing. Sadly we fear they will continue to use every legal tactic they can muster to fight victims, hide secrets, protect predators and thwart justice. And the pattern will continue.
We hope that civil authorities will continue to investigate – even more aggressively - not only the abusive behavior of predator priests but also the deceitful behavior of church officials who protect and enable these dangerous child molesters
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Bob Schwiderski of Wayzata (952-471-3422, firstname.lastname@example.org), Frank Meuers of Plymouth (952-334-5180, email@example.com)