MT--Victims blast Montana Catholic settlement
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 4
We are grateful to the hundreds of Montana men and women who have bravely reported being sexually assaulted as kids by Catholic nuns, priests and other clerics. We commend them for their courage. But we deplore the legal maneuvers by Catholic officials who are finally agreeing to compensate these deeply wounded individuals with the paltry amount of less than $20,000 each.
These nuns no doubt say they’re ‘poor’ but frankly we doubt that claim. When it suits them, Catholic officials say they’re part of a huge global church. But when it benefits them, like in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases, they claim each diocese or religious order is autonomous.
Did these nuns even try to borrow money from other Catholic institutions (like Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law did) or raise more money in any way, so they could do justice by these hundreds of still-suffering victims? We doubt it. Shame on them.
Still, we hope this settlement brings some measure of closure to these hundreds who were smart and strong enough to seek justice in the courts rather than beg for crumbs from callous Catholic officials. Kids in Montana are safer now because of these brave victims. We are proud of them and wish them well. And we encourage them to stay in therapy, self-help groups and other recovery programs, because no one event can magically reverse years of painful results that stem from horrific childhood betrayal.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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)
Contact - David Clohessy 314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003,
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.