MT- “Bar date” set for clergy sex abuse victims, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A judge in Montana has set a “bar date” for clergy sex abuse victims. They have until August to report their crimes and potentially be part of a settlement.
“Bar dates” give victims a limited amount of time to come forward, report their abuse, and receive help. This is wrong. It's convenient for those who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes. It's hurtful to everyone else.
It often takes years or decades for child sexual abuse victims to find the strength and courage to come forward and report the horrible crimes they suffered. Putting a deadline on when they can speak up and get help only benefits wrongdoers.
Still, we hope anyone who is suffering in silence and self blame will find the courage to come forward and start healing.
(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)
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.