National- Bishops praise themselves on child sex abuse again, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, March 28, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
We have three objections to these new claims by US bishops.
First, if over a decade, my car tires become bald and I buy new ones, they'll likely cost more than the old ones did. It's silly – or even deceitful - for me to brag that my spending on “safety” has gone up. But that's what bishops are doing today.
It's painful to watch them stretch and distort the truth for another public relations 'win.'
Second, Bishops desperately keep trying to pretend this on-going crisis is somehow “in the past.” They do this in a range of ways, but among their most popular is to claim or suggest that most cases happened decades ago.
The truth is we simply cannot know. That's because it nearly always takes victims decades to come forward and report the crimes they've suffered. So at best, it's disingenuous and at worst it's deceptive for Catholic officials to claim the rate of clergy sex crimes is declining.
Bishops and their public relations professionals aren't dumb. They know delayed reporting is almost always the norm but they misrepresent what this means time and time again. By doing so, they are recklessly endangering kids by encouraging complacency when vigilance is required.
Finally, since it was adopted a decade ago, the bishops’ extremely vague, weak and rarely-enforced abuse policy has been consistently weakened and sporadically followed. So these alleged “audits” are nearly meaningless.
(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.
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.