National--Victims applaud Catholic editor/survivor who discloses abuse
For immediate release: Tuesday, July 7
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org)
A veteran Catholic editor is disclosing his own childhood suffering at the hands of a Catholic priest. We applaud his courage, shown not just now through his revelations but also shown through his decades of diligence exposing this continuing crisis in the church.
No publication on the planet has worked longer and harder to shed light on the Catholic church’s massive and alarming cover ups of heinous crimes against children than the tenacious and independent National Catholic Reporter. And much of this diligent, painful work has been written or guided by a courageous and compassionate journalist, Tom Fox.
In the 1980s, very few reporters pursued child molesting clerics and their complicit church supervisors. Tom did.
Some journalists who did investigate and write about this scandal succumbed to church pressure. Not Tom. Other reporters who covered this burned out or gave up. Not Tom.
Some journalists often choose to re-hash court records and largely refused to hear or include survivors’ perspectives. Not Tom.
Other reporters accepted bishops’ superficial pledges of reform and moved on. Not Tom.
For decades, Tom has been tireless in his fair but firm work to uncover what legions of Catholic officials and defense lawyers and public relations professionals worked even harder to conceal.
At least 19 US bishops are accused of abuse. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
Over 3,000 civil abuse and cover up cases have been filed in the US. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
Nearly 4,000 names of accused bishops, nuns, brothers, deacons, seminarians and priests have been made public in the US. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
US bishops now admit 6,427 priests are accused of abuse. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
(Four other sources estimate the real figure is between 9,768 and 10,969.)
(These are solid figures See “Data on the Crisis” on the home page of BishopAccountability.org)
Our hearts ache for Tom and his loved ones. We hope he is deluged with support, admiration and gratitude. We hope his bravery will inspire others who are suffering in shame, confusion and self-blame to break their silence, end their isolation and get support. We hope his example will prod others to speak out about this still widespread cancer so that it can be stopped and its victims can be healed.
In particular, we hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Tom’s perpetrator will step forward. The priest is deceased but others who ignored or concealed his crimes may still be alive and in power and continuing to cover up for child molesting clerics.
(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)
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.