NY – Two Buffalo area priests suspended, victims respond
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Statement by Tim Lennon of Tucson, Volunteer President of SNAP’s Board of Directors, 415-312-5820,tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org
This past weekend two priests in the Diocese of Buffalo were suspended from ministry. Fathers Samuel J. Venne and Arthur S. Smith were put on leave while allegations of childhood sexual abuse against them are investigated by the Church.
We applaud Bishop Richard J. Malone for announcing these suspensions to parishioners. However, the bishop should also report these allegations to the police, if he has not already done so. Investigations of criminal behavior are best handled by unbiased professionals.
Bishop Malone should also take the next step and implore any victim harmed by a priest or anyone serving on behalf of the Church in the Diocese of Buffalo to contact law enforcement immediately. Despite New York’s predator friendly statute of limitations, crimes should still be reported, no matter how long ago the abuse may have occurred. Speaking up is a chance victims to begin healing, expose the truth, and protect others.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. 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.