OR- New Portland Catholic bishop appointed; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, March 4, 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)
Msgr. Peter Leslie Smith is the new auxiliary of the Portland Catholic archdiocese. We are disappointed by this choice.
Smith is a civil and a canon lawyer. In our view, the church hierarchy needs fewer lawyers, not more lawyers. Kids and victims need prelates who are trained to deal with this horrific, on-going crisis from a pastoral perspective, not a legal perspective.
He is also the vice chair of the presbyteral council, the vicar general and moderator of the Curia – all high ranking posts. So we strongly suspect that he knows of or suspects clergy child sex crimes and cover ups that he's not helping to uncover.
We are encouraged when rank-and-file priests, not consummate church insiders, are promoted. That's the way to bring real change.
(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.