For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 17, 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)
It's politically smart for the new Penn State university president to beg for patience in dealing with the legacy of Joe Paterno.
But we urge him to move quickly and decisively to publicly urge others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups to call police right away. And we hope he immediately shows clear sympathy for those hurt by Jerry Sandusky's crimes and Joe Paterno's complicity.
It will be tempting for Mr. Barron to worry more about many football-obsessed alums and to downplay the pain of a much smaller number of child sex abuse victims.
But leadership is about more than placating majorities. It's also about maintaining a proper moral compass and about deterring future misdeeds. For those reasons, Barron should approach his new job like a doctor would, focusing on “first, do no harm,” especially to those who have been truly hurt the worst – those young men who were raped and sodomized by a football coach while others in power turned a blind eye to the crimes. And he should use his resources and bully pulpit to help prosecutors convict complicit school officials who face upcoming criminal trials.
Many of us are skeptical that the alleged reforms adopted by university officials after the school's child sex abuse scandal have really taken root. We hope Mr. Barron will prove us wrong.
(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)