PA - SNAP's letter to Archbishop Chaput
June 27, 2012
Dear Archbishop Chaput;
We are leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
We are writing you today with a simple and straightforward request about Monsignor William Lynn. He has been tried. He has been convicted. He should be defrocked.
This is not about being vindictive. It’s about being prudent. It’s about trying to reverse decades or centuries of self-serving secrecy in child sex abuse cases by thousands of Catholic officials. It’s about sending the most clear and severe message possible to current and future church employees who ignore, conceal and enable heinous crimes against kids. That message should be a “no brainer” – if you protect predators and hurt kids by hiding known and suspected crimes, you will be out of a job.
Sadly, even now, that message is virtually never sent. With only a handful of exceptions, Catholic staffers who act recklessly, callously and deceitfully with the safety of kids are virtually never disciplined by officials like you. So sadly, the same hurtful patterns of complicity - that have been so thoroughly exposed, so extensively documented and so widely criticized – continue.
This is simple common sense, Archbishop. If you do what virtually every US bishop has done - keep on staff virtually every cleric who put innocent kids second and the church’s reputation first – how can you possibly expect that the well-being of kids will ever take priority over the well-being of predators?
You can question why Msgr. Lynn did what he did and to what extend he’s really to blame. But no reasonable person can deny that, for more than a decade, Msgr. Lynn ignored, concealed and enabled child sex crimes, refusing, in dozens of cases, to call police even once about known or suspected child sex crimes. No reasonable person can deny that children suffered as a result of his actions and inactions.
No reasonable person can deny that he had many options but repeatedly chose the irresponsible one: never questioning or undermining or defying – even once – a deceitful or harmful decision by his supervisors or peers or underlings. And no one can deny that he is a felon.
Please help bring healing to your archdiocese. Please help prevent future horrors. Please stop doing what Msgr. Lynn and others did – protecting wrongdoers. Please start defrocking Msgr. Lynn today.
SNAP Outreach Director
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.