PA- SNAP statement today re 8 just "outed" Pittsburgh predatory clerics
For immediate release: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Statement by Judy Jones of St. Louis, Midwest Assistant Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (636 433 2511, 314 974 5003, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here's our question today for Bishop Zubik: Why wait? Why not write to every alum of every Pittsburgh Catholic school and beg them to come forward if they were hurt by any priest, nun, brother, seminarian or teacher?
That's what a truly caring shepherd would do.
Years ago, Pittsburgh Catholic officials had a choice: do real outreach to clergy sex abuse victims or to pretend to do real outreach to clergy sex abuse victims.
They opted to pretend.
The result is clear: credibly accused child molesting clerics who might have been exposed, ousted or even criminally prosecuted years ago were not. Victims who might have gotten help or felt relieved did not. A cancer in the diocese that could have been removed more quickly was not.
Instead, for years, child molesting clerics stayed “under the radar.” Some of them stayed on the job in schools and churches. Some of them quietly moved on, getting other positions near kids. Some quietly resigned.
And for years, victims – perhaps dozens of them – have suffered in silence, shame and self-blame, believing they were the only ones, fearing their truth would never surface, needlessly blaming themselves.
Who knows how many other proven, admitted and credibly accused priests, nuns, brothers, seminarians, coaches, or teachers are still under the radar.
Who knows how many other victims are suffering in silence and self-blame?
This must stop. It's time to do real, widespread and effective outreach now.
And let's explode two myths about this burgeoning crisis right here.
First, this is not a “Marianist” scandal.
Second, this is not an “old” scandal. Though some of the predators are old or dead, the pain of the victims is very current and real
Some might say “Isn't it good that the diocese wrote to alums about Br. Hartman?
Sure, but they had to be prodded to do so by our group.
Some might say “Isn't it good that they wrote a second letter to alums?”
Sure, but all of this outreach could and should have been done years ago.
Some might say “Isn't it good that the diocese is being 'open' about the number of allegations and the names of the accused?”
Maybe, but this is required under the US bishops national abuse policy, which mandates 'openness' in clergy sex cases.
We applaud the “brave victims for stepping forward” and “beg them to contact secular authorities, not church figures.” We hope church officials will stop living in denial and putting the reputations of officials over the safety of children and the wellbeing of victims.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Judy Block Jones (636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com), Fran Samber (717-514-9660, email@example.com)
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.