PA: Survivors’ group reacts to the release of the PA grand jury report
For immediate release May 24, 2018
Statement by Tim Lennon, Volunteer President of the Board of Directors of SNAP, the Survivors Network (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org)
We are extremely grateful to the State of Pennsylvania for investigating its Catholic Dioceses and for making the report public next month. Each of the six dioceses under investigation have copies of the report now.
Based on history and past experience of the Altoona-Johnston and Philadelphia dioceses grand jury reports we are afraid that it will show that Catholic Church officials continuously and callously ignored the danger of grievous harm to innocent children and covered up sex crimes by clergy and other Church workers.
However, knowledge of past crimes is only valuable if it is translated into actions that will help prevent future sexual abuse and cover-ups. Toward that end:
~~We call on police and prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the United States and around the world to recognize that cover-ups are the rule, rather than the exception in both Catholic dioceses and other institutions. Law enforcement can play a crucial role in protecting the vulnerable and comforting the abuse when they investigate these old crimes.
~~We call on Pennsylvania lawmakers to eliminate or reform the archiac statute of limitation laws that enable predators to remain free and without consequence.
~~We call on Pennsylvania lawmakers specifically and all lawmakers in general to make sure that the courthouse doors are open to all victims of these heinous crimes and cover-ups, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.
~~We call on people of good will everywhere to insist that churches and other institutions voluntarily divulge the kind of secret records that Pennsylvania bishops were forced to produce during the grand jury investigation.
(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 isSNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - Tim Lennon (415-312-5820,tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org); Judy Jones, email@example.com), Becky Ianni (703-801-6044,firstname.lastname@example.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.