For immediate release, September 22, 2018
Yesterday the Pennsylvania bishops announced that they are considering setting up a reparation fund to compensate victims of abusive clergy. However SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, believes that victims want and deserve justice, not just money. Survivor needs are better addressed by changes to the state's statute of limitations and a civil window.
SNAP believes that the real reason for this suggestion is to deflect attention away from the public outrage over the systemic cover up of sexual abuse in the Pennsylvania dioceses. The anger directed at the bishops' callous disregard for children' safety may be all that is necessary to prod the legislature to enact statute of limitation reform and to open a civil window.
Even if established, this fund will not protect a single child or expose a single wrongdoer or end a single cover up. Similar proposals in New York have given victims who were beyond the statute of limitations money, but little else. The names of abusers were not made public, nor were any Church records released, exposing what was known, when and by whom.
It is also important to recognize that the Church's steadfast opposition to legislative reform does not just deny Catholic survivors justice, it prevents all victims from having their day in court.
We hope that people are not fooled by this latest public relations ploy. A civil window and permanent changes to the statute of limitations are the best deterrents to future cover ups in the Catholic Church, and in other institutions.
The Pennsylvania grand jury is still investigating and taking calls. HOTLINE: 888-538-8541
(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 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)