Pope sends archbishop to Chile to investigate Bishop Juan Barros, SNAP responds
For immediate release Tuesday, January 30, 2018
The Vatican announced this morning that Archbishop Charles Scicluna would travel to Chile "to listen to those who have expressed the desire to provide elements" about the allegations against Bishop Juan Barros.
SNAP, the Survivors Network, regrets that Pope Francis did not take this step before he publicly accused the victims of Father Fernando Karadima of slander. We will never know how many survivors will continue to suffer alone and in silence because the pope’s harsh words about “proof” discouraged them from speaking up. There is rarely any evidence, other than the testimony of the victims, for crimes which are committed in secret.
It is certainly progress for the Vatican to undertake its first full-blown investigation of an alleged cover up of child sexual abuse by a high ranking Church official. However, we can only hope that Archbishop Scicluna will provide a just resolution to the allegations against Bishop Barros.
Internal investigations, where those looking into the allegations are part of the same institution, are not as likely to engender the same degree of confidence as probes by an independent panel. Earlier this month we urged Pope Francis to set up such a group to review the charges against Bishop Barros.
Whether or not the Vatican listens to our suggestion for an independent investigation, we renew our plea for the results of any probe to be made public. Church investigations are normally conducted in complete secrecy. Where faith in a religious institution has been broken and betrayed, as is the case when children are sexually molested by priests, the only hope of restoring some measure of trust is complete transparency.
(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 members. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175, email@example.com), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, firstname.lastname@example.org), or Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.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.