For immediate release: Monday, June 16 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Several victims of pedophile priests in Buenos Aires report that they were ignored or rebuffed by Pope Francis when he headed that archdiocese. We ache for them and their suffering but deeply appreciate their courage in speaking up now. Pope Francis should meet with them, apologize to them and take action to protect others from their perpetrators.
We especially feel compassion and admiration for Julieta Añazco (who was abused by Fr. Ricardo Gimenez who is still a priest in Buenos Aires), Sebastian Cuattromo (who was abused by Fr. Fernando Enrique Picchiochi) and Beatriz Varela (whose son was abused by Fr. Ruben Pardo).
Ariazco never got a reply when she wrote to then-Cardinal Bergoglio. Cuattromo was rebuffed when he sought help from then-Cardinal Bergoglio. And Varela was belittled by Bergoglio’s staff and forcibly removed from Bergoglio's office by security.
Pope Francis should watch these short videos and hear how the dismal response by Catholic officials caused these courageous individuals more suffering.
It's especially tough to report clergy sex crime and cover ups in the developing world, and perhaps most difficult of all in the Pope's home diocese. These individuals should be commended for their courage. They are doing what Francis refuses to do – taking brave and effective action to safeguard children from pedophile priests.
(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 18,000 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)