Sex Abuse Victims Excluded From Nationally Televised Program
For immediate release:
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004
SNAP Asks Catholic University, EWTN To Put Victim On Tomorrow's Panel
Leaders of a nation-wide support group for clergy abuse victims are asking for "just one seat at the table" in a nationally televised discussion tomorrow night about the Catholic sex abuse scandal.
Officials with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, sent letters today to Catholic University of America and the Eternal Work Television Network (EWTN) urging that a panel of ten speakers be expanded to include at least one clergy molestation victim.
"It's a simple matter of fairness and balance," said Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP's founder and president. "Viewers deserve a range of perspectives."
SNAP learned of the event on Monday, and on Tuesday, Blaine asked officials at CUA (Katie Lee 202 319 5600) and EWTN (Raymond Arroyo 205 271 2900) for a spot on the show but received no commitments.
"If the two organizations won't let even one survivor speak, we hope that a bishop on the panel would, out of justice and Christian charity, voluntarily step aside so greater balance can be achieved," said Blaine.
The panel includes two archbishops (Tim Dolan of Milwaukee and Raymond Burke of St. Louis), one bishop (John D'Arcy of Ft. Wayne), two Catholic writers (George Weigel and Kate O'Beirne) one priest (Fr. Richard John Neuhaus), and four National Lay Review Board members (Robert Bennett, Anne Burke, William Burleigh and Paul McHugh).
According to a CUA news release "The 90-minute live show will include discussions with the invited experts and questions from a studio audience as well as from a worldwide viewing audience."
Raymond Arroyo, EWTN's news director, will moderate the program, which is billed as a "Town Hall Meeting on the National Review Board's Report on Clerical Sexual Abuse." It is set for 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27 at Caldwell Hall Auditorium at the Catholic University of America.
For copies of SNAP's letters to EWTN and CUA officials, see the group's web site: SNAPnetwork.org
SNAP, a nation-wide support group, was founded in 1988 in Chicago. It now has more than 4,600 members in virtually every state, and monthly support group meetings in 54 cities.
For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis MO, National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago IL, President (312) 399-4747 cell
Mark Serrano of Leesburg VA, Board Member (703) 771 9606, (703) 727 4940 cell
Peter Isely of Milwaukee WI, Board Member (414) 963 8617, (414) 429 7259 cell
Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, Board Member (626) 419 2930
David Cerulli of New York NY, Board Member (917) 757 1791 cell
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.
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.