Sex Abuse Victims Hold Support Group Meetings in Dozens of Cities
For immediate release:
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004
For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis MO, National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Mark Serrano of Leesburg VA, Board Member (703) 771 9606, (703) 727 4940 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago IL, President (312) 399 4747 cell
Peter Isely of Milwaukee WI, Board Member (414) 963 8617, (414) 429 7259
Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, Board Member (626) 419 2930
On the eve of a new self-survey from America's Catholic bishops on sexual abuse, the nation's largest self-help group for clergy molestation victims today announced that it will hold support group meetings in dozens of cities tomorrow night. Selected news media will be invited to attend part of the sessions.
At the same time, the group will also an online support group chatroom for survivors who do not have a local support group in their area. The chatroom will be operated out of Raleigh, N.C.
The organization, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), has 55 chapters across the country, that meet monthly or bi-weekly to give victims and their families a safe place to cope with their pain and move beyond it.
"So much focus is being put on these days," said Barbara Blaine of Chicago IL, President and Founder of the group. "We felt that opening up our support groups would be a good way to remind people that this crisis is about thousands of individual shattered lives, not estimates and figures and dollars."
Meetings will be held in the following cities: Anchorage, Tucson, San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Boulder, Tampa, Chicago, Wichita, New Orleans, St. Louis, Kansas City, Central New Jersey, Mendham, New York City, Cleveland, Portland, Philadelphia and Spokane. In a few locations, where SNAP chapters do not yet exist, individual abuse victims may hold silent vigils as an expression of support for fellow victims elsewhere across the country. Candlelight vigils will be held in Connecticut and Canada.SNAP also plans to hold a news conference in Washington DC on Friday when the John Jay survey is released. It will be held at the National Press Club at 9:15 a.m. (Eastern) Leaders of the group will also be available after both the National Lay Review Board's news conference at 10:00 a.m., and the bishops' news conference at noon.
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.