I feel so inspired and motivated after this weekend, thanks to the powerful events that we held today! SNAP leaders, supporters, and family members of a brave survivor all came together to organize demonstrations in both Chicago and Long Beach, CA to protect children from a child molesting Buddhist monk. In case you haven’t heard the story – broken because a brave survivor spoke up – Camnong Boa-Ubol, a monk who previously worked at a Buddhist temple in Chicago, had been accused of raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl, and DNA test results have shown that he is the father of that child. When his temple was informed of his crime, Boa-Ubol was supposedly sent back to Thailand, but he has recently resurfaced in another temple in Long Beach, and temple officials say there is nothing they can do to control where he goes or what he does. This is incredibly distressing, especially since he has recently been accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl at his new temple!
SNAP was contacted by the courageous family of the Chicago victim who wanted to make sure that other kids were kept safe from this predator, so together we worked to organize these incredibly successful events. In Chicago, over two dozen friends, family, and SNAP members showed up to pass out fliers in front of the Wat Dhammaram temple and inform temple members and neighbors in the area of the situation. When neighbors learned about this, some even came out later to stand in solidarity with us! I was also incredibly impressed by the young people who gave up their Sunday morning to do what they could to help protect younger children in the neighborhood. They were brave to show up and even moreso to speak out. It was an honor to stand amongst these people, many of whom had never contacted SNAP before and on this day became fighters for justice and safety for children. Seeing their dedication was a boost!
This follow-up article by Megan has a great summary of the events that we held (and a great picture, too!)
I was really happy until I came home and read this story by John Breslin and John Lee about how the Vatican was able to pay a settlement to victims of abuse thanks to a loan from the Allied Irish Bank, now being called the “Vatican’s Banking Arm.” It’s interesting that this bank was able to loan so much money to the church during a time when the country of Ireland was going through its own financial crisis. The people of Ireland have suffered so much. It must weigh heavy on them to learn how one of their banks assisted in keeping the dirty secrets of church officials hidden in Los Angeles and San Diego. While this story only recently broke in the news, it was originally detailed by acclaimed author and friend of SNAP, Jason Berry in his new book Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church. At face value, it would seem like this loan would be a good thing because it means that the Vatican was able to pay its debt (well, financially at least) to the victims of abuse in the Los Angeles and San Diego dioceses, but in reality it is frustrating because the settlement allowed the church to keep its documents sealed that would have shown the true extent of the cover-ups and other crimes committed by the churches in those dioceses.
As a sidenote, the article linked above has a short but nice piece about our SNAP leader Esther Miller at the bottom, which was really great to read!