SNAP Legal Action

Stay Informed of SNAP's Legal Efforts.

Welcome to the landing page for all things related to the SNAP and CCR lawsuit filed against Vatican officials and Pope Benedict for human rights violations. Below you will find informative documents and links to other important websites.

SNAP and CCR file supplemental evidence on April 11, 2012

  • Read the supplemental filing here

Editorials by SNAP Leadership on the ICC filing:

  • Op-ed by David Clohessy, SNAP Director, in the Star-Tribune: Read it here.
  • Op-ed by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President. in the Guardian: Read it here.

Documents, News, and Fact Sheets:

  1. Press release
  2. Press advisory for DC and NYC
  3. Facts of the case
  4. Complete text of the filing communication to the ICC
  5. Statements by SNAP Leaders
  6. Biographies of SNAP and CCR members involved
  7. List of cities on the Europe tour and times of events
  8. ICC Letter from Prosecution 
  9. "Abuse Victims ask Court to Prosecute the Vatican"- New York Times
  10. "Hague Court Declines Inquiry into Church Abuse Cover-up"- New York Times

Links for more information:

What experts on law and religion are saying:

  • "The legal situation is not yet clear," but that the dossier submitted "re-opens the question over a cover-up in the 1980s and 1990s. The problem remains that the Vatican has not opened its archives and has not even launched an international investigation into its dioceses around the world." - Marco Politi, Vatican Expert and commentator for Il Fatto Quotidiano. Taken from the Montreal Gazette. 
  • "It is a very slim avenue, but it's an avenue nonetheless," - Lorraine Smith, International Bar Association. Taken from Reuters. 
  • "You get a great deal of publicity," "And you put new pressure on the national courts, letting them know that if they don't prosecute there are alternatives." - William Burke White, Deputy Dean and Professer of Law at UPenn. Taken from the Bellingham Herald.
  •  "At least since 2001-2002, [Pope Benedict] has at least had primary responsibility for these cases," "It's unlikely that the court will take this up, but they won't be able to dismiss it easily. They may have to open up a preliminary investigation." - Laurie Goodstein, Religion correspondent for the New York Times. Taken from PRI.
  • "Jurisdiction is a hurdle. "The court has handled war crimes, but the argument can be made that the abuse of children is as tragic and heinous as anything. It's a crime against humanity." - Mike Pfau, Seattle attorney. Taken from the Seattle Times.
  • The complaint to the ICC "suddenly reframes the issue in the public consciousness." - Tim Kosnoff, Seattle attorney. Taken from the Seattle Times.
  • "The ICC filing marks the most substantive effort yet to hold the pope and Vatican accountable in an international court for sexual abuse by priests." - Nathan Koppel, WSJ contributor. Taken from the Wall Street Journal.
  • "The Holy See is a sovereign, which like all other sovereigns, must be accountable for violations of human rights.  SNAP's action under the ICC is timely and appropriate.  If successful, it will secure more protection for children not just against the Holy See, but all sovereigns." - Marci A. Hamilton, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Yeshiva University

Media Statements

IL--Detailed SNAP statement re Cupich's abuse track record

More from SNAP re new Chicago archbishop

For immediate release: Saturday, Sept. 20

Statement by Kate Bochte, SNAP leader, 630-768-1860, keight@sbcglobal.net

Many commentators are stressing that Cupich is perceived as a “moderate” in terms of his theology, philosophy or behavior. It's important to remember, however, that Catholic officials of all stripes have concealed - and often are still concealing – awful crimes against children. “Left wing,” “right wing” and “centrist” bishops deal with clergy sex crimes and cover ups in remarkably similar ways. On this continuing crisis in the church, it's irresponsible to assume that Cupich will be any better than George. Prudent people will remain skeptical and let Cupich hopefully prove, through his deeds (not his words) that he is committed to the safety of children.   

Read more . . .
IL -- Victims Worry about New Head of Chicago Archdiocese

For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 19

Statement by Kate Bochte, SNAP leader, 630-768-1860, keight@sbcglobal.net

Victims worry about new head of Chicago Archdiocese

We hope that Chicago's next Catholic Archbishop will do more to prevent future clergy sex crimes and cover-ups. But we're not optimistic. Pope Francis, like his predecessors, keeps promoting bishops who have concealed or are concealing heinous sexual violence against kids. Cupich is another prelate like this.

Earlier today, the Spokesman Review reported that more than 200 victims have come forward in Spokane.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/wa_hundreds_more_wa_clergy_sex_victims_come_forward_snap_responds

Cupich acted irresponsibly by exploiting bankruptcy law to avoid embarrassing disclosures about the complicity of the Spokane church hierarchy in dreadful crimes against kids.

In a 2010 interview with a Washington newspaper, Cupich made some startling comments about the church’s child sex abuse and cover up crisis. Cupich’s remarks endanger kids, hurt victims and mislead Catholics by mischaracterizing and minimizing the horrific scandal.

In the interview, Cupich makes three stunning and patently ridiculous claims.

1) “Sexual abuse of children is not happening in the church today.”

2) “The scandal is that, 30 years ago, the world of psychology, criminal law and the church didn’t handle the situation well. Society didn’t handle the situation well.”

3) “Various institutions that work with kids that don’t have in place codes of conduct and training that we have in place.”

Let’s look at all three of these claims.

First, on the very day Cupich’s interview appeared, Illinois newspapers were reporting on the new guilty plea by a Chicago area predator priest, Fr. Alejandro Flores. He was ordained in 2009. He molested a boy in 2010. Ancient history? Hardly!

Even worse, the local bishop’s top staff knew this predator had problems even before he was ordained. According to one newspaper: “Prosecutors say Catholic officials had some warning signs about Flores” because he “was caught with gay porn on his computer” and “some of the images appeared to be those of young boys.”

So what did the Illinois bishop do? He warned no parishioners about this incident and went ahead and ordained Flores anyway.
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/news/2686150,Flores-plea-kane_AU090810.article

The day before Cupich’s interview appeared in print, Fr. Joseph Fiala was arrested in Kansas for child sex crimes he allegedly committed in 2007 and 2008.

(And I write this within hours of reading that a California priest has been suspended from active duty because of allegations that he molested two brothers “within the last two years.” http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_abuse14.ee896821.html)

We could go on and on and on.

Every day, a blog called “The Abuse Tracker” posts dozens of news accounts from credible media outlets across the world about current clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. Most, sadly, involve Catholic clerics. (It’s available at BishopAccountability.org)

Catholic officials can try mightily to distance themselves from pedophile priests when those priests are caught and admit guilt. But as long as Catholic officials continue to recruit troubled men to the priesthood and ordain them despite clear warning signs, this horrific, on-going crisis will continue.

Second, Cupich claims, “The scandal is that, 30 years ago, the world of psychology, criminal law and the church didn’t handle the situation well. Society didn’t handle the situation well.”

It’s hard to know where to start with this one. Sure, much of society has improved over the past three decades when it comes to child sexual abuse. But the Catholic church stands apart as the one institution that has attracted, harbored, protected and transferred more child predators - literally thousands of child molesting priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians, brothers and other staff – than any other.

And while there certainly are too many abusive coaches and teachers, it’s nearly impossible to find one who has molested dozens or hundreds of kids because he or she was deliberately moved from place to place by irresponsible supervisors. Why? Because that happens most in the Catholic church, and always has.

(Isn’t it sad to see an alleged spiritual leader implying “Heck, we’re no worse than other groups that caused children to suffer”?)

Cupich disingenuously blames ‘psychology’ for part of the church’s crisis. He conveniently neglects to mention that if he and his colleagues had called the police about clergy child sex crimes (both known and suspected), hundreds of predator priests would be in prisons, not in therapy. He also obscures the fact that pedophile priests were deliberately sent for counseling to Catholic institutions where the top priority wasn’t protecting kids and ‘healing’ predators but keeping secrets.

(With their vast resources, Catholic bishops could have sent their ‘troubled’ priests to the ‘best and brightest’ in the therapeutic community. Instead, however, they chose to protect themselves, their colleagues and their secrets by utilizing instead therapists who would help bishops conceal the crimes and give bishops the ‘recommendations’ to return pedophiles to ministry that bishops so desperately sought.)

Third, Cupich claims that “various institutions that work with kids that don’t have in place codes of conduct and training that we have in place.” We challenge Cupich to stop the McCarthy smear tactics and specifically tell us what other institutions lack the supposed abuse programs that the Catholic church has allegedly adopted (albeit begrudgingly and belatedly). It’s just wrong to cast aspersions on an entire group – agencies and organizations that deal with kids.

And we challenge the ludicrous notion that ‘codes of conduct’ are in any way effective when it comes to child sex crimes. Does Cupich honestly believe that, years ago, even one confused priest told himself, “Gee, I’m not sure sodomizing a child is right or wrong. My bishop doesn’t make me sign a ‘code of conduct’ forbidding child sodomy, so I guess I’ll go ahead and assault a little girl or boy today.”

These “codes of conduct” are like much of the bishops’ response to this heinous scandal – it’s a smart PR move that makes people feel good and believe reform is happening. But it has no impact whatsoever in the real world.

It’s also worth considering what Cupich doesn’t say. He never once acknowledges that the church’s rigid, all-male, secretive culture plays any role in this crisis. He never once admits that bishops ignore and conceal child sex crimes because they can (since in this monarchical structure, they answer to virtually no one).

It’s misleading to talk about the crisis without mentioning its primary cause – the recklessness, callousness and deceit of bishops who repeatedly, knowingly and secretly transferred child molesting clerics to unsuspecting parishioners, and who shun victims, deceive reporters, stonewall police, intimidate witnesses, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, and discredit whistleblowers.

Finally, Cupich stresses the church’s “need to rebuild trust.” We respectfully disagree. The church needs to stop finger-pointing, excuse-making, and blame-shifting. The church needs to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. When that happens, trust will be restored.

We do agree with Cupich in one respect. He says that the church hierarchy is “more than the sins of our past.” Indeed, the church hierarchy is also, sadly, the sins of its present.

We wish Cardinal Francis George well as he battles his cancer. We hope he has a long retirement. He did much good as the head of the archdiocese. But he acted selflishly and secretively and irresponsibly in case after case after case involving child molesting priests, nuns, seminarians and other church employees. We don't expect much better of Cupich.

We hope that Chicago Catholics and citizens resist the temptation to “sugar-coat” George's dreadful track record on children's safety and the temptation to assume that his successor will somehow be better on this continuing scandal.

Complacency protects no one. Only vigilance protects kids.

(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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)

 

Mexico- Runaway priest sued for abuse, victims respond

For immediate release: Friday, September 19, 2014

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director, (jcasteix@gmail.com, 949.322.7434 cell)

It is shocking and upsetting to learn that credibly accused child predator Roberto Peguero Hernandez is still living and working as a priest in Mexico. Not only has he been named as an abuser by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, but he was allowed to escape the country when police in Santa Paula learned about the allegations.

Read more . . .
CT- Archbishop Blair's terrible record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups

1) Blair spent countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars to deny victims of child sexual abuse the ability to expose child molesters in court.

 As a result, hundreds of child predators remain “under the radar” and walking freely in Ohio.

Read more . . .
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@anon_pinko tweeted link to this page. 2012-09-20 19:57:28 -0500
@snapnetwork and @theccr filed lawsuit alleging human rights violations by the Vatican http://t.co/Nbe7Aywd
@TechBrigade tweeted link to this page. 2012-05-31 04:33:48 -0500
SNAP Legal Action - SNAP http://t.co/NFmxGmyD
followed this page 2012-01-11 18:35:12 -0600
@shyodha tweeted link to this page. 2011-12-23 20:52:16 -0600
Have you heard of SNAP? "Secular" Indian media would most likely never told you about this - http://t.co/9c5d3haP
@iSaakshi tweeted link to this page. 2011-12-23 11:48:12 -0600
Have you heard of SNAP? "Secular" Indian media would most likely never told you about this - http://t.co/9c5d3haP
@ tweeted link to this page. 2011-12-23 11:38:49 -0600
Have you heard of SNAP? "Secular" Indian media would most likely never told you about this - http://t.co/9c5d3haP
@NishkaK tweeted link to this page. 2011-12-23 11:36:53 -0600
Have you heard of SNAP? "Secular" Indian media would most likely never told you about this - http://t.co/9c5d3haP
@KiranKS tweeted link to this page. 2011-12-23 11:29:56 -0600
Have you heard of SNAP? "Secular" Indian media would most likely never told you about this - http://t.co/9c5d3haP
@lorettamerritt retweeted @SNAPNetwork 2011-09-13 08:42:25 -0500
SNAP & @theccr file suit in International Criminal Court against Pope Benedict & Vatican for human rights violations - http://t.co/D8klOal
@SNAPNetwork tweeted link to this page. 2011-09-13 05:55:31 -0500
@theccr and @snapnetwork file suit in ICC against @popebenedictxiv & Vatican for #humanrights violations - http://t.co/IYLBpGi
@BGB85 tweeted link to this page. 2011-09-13 05:54:37 -0500
@theccr and @snapnetwork file suit in ICC against @popebenedictxiv & Vatican for #humanrights violations - http://t.co/IYLBpGi
@theCCR tweeted link to this page. 2011-09-13 05:53:38 -0500
@theccr and @snapnetwork file suit in ICC against @popebenedictxiv & Vatican for #humanrights violations - http://t.co/IYLBpGi
@ retweeted @SNAPNetwork 2011-09-13 05:45:52 -0500
SNAP & @theccr file suit in International Criminal Court against Pope Benedict & Vatican for human rights violations - http://t.co/D8klOal
@KlinikaDialogu retweeted @SNAPNetwork 2011-09-13 05:36:02 -0500
SNAP & @theccr file suit in International Criminal Court against Pope Benedict & Vatican for human rights violations - http://t.co/D8klOal
@DavidClohessy retweeted @SNAPNetwork 2011-09-13 05:32:47 -0500
SNAP & @theccr file suit in International Criminal Court against Pope Benedict & Vatican for human rights violations - http://t.co/D8klOal
published this page in Take Action 2011-09-12 18:09:59 -0500
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