The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
to Bishop Franklin
Oct. 17, 2003
Most Reverend William E. Franklin
Dear Bishop Franklin:
We, the Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests (SNAP) are deeply troubled by recent legal maneuvers by your diocese to shroud abuse allegations against priests in secrecy and to seek permission to destroy files that may contain crucial information about dangerous clerics.
We understand that there is to be a hearing on these motions on Monday. We sincerely hope you will re-examine these hurtful approaches and withdraw those legal challenges.
As you know, abuse thrives in secrecy. And as you know, abuse victims heal only when they unburden themselves of shameful secrets. That is one reason why some who have been wounded (a minority) take legal action. (The other key reason: to protect vulnerable youngsters.)
Therefore, we are distraught that you are asking the court to:
- permit you to destroy files that may contain information about crimes, and
- prevent public discussion of a matter relating to children's safety: sexual abuse of youngsters by priests.
We urge you, Bishop Franklin, to avoid the costly and tragic mistakes so many of your colleagues have made: fighting on every conceivable technicality, trying to silence victims and their advocates, hiding the truth, protecting diocesan assets rather than protecting kids.
In the interest of protecting children, and to prevent further rubbing salt into the already deep wounds of those who have been molested, we believe you should withdraw these hardball legal challenges.
It sends a terrible message to sexual abuse survivors, and Catholics across the Davenport Diocese, that a Catholic bishop is more concerned with legal maneuvering and blocking the disclosure of harmful secrets, instead of working with survivors to provide prevention, justice and healing. Surely, this is not the message you intend to send.
Please stand up and do the right thing - please drop these attacks and focus on healing past abuse and preventing future abuse.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests