Survivors Network of
those Abused by Priests
to Kansas Bishop Boland
August 5, 2004
Dear Bishop Boland:
As Bishop of Kansas City, you have repeatedly promised to help survivors
of sexual abuse by clergy. As a member of the United States Council
of Catholic Bishops you have promised "openness and transparency"
in your dealings with this issue. As a priest, you have promised
to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church and Jesus Christ.
We commend you for these promises.
Our concern is that you have not only failed to fulfill these promises,
but have done precisely the opposite. In recent weeks, you have
allowed and directed your diocesan lawyers to file dozens and dozens
of motions to delay or prevent justice, closure or healing for the
victims of these heinous crimes. These motions also prevent the
truth about abusive clerics and complicit church officials from
emerging. Some of these costly and lengthy motions border on the
ridiculous. (Your lawyers have, as you must know, lost virtually
every one of these motions to date.)
Frankly, we know of no other diocese in America that has mounted
such a vigorous and mean-spirited response to victims seeking justice,
nor received such a consistent rebuke from judges.
We understand that you feel an obligation to protect the diocese's
assets. But these motions will not accomplish that. They will harm
already wounded victims. They will continue to shroud the truth.
They will cost your diocese hundreds of thousands of dollars. They
will foster cynicism among the public.
Perhaps most disturbing, they will show the stark and disappointing
contradiction between your words and your deeds. You offer pleasant,
well-crafted public relations promises in public. Yet you sanction
extreme, punitive legal strategies in court. In the long run, this
uncharitable approach will inevitably and sadly further erode the
faith that devout Catholics have in your leadership. Because of
your choices, the church in Kansas City will be the ultimate loser
in this struggle.
When a victim finds the strength to come forward and report horrific
sex crimes, they deserve gratitude, not hostility. They deserve
to feel supported, not scorned. This is largely how we are greeted
by the public and parishioners. It's tragic that your response is
so different and disappointing.
Keep in mind, Bishop, that each of us has endured repeated sexual
assaults by trusted religious authority figures. Through strength
and persistence, we have coped with and largely overcome such crimes.
We have become very resilient and determined. Having made it this
far, nothing you or your lawyers do will deter us in our drive for
healing, justice, and prevention.
National Director, SNAP
St. Louis MO
314 566 9790 cell
Founder & President, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
312 399 4747 cell
Kansas City SNAP Director
6604 West 91st, #233
Overland Park, KS 66212
913 634 8427 cell
of those Abused by Priests