Press Releases



Press Release


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Releases
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Thursday Feb. 6, 2003

For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Mark Serrano of Leesburg VA, Board Member (703) 771-9606, 703 727 4940 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, President (312) 399-4747 cell

Sex Abuse Victims Start 35 New Support Groups

SNAP Tops 4,500 Members In 44 Active Chapters

The nation's largest support group for clergy molestation victims grew "like wild fire" last year and now has 44 active monthly support groups meeting across the country.

The Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) started 2002 with less than 3,000 members and 9 active local chapters. The organization now has more than 4,500 members in virtually every state, and monthly support group meetings in 44 cities.

Last year, new SNAP support groups formed in 35 cities, including Seattle, Denver, Tampa, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Sacramento, San Diego, Houston, and Portland, OR.

Chapters currently being organized include Orlando, Detroit, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Buffalo, Dallas and Sitka, Alaska.

SNAP began 2002 with groups that met sporadically became re-invigorated and started to meet more regularly. They include Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and New York City.

"Our self-help groups provide a safe, confidential and independent place for hurting men and women to recover from this traumatic childhood pain," said Terrie Light, a San Francisco social worker and one of SNAP's founding members. "Through our support groups, individual survivors learn they are no longer alone. They learn coping and recovery strategies and become empowered to break their silence, report their abuse to the proper authorities, and protect others at risk."

Roughly 98% of its members are survivors, 2% are family members. More than 90% were victimized by Catholic clergy (brothers, bishops, nuns, priests, and seminarians), the rest by Protestant clergy.

The overwhelming majority of victims who contact SNAP hear about the group first through the news media. Others learn about SNAP through the web site or their therapist.

Survivors needing to someone fluent in Spanish can call Rita Milla, 310 834 7033,, Carlos Perez-Carillo, 818-269-1221,
or Sonia Rubino at

New SNAP support groups formed in 2002 include:
Arizona (Phoenix) - Paul Pfaffenberger, 480-600-7811,
California (Glendale) - Steven Sanchez, 818-262-6540,
California (Long Beach) - Mary Ferrell, , 626-835-9066,
California (Sacramento) - Mike Beam, 916-709-1148,
California (San Diego) - Mark Brooks, 800-233-3182 ext. 117,
California (Ventura County) - Manny Vega, 805-207-9027,
California (San Jose) - Ray Peltier, 408-205-8876,
California (Santa Rosa) - Don Hoard, 707-763-9366,
Colorado (Denver) - Connie Ross, 303-988-4500,
Colorado (Boulder)- Marnie Williams, 303-550-9062,
Delaware - Gabi Lindtner, 302-377-6985, 302-832-2994, Joan Dougherty,
District of Columbia - Bridget Lyons, 301-879-7317,
Florida (Tampa-St. Pete) - Melissa Price, 727-844-9960,
Florida (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale) - Judy Rakestraw, 305-926-5858,
Kansas (Wichita) - Janet Patterson, 620 456 2330,
Louisiana (New Orleans) - Lyn Hayward, 985-630-6638,
Maryland (Baltimore) - Martin Menton, 410-707-1954,
Massachusetts (Norwood) - John Harris, 781-551-8048,, Robert Costello, 617-306-4785,
Massachusetts (Natick) - Ann Hagan Webb, 781-239-1182,
Massachusetts (Worcester) - Bryan Smith, 978-928-4721,
Massachusetts (Fitchburg) - Bryan Smith, 978-928-4721,
Michigan (Grand Rapids and Detroit) - Steven Kelly, 616-868-0324,
Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul) - Mike Wegs 612-823-4576, and Belinda Martinez, 651-773-0607,
New York (Utica) - Joyce Nebush, 315-896-2481,
New York (Syracuse) - Joyce Nebush, 315-896-2481,
New Jersey (Mendham) - Pat Serrano, 973-543-4249,
New Jersey (Cherry Hill) - Barbara Polesir, 856-424-4827,
North Carolina (Raleigh) - Marigrace Labella, 919-418-2869,
Ohio (Toledo) - Claudia Vercellotti, 419-382-7373,
Oregon (Portland) - Bill Crane, 503-698-4584,
Pennsylvania (Allentown) - Juliann Bortz, 610-432-2895,
Texas (Houston) - Miguel Prats, 713-554-5732,,
Washington (Seattle) - Tom Keenan, 425-776-0602,
Washington (Spokane) - Molly Harding, 509-991-8834, 509-466-1877,
Wisconsin (Racine) - Jon Gillespie, 847-710-9989,

More well-established SNAP groups have added new spokespeople who include:
California (San Francisco) - Paul Hessinger, 510-727-1872,
California (Orange County and Los Angeles) - Lee Bashforth, 949-735-8347,
Illinois (Chicago) - Don Robinson, 847-356-7703,
Massachusetts (Boston) - Ann Hagan Webb 781-239-1182,
Missouri (Kansas City) - Mike Hunter, 913-648-3365,
Missouri (St. Louis) - Steve Pona, 314-369-8687,
New York (NYC) - David Cerulli, 917-757-1791,
Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) - John Salveson, 610-525-2678,
Wisconsin (Milwaukee) - Mark Salmon, 414-774-4350,

Chapters being organized currently include:
Alaska (Sitka) - James Weis, 907-747-4862,
Florida (St. Augustine) - Jeannie Moore, 904-461-9058,
Florida (Orlando) - Richard Heinkel, 407-228-4038,
Massachusetts (Springfield) - Mark Furnish, 518-366-5842,
Michigan (Detroit) - Claudia Vercellotti, 419-382-7373, and Steven Kelly, 616-868-0324,
Mississippi (Hattiesburg) - Mark Belenchia, 601-818-3003,
Nevada (Las Vegas) - Debbie Tullgren, 702-568-6337,
New Jersey (Pennsauken) - Victoria Cubberley,
New York (Albany, Buffalo, Rochester) - Joyce Nebush, 315-896-2481,
Ohio (Cleveland) - Bennie Pacheco, 440-935-7029,
Texas (Dallas) - Kris Galland, 817-329-0599,
Wisconsin (Green Bay) - Larry Pierquet, 920-897-4918,
Wisconsin (Madison) - Patti Merchant, 414-224-0880,

In other states, SNAP has named coordinators or spokespersons. In most of these, no local SNAP groups currently meet, but may be organized in the future. They include:
Arizona (Tucson) - Anne Keshishian, 520-229-9315,
California (San Bernardino) - Jim Falls, 949-291-5795,
Idaho (Idaho Falls) - Tim McKenna, 208-524-4087,
Indiana (South Bend) - Lois Myers, 574-289-8579,
Iowa (Des Moines) - John Chambers, 515-993-6820,
Kentucky (Louisville) - Gerald Payne, 888-888-8876,
Maine (Portland) - Cyndi DesRosiers, 207-622-4075,
Michigan (Flint) - Colleen Ptak, 810-733-3579,
Mississippi (Canton) - Susan Cannon, 601-856-5044,
Missouri (Springfield-Branson) - Phil Pisciotta, 417-546-5861,
New Jersey (Camden) - Peter Pfister, 863-666-2159,
New York (Albany) - Mark Furnish, 518-366-5842,
North Carolina - Neil Evans, 828-299-3972,
Ohio (Cincinnati) - Dr. Michael Hancock, 513-309-8038,
Rhode Island (Providence) - Phyllis Hutnak, 401-368-1680,
Virginia (Norfolk) - Annette Dickerson, 757-963-8937,


Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests