The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
For Immediate Release
For More Information:
Sex Abuse Group Blasts Top Alaska Catholic Official
Jesuit Order Claims They Didn't Know About Abusive Alaska Priest
They Refuse To Turn Over Molester's Personnel File
SNAP Urges Jesuits, "Stop The PR Spin, Start the Healing!'
A national support group for clergy abuse victims is urging a top Catholic
official to make public personnel files on an abusive priest and "stop
deceptive public relations moves that only rub more salt into the already
deep wounds of abuse victims." They also want the
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), is writing Fr. John D. Whitney, head of the local Jesuit province.
The group also wants Whitney to post the names of all known and suspected molesters on his order's website and require priests to inform all parishes in Alaska about Poole's history.
"You can claim to be concerned about children, or you can take concrete steps to help and protect them," said SNAP's letter. "Thus far, you're choosing spin over sympathy, and public relations over genuine care."
In a recent news release, Whitney admitted that Poole abused a girl and that the Jesuits have settled a case alleging the order cover-up of Poole's abuse. But he refuses to release Poole's personnel records, tried to dismiss a civil molestation lawsuit against the order, and tried to win a gag order silencing one of Poole's victims, Elsie Boudreau of Anchorage.
Two other women have also alleged abuse by Poole and filed civil lawsuits.
SNAP calls Whitney's recent apology to Poole's victim "a public relations move" taken only "after every other hard ball legal maneuver by the Jesuits failed."
"Well crafted apologies don't protect kids anymore than paying
settlements protect kids. If it were not for the courage of Poole's victims
publicly speaking up, no one would have been warned about Poole's history
and his other victims would still be suffering in
The file may not contain damaging information about church cover ups, Clohessy acknowledged.
"Church officials have been known for 'sanitizing' abusive priests'
personnel files. Still, any shred of truth that can be found and aired
is better than none,' he said. "It's time for the Jesuits to come
clean about the depth of the cover up. That's when real healing can take
A copy of SNAP's letter, sent today via e-mail and fax, is below
Fr. John Whitney
April 6, 2005
Fr. John Whitney:
We, the members of SNAP, (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
are compelled to write and implore you to publicly reach out to victims
of Fr. Jim Poole, a priest that you admit is an abuser, and publicly release
his personnel file. In the interest of public safety and healing those
already hurt by Poole, we urge you to stop your deceptive
You can claim to be concerned about children, or you can take concrete steps to help and protect them. Thus far, you're choosing spin over sympathy and public relations over genuine care.
It's no secret that church officials have been paying settlements to victims of abuse for years and yet continue to hide their crimes and shield known and suspected molesters from prosecution. It's also no secret, that like bishops in the U.S., you too refuse to do the one thing that can help heal victims and protect kids: turn over Poole's file to the media and law enforcement and launch an aggressive outreach urging victims of Poole's and other known and suspected abusers to come forward and get help.
As you know, well-crafted apologies don't protect kids anymore than paying settlements protect kids. Sadly, if it were not for the courage of Poole's victims publicly speaking up, no one would have been warned about Poole's history and his other victims would still be suffering in secrecy and shame.
In light of these truths, we urge you to stop paying your high-priced lawyers to keep kids at risk of abuse and stop protecting abusive priests and church leaders who harbor them. Instead, we urge you to turn over Poole's personnel file to the media and law enforcement and:
- Make strong public appeals through the media, including the Catholic radio station Poole founded, KNOM in Nome.
- Put notices in all church bulletins, your order's newspaper, and on your web site about Poole's history and urge witnesses and victims to contact criminal authorities and seek therapy.
- Post the names and history assignments of all known and suspected abusers on your order's website and urge the bishop of Fairbanks to do the same on his diocesan website.
- Personally visit each parish where Poole worked, and make strong personal
appeals to witnesses and victims to come forward and publicly urge every
pastor in Alaska to make these same appeals at every parish. SNAP members
are willing to go to these parishes with you and share their own stories
of how they found the strength and courage to come
The goal is simple: to put dangerous men behind bars to stop the abuse, help ensure that those already wounded can heal and that those still trapped by the abuse, suffering in guilt, shame and isolation, can come forward and get help.
As you have undoubtedly heard the saying before, 'talk is cheap' and 'justice delayed is justice denied.' We urge you to put up action behind your words or stop making meaningless empty PR promises of healing, transparency and protection for children.
We look forward to your response
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests