Survivors Network of those Abused
SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims
For immediate release:
July 20, 2005
For more information:
Tammy Lerner of New Tripoli PA, Central PA SNAP Director 610 509 9568
Isely of Milwaukee WI, SNAP National Board Member 414 429 7259
of St. Louis MO, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790
Sex Abuse Victims to Sit Down With Santorum
Controversial Comments Led To The Meeting
Want Him To Attend A Support Group Meeting
Also Believes Congressional Hearings Would Help
In the wake of
a dispute between two US Senators and their conflicting views of the Catholic
sex abuse crisis, leaders of a clergy molestation victims support group are meeting
tomorrow afternoon with Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) personally and staff members
of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA).
A week ago, in a rare attack on the Senate
floor, Kennedy sharply criticized a column Santorum had wrote for a Catholic on-line
forum in which Santorum claimed Boston's "liberal culture" contributed
to priests molesting youngsters. Santorum has in turn blasted Kennedy's timing
and motives, and has stood by his controversial statements.
plan to invite both men to one of their self-help meetings in the hopes of "letting
them see first hand the devastation caused by abusive clergy and complicit bishops,
and sharing with them our view of the causes of the crisis and effective prevention
steps for the future," according to Tammy Lerner of New Tripoli, in the Allentown
Catholic diocese. Lerner is the Central Pennsylvania Director of SNAP, the Survivors
Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation's largest support group for men
and women victimized by clergy.
She will be joined by Peter Isely of
Milwaukee, a SNAP National Board Member and founding member of the organization.
"Many state lawmakers have initiated legislative reforms because
of this scandal," said Isely. "But virtually nothing's being discussed
at the federal level. So we welcome this opportunity to talk about ways the Congress
might be able to help heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable."
"We're very pleased Mr. Santorum is willing to sit down with us,"
said Lerner. "We may not see eye-to-eye on all the factors that contributed
to so many sex crimes and cover ups. That doesn't mean, however, that we can't
seek common ground when it comes to devising solutions."
plan to hold a news conference between their meetings.
Survivors Network of those
Abused by Priests