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SNAP
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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For Immediate Release:
June 8, 2007

For More Information:
Contact: Patricia Serrano, cell (201) 715-6510
Mark Crawford, cell (732) 632-7687
Mark Serrano (abused at St. Joseph’s Parish), cell (703) 727-4940

Clergy Abuse Survivors kicked out of church

Site of memorial to victims was only parish in U.S. to host victims support group

Mendham, NJ– Today the New Jersey chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (www.snapnetwork.org) was informed through a letter from Mendham, New Jersey pastor Monsignor Joseph Anginoli that after five years of hosting a support group for victims of clergy sexual abuse, many of whom were abused at the very same parish, the church is kicking them out for good.

While the letter, a copy of which is found below, stated that the reason for the removal was a lack of space because of new programs being offered at the church, advocates for clergy abuse survivors, including a local parishioner of 42 years, called foul.

Patricia Serrano, the Family Outreach Coordinator for SNAP New Jersey and the founder of a parish-based support group called Healing Our Survivors Together, explained, “Clergy sexual abuse ran rampant through my parish for ten years and silently claimed at least 25 known victims. In 2002, local parishioners welcomed us into their home to begin the healing process. It is sad that Bishop Serratelli and the current St. Joe’s pastor have not joined us on that healing journey and are now turning us away. Many of the survivors we have served in the past five years even sought us out as a step to reunite with the church. There is ample space for us to conduct our monthly support group meetings at St. Joe’s parish and parochial school. Inexplicably, we have been put out in the street and must begin the process of seeking a new home to meet and heal.”

Mark Crawford, the Co-Director of SNAP New Jersey, also commented: “Ironically it is this same parish that was transformed in 2002 from a serial child molester’s hunting ground to a healing center. If Bishop Serratelli truly supported survivors of clergy sexual abuse, this eviction notice would have never been served.”

In 2002 the parish was a central focus for the disclosure of the clergy sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, as numerous victims of the former pastor, Father James T. Hanley, came forward and faced former Bishop Frank Rodimer in a first-ever confrontation between victims and a bishop. The meeting was the subject of news stories throughout the region. In 2004 the same abuse survivors united again to dedicate the “Millstone Memorial."
located on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Parish in Mendham, New Jersey.

 


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
 


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