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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

For More Information:
David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home)
Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)

Clergy sex abuse victims seek ‘equal time’ with archbishop

They’re upset that top Catholic official gets “unchallenged PR chance” tonight

Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland will give rare talk at prestigious downtown club

His topic is “One Year After Bankruptcy;” but he’ll face no tough questions, SNAP predicts

Group challenges him to debate “any time, any where” about on-going cover ups of crimes

Clergy sex abuse victims are asking a prestigious private club to give them a chance to speak before their members next month, in the wake of Portland Archbishop John Vlazny’s presentation tonight to the club.

At 5 p.m. (Tuesday, April 1), Vlazny will talk to the Arlington Club, 811 SW Salmon St, (near Yamhill St Sw & 10th Ave Sw, 503-223-4141, http://www.thearlingtonclub.com/default.htm) (SNAP statement including invitation)

The invitation talks of Vlazny’s “excellent leadership skills” and the “clergy sex abuse problem not of his making.”

“Instead of cherry-picking a few small, cautiously-selected and highly-favorable audiences, where he knows he won’t face tough questions, Vlazny should debate us in an open public forum where Catholics can confront him about his continued secrecy,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

“The timing is ironic,” said Bill Crane of Portland, SNAP’s Oregon director. “Vlazny’s carefully orchestrated event tonight comes on the very day negotiations are being launched again to try to expose the archdiocese’s deeply held secret records about child sex crimes and cover ups, records that Vlazny was supposed to make public months ago but is still concealing.”

In a 2004 internal self survey of bishops, Vlazny claimed publicly that there were only 37 abusive priests in the archdiocese. However, during bankruptcy, church files indicated the actual number was 97 abusive priests.

“Vlazny never has and likely never will have to publicly account for this disparity, because he continues to hide behind his PR team and defense lawyers, and won’t ever let anyone question him in a public forum,” said Crane. “His behavior is fitting for a cold-hearted CEO or an arrogant monarch, not an alleged spiritual leader.”

“The archbishop talks a great game,” Crane continued. “A teacher would give him straight As in public relations, secrecy, and spin. But he’d get Fs in compassion, openness, and child protection.”

SNAP leaders said they’d gladly help organize and lead “any open public forum or debate” with Vlazny on his “on-going mismanagement of this horrific crisis.”

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


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