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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For immediate release:
Thursday, May 18, 2008

Clergy sex abuse victims to buy ads in Maine newspapers

They will also write to over 100 Maine priests and parish council presidents

Bishop Richard Malone won’t help them find and assist “others in pain”

So group will pay for notices in Maine's five largest secular newspapers

SNAP challenges Maine priests: "Since Bishop Malone won't help, will you be true shepherds & help us find the wounded"

Move comes in the wake of Pope's advice to do "everything possible" to heal victims

WHAT
A small group of clergy sex abuse victims will hold a news conference and;
-- hand deliver a letter to Bishop Richard Malone inside the Roman Catholic Chancery in Portland;
-- send letters to every Maine Catholic priest and parish council president asking for victim outreach notices in parish bulletins;
-- show copies of an ad, begging victims to come forward, that they will purchase in this week’s Maine Sunday Telegram; -- announce their plans to buy more such ads, and;
-- criticize Maine's bishop for ignoring their request to purchase the same ad in Harvest, the bi-monthly news magazine of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland (Bishop Richard J. Malone, Publisher).

WHEN
Thursday, May 8, 2008, 11:30 a.m.

WHERE
Outside main entrance to Portland diocese’s chancery office (adjacent to parking area):
510 Ocean Avenue
Portland, ME 04103

WHO
A man who was molested by a Catholic seminarian/elementary school teacher and a mom whose close family member was molested by a priest. Both are leaders in a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

WHY
Inspired by the Pope’s recent visit, SNAP leaders wrote to Bishop Richard Malone two weeks ago, asking to “work together to help victims of abuse” by letting SNAP buy ads in a church publication; begging victims to come forward and begin to recover from their trauma. One year ago, Malone rejected a similar plea from SNAP, but has not even acknowledged the group’s most recent request.

In response, SNAP has purchased an ad in Maine’s largest Sunday newspaper and plans to buy at least four other newspaper ads soon (Augusta, Bangor, Lewiston, Waterville). The group is also writing to each individual Maine priest and parish council president, urging them to let SNAP purchase the same notice in their parish bulletins.

Bishop Malone will claim that he’s already done “outreach,” by stating that, in the past, he has urged sexual abuse victims to contact the diocese.

“We know that many abuse victims are reluctant to contact church officials,” says Harvey Paul, Maine SNAP Director, “and feel safer calling a confidential, self-help group of others who have experienced the same pain and suffering. It’s all about one abuse survivor helping another abuse survivor. It works. It's how I was first helped.”

During his visit to the US last month, the Pope repeatedly addressed the church’s on-going crisis, admitting that the situation had often been “badly handled,” reminding bishops of their duty to “bind up the wounds” caused by child sex crimes and cover ups, and urging all Catholics to “do everything possible” to bring healing to victim

SNAP's letter to priests and parish council presidents will ask for donations to help fund more outreach ads.

CONTACT:
Harvey Paul, Maine Director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (207-232-9382) cell
David Clohessy, National Director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790) cell
Michael Sweatt, Voice of the Faithful National Survivors Support Working Group (207- 831-3791) cell

www.snapnetwork.org

______________________________________________________________________

Letter to be hand delivered to Bishop Richard Malone

May 8, 2008

Most Reverend Richard J. Malone
Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
Portland, Maine

Dear Bishop Malone,

Two weeks ago, I wrote to you with a simple request to helpvictims of abuse. Sadly, you have not responded.

As I mentioned to you in my previous letter, it is evident, that by his words and actions, Pope Benedict has given permission for all Catholics to help care for those who were abused.

In light of the pope’s message, I am asking you once again to make a small gesture by rescinding your decision last year not to publish our group’s paid advertisement in Harvest, the diocesan bi-monthly news magazine. You told us our ad would not be published because SNAP has “been critical” of you.

Let’s work together to help victims of abuse who are still sick and hurting, still stuck in their fear, guilt and shame. Such feelings can be toxic to an abuse victim. We can help by sharing our experience, strength and hope.

I have enclosed a copy of our proposed ad. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Harvey Paul
Maine Director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
207 232 9382

cc: Sue Bernard, Director of Communications sbernard@portlanddiocese.net

______________________________________________________________________

Copy of Advertisement

Abused by clergy? There is help!

We are a confidential, self-help group of men and women who have been victimized by priests, nuns, brothers, bishops, and church workers (of all denominations).

We are working to recover from this trauma.

We provide a safe and sympathetic place for victims to heal.

Please know that you are not alone. The abuse was not your fault.

And please know that suffering in secrecy, silence and shame will not help you or others.

We stand ready to support you.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) www.snapnetwork.org

SNAP Confidential 24 hour help line: 877-762-7432

Or Call

Maine Statewide Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-871-7741 TTY 888-458-5599


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