Survivors Network of
those Abused by Priests
Giving Voice to Victims
|For immediate release:
Monday, June 2, 2008
For More Information:
Judy Jones, SNAP Director Southeastern Ohio, 636-433-2511
Clergy sex abuse victims want to speak in parishes
Group writes every southeastern Ohio priest seeking invitations
They also ask Steubenville bishop to help them reach out to others
Clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters are asking some 60 southeastern Ohio Catholic priests and Steubenville’s Catholc bishop to let them speak to parishioners in churches.
The request comes from leaders and members of a Chicago-based national support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. SNAP’s goal is to ”heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.”
“One in four girls and one in five boys will be sexually abused. We just want to help parishioners be better able to detect abuse and respond appropriately when it happens, no matter who the predator happens to be,” said Judy Jones, SNAP’s Southeastern Ohio director. “We simply want to educate parishioners about this horrific, on-going crisis inside and outside the church - and help them better understand how to help those who have already been wounded and how to safeguard those who are at risk of being wounded.”
Clergy sex abuse victims in Spokane, Washington and Davenport, Iowa have won the opportunity to address Catholic parishioners as part of a settlement involving dozens of victims who have sued church employees for child sex abuse and church authorities for concealing those crimes.
“But it should not take lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits to persuade church officials to listen to victims, and to let their members listen to victims,” Jones said.
The letter, signed by 25 individuals, is being sent today by e mail, is below:
Dear Bishop R. Daniel Conlon and All Steubenville Diocese Priests:
We are supporters, family members and survivors of sex abuse by clergy within the Steubenville Diocese.
We are writing this letter to you, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, asking you to invite survivors and their family members to speak at your parishes.
We are also writing this letter to every priest who works in the Steubenville diocese, asking all of you to do the same. We hope someone will respond with an acceptance of this offer and invite us to speak to your parishioners.
There are benefits to survivors in this request. Speaking and telling our stories is extremely healing for survivors of sexual abuse and for their family members. Some of the worst harm for victims has been the secrets, rejection, and the attitude that this should not be talked about.
By speaking and telling our stories of abuse and how it has affected our lives, you and your parishioners will be more able to accept and understand who we are, what we are about, and how to handle victims of sexual abuse and those family and friends affected by their abuse.
In an address to Irish bishops, Pope Benedict said "The wounds caused by such acts run deep, and it is an urgent task to rebuild confidence and trust where these have been damaged. In your continuing efforts to deal effectively with this problem, it is important to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected and, above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes." We urge you to listen to Pope Benedict and take action towards healing these wounds.
We also believe we can help. We have been successful in stopping this horrible crime which is so harmful to so many innocent kids and vulnerable adults. We can show you how to protect our children of today. We can tell you how to be alert to the manipulating behaviors of predators and we can let you know about the grooming process that most all sexual predators use to get through the natural defenses of their victims. We have a good idea about how to protect kids, after all we were kids who were victims of these predators.
Bishop Conlon and Priests of the Steubenville diocese, you have been silent and unresponsive to our previous requests. We are asking you again to be acknowledged, and we are asking all of you to please support us, and please let us speak to your parishes. This will be the most healing form of outreach you can make to close the gap between us.
Please, we ask that you respond.
Judy Jones, SNAP Director Southeastern Ohio ( Relative of many Steubenville Diocese Survivors) 636-433-2511
Helen Schoeppner, SNAP Director Steubenville 740-568-8213
Teresa Ball, Steubenville Diocese Survivor
Daniel Frondorf, Cincinnati, OH, (Survivor of Sex Abuse committed by Lawrence Strittmatter, Archdiocese of Cincinnati)
Karen Jones, St Louis, Niece of Steubenville Diocese Survivor, 314-621-4744
Tom Byrne, VOTF Northeast Ohio
William Litzler, Cleveland Ohio SNAP Supporter 440-333-5809
Marigold Marsh, Cambridge, Supporter of Steubenville Survivors
Dr. Steven D. Spaner, Supporter of Steubenville Diocese's Survivors, 314-994-3534
Karen Nagy, Steubenville, Supporter of Steubenville Diocese Survivors
Christy Miller, SNAP Co-Director Cincinnati, 513-383-2198 (Survivor of child sex abuse by Thomas Brunner, Archdiocese of Cincinnati)
Konrad Kircher, Supporter of Steubenville Diocese Survivors
Claudia Yvonne Vercellotti, SNAP Co-Director, Toledo Ohio
John Wirtz, Youngstown, Supporter of Steubenville Survivors
Pat and Lou Serrano, New Jersey, Outreach to Parents of Victims
Lois M. Lutes, Indiana, sister of Survivor
Betty Glynn, Phoenix, AZ (relative of many Steubenville Survivors)
Beth Ann Rocker, Israel, Steubenville Diocese Survivor
Michael J. Gorman, husband of Steubenville Diocese Survivor
Jim Schoeppner, Sr., Marietta, Related to Steubenville Diocese Survivor
Stanley & Bea Nilsson, Relative of Steubenville Survivors, 4629 Cosmos Hill Rd.
Cortland, New York 13045
Carol Zamonski, Columbus, Steubenville Diocese Survivor
Barb Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-862-7688
of those Abused by Priests