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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For immediate release:
Thursday July 10, 2008

Clergy sex abuse victims hold national convention in Chicago

A well-known author who said the “passivity of America’s Catholic bishops” fueled the church’s sexual abuse crisis will speak to the nation’s largest support group for victims of clergy sexual predators this weekend in Chicago.

Eugene Kennedy, a professor emeritus of psychology at Loyola University Chicago, will address more than 200 members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 2233 S. Martin L. King Drive, Chicago.

“They did not get where they are by displaying initiative,” Kennedy said of the bishops in a 2002 column about the clergy sexual abuse crisis published in the National Catholic Reporter (see

“Indeed, their ascendancy in the church has always depended not on their telling what they are doing but in their doing what they are told,” Kennedy wrote.

Other speakers include former prosecutor Wendy Murphy, legal scholar and author Marci Hamilton, journalist and author Jason Berry, victims’ advocate and priest Thomas Doyle, and former Benedictine monk and author Patrick Wall, a legal consultant on clergy sexual abuse cases.

“Our theme for this event and our two main goals are healing and prevention,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s national outreach director. “Nothing can restore our traumatized childhoods and shattered trust and stolen faith. But many of us find it very healing to protect kids now from clergy sexual abuse.”

SNAP was founded in Chicago in 1988 by clergy abuse survivor Barbara Blaine, then a social worker running a homeless shelter. Today, with more than 9,000 members and 65 support groups across the country, SNAP is the nation’s oldest and largest self-help organization of clergy molestation victims and their families.

For more information, call:
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director, 314-503-0003
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director, 314-566-9790
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president and founder, 312-399-4747

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests