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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First-ever lawsuits seek money back from Pope's US rep & all US bishops

First-ever lawsuits seek money back from Pope's US rep & all US bishops

They charge that prelate may have deceptively ‘dumped cash’ to pay victims less

SNAP wants church officials to voluntarily return disputed funds as “sign of good faith”

Abuse group makes plea on the six month anniversary of Pope’s springtime visit to DC & NY

American church authorities ignore papal plea to “help victims heal,” self-help organization says

At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will

-- announce and discuss an unprecedented legal action that may force top Catholic officials to return more than $200,000, and

-- urge those officials to voluntarily return the disputed funds, instead of fighting the request.

On the six month anniversary of the Pope’s visit to America, they will also blast

-- US church leaders for ignoring the Pope’s plea to “do everything possible” to heal victims, and

-- an Iowa bishop for “legal maneuvering” designed to reduce payments to dozens of sex abuse victims.

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 1:45 p.m.

Outside the Papal Nuncio, (Vatican Embassy)  3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, in Washington DC

Several sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) including an Illinois woman who is the group’s founder and president.


For first time ever, legal action is being taken to get more than $200,000 back from two DC-based Catholic institutions. Lawsuits filed late last week charge that money was allegedly sent, fraudulently and deceptively, to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Vatican’s US representative. The Davenport diocese made the payments in the fall of 2006 on the eve of its bankruptcy filing stemming from more than 100 clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits.

Davenport sent at least $135,800 to the USCCB and nearly $73,000 to the Vatican’s papal nuncio.

The suits were filed by bankruptcy trustee Robert Berger with the cooperation of attorneys Pat Noaker (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Craig Levien (563 326 4491, 563 349 2180 cell), who represent dozens of victims in Iowa.

Rather than delaying justice, challenging the move, spending thousands in lawyers’ fees, and waiting for a judge’s order to comply, SNAP wants the USCCB and papal nuncio to voluntarily, as a ‘sign of good faith,’ return the funds.

Exactly six months ago, the Pope set foot in the US. He repeatedly expressed compassion for abuse victims and directed US bishops to “do everything possible” to help victims heal. But SNAP reports that American bishops have done nothing to honor the Holy Father’s wishes and changed nothing about their continued mishandling of clergy sex abuse cases and cover up.

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP Founder and President (312) 399 4747
Becky Ianni of Burke VA, SNAP Northern Virginia Director (703) 801 6044
David Clohessy of St. Louis SNAP National Director (314) 566 9790 (
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Coordinator (314) 862 7688 home, (314) 503 0003 cell

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests