The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Sex abuse group pushes for release of records & housing of predators
They urge victims to insist that documents be disclosed & testimony be taken
Last month, a Vermont judge called for "mediation" in pedophile priest lawsuits
But SNAP says Catholics & citizens "need and deserve the truth about bishops' cover ups"
Quiet settlements "help the wounded, but don't necessarily protect the vulnerable," group feels
Self help organization also prods Matano to put predator priests in one place and monitor them
She will also urge other clergy sex abuse victims to
She will also beg
At least four pedophile priest trials were held in the last two years in Vermont, involving Fr. Edward Paquette and Fr. Alfred Willis. In the most recent trial, last December, a jury awarded $3.6 million to a victim of Paquette. Earlier, a jury awarded $15,000 to another victim.
SNAP believes, however, that not all victims heal in the same way, and that those who want trials should have the opportunity to pursue them. SNAP also feels that mediated settlements sometimes conceal the truth about the crimes and cover ups. Years later, some victims who settle their cases sometimes regret that they didn't push harder for bishops to testify and records to be released.
According to an independent research group called BishopAccountability.org, 13 priests and nuns who worked for the church in Vermont are proven, admitted or credibly accused sex offenders. While some have died, SNAP believes most walk free, live independently, and get little/inadequate church supervision.
Similarly, across the US, while hundreds of the roughly 5,000 US pedophile priests have died or are locked up, most now quietly live unsupervised, on their own, in neighborhoods where parents are unaware of their crimes. This puts kids at risk of more abuse.
Bishops recruit, educate, ordain, hire, supervise, transfer, shield, and defend priests, some of whom molest kids. So SNAP feels church officials have a moral and civic duty to do more than merely suspend them. Bishops should, SNAP believes, centrally house and oversee them in remote, secure, widely publicized and professionally-run centers. This ensures that the predators get treatment and that kids are protected.
Many of the pedophiles can’t be jailed because church officials successfully concealed their crimes for so long. This further increases bishops’ obligation to oversee these criminals.
Only a handful of dioceses (including St. Louis and Philadelphia) have facilities where a few predators are housed. But SNAP feels these centers are problematic because: a) church officials are often secretive about them, b) they aren’t remote or secure, and c) they are usually run by church personnel instead of independent criminal justice or mental health professionals with experience in criminal justice.
SNAP’s fact sheet describes re-offending priests from Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Delaware, Iowa, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Missouri.
SNAP is an independent, confidential, Chicago-based self help group, started in 1988, with 9,000 members across the country. Its goals are to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests