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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

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim and support group leader will
--- release a list of 12 predator priests who, after having been caught molesting kids, have other broken laws in recent years, and
--- publicly urge Vermont's Catholic bishop to house and monitor the proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clergy in the state, so that kids will be safer.

She will also urge other clergy sex abuse victims to
-- continue pushing for trials, so that the recklessness & deception of church officials can be further exposed, and
-- insist, if cases settle before trial, on church records on pedophile priests being publicly released.

She will also beg
-- victims to find the courage to speak up and get help, and
-- witnesses and victims to contact police officials, not church officials

When:
Thursday, Sept. 10, 11:30 a.m.

Where:
Outside the Burlington Catholic Diocese headquarters (802-658-6110), 351 North Ave., in Burlington VT

Who:
A Missouri woman who was molested as a child and who is the outreach director of a nationwide support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). She'll be joined by two concerned Vermont Catholics.

Why:
Last month, Chittenden Superior Court Judge Helen Toor "said that she will push to have longstanding cases involving alleged priest sexual abuse resolved" during her tenure as presiding judge by mediation, with the goal of "reaching out-of-court settlements," according to the Burltington Free Press (8/6/09).

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.

Contact:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director (314) 566 9790 cell, Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP national outreach director (314) 503 0003 cell


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


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