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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex abuse victims hold sign outside mass today

Predator has been suspended & bishop speaks to parish

Now, group says, bishop should put priest in treatment center

It’s inherently hurtful, they say, for cleric to have sex with congregant

Group begs others who saw, suspected or suffered misconduct to “come forward”

WHAT
As parishioners and Nashville's bishop leaves mass, two people will hold a large sign urging clergy sex abuse victims to come forward and get help.

They will also urge Nashville bishop to
-- put a suspended predatory priest in a treatment center,
-- use the church's considerable resources (diocesan website, weekly newspaper, parish bulletins, etc.) to seek out and offer help to others he may have exploited, and
-- personally visit each parish where the predator worked, begging victims and witnesses to come forward.

The two will also encourage current and former church employees or staff who have suspicions or knowledge of the priest’s wrong doing to step forward, call police get help, protect others and start healing.

WHEN:
TODAY, Saturday, Oct. 24, from 5:00-5:30 p.m. and then for 20 minutes AFTER mass is over too.

WHERE:
Outside St. Philip Catholic church at the corner of 1st and Main St. in Franklin, TN

WHO:
A Nashville man and woman who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY:
Nashville Bishop David Choby is saying mass this weekend at St. Philip's, starting today at 5:30 p.m.

This week, Choby has suspended Fr. John Sapperfield from St. Philip's because of sexual misconduct involving a parishioner. SNAP strongly suspects Sapperfield has exploited or manipulated or abused other vulnerable adults and is urging Choby to do more to find and help anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Sapperfield’s misdeeds.

All too often, SNAP believes, church officials oust predatory priests but give them inadequate supervision, monitoring and therapy., Choby should put Sappenfield in a remote, secure, professionally-run treatment center so that he’ll get help and so that others will be safe, SNAP feels.

And too often, female victims of this kind of abuse are blamed for allegedly "leading the priest astray." SNAP hopes that Choby will do all he can to prevent this vicious victim-blaming and that Sappenfield will be held accountable.

Finally, in many instances, bishops passively sit back in their offices and hide behind their desks, lawyers and public relations staff, instead of aggressively visiting predators’ workplaces, prodding victims and witnesses to take action and start healing.

Fr. Sappenfield worked in a parish in recent years with Bishop Choby before Choby was named bishop. Sappenfield was assigned at St. John Vianney in Gallatin and taught at John Paul II High School in Hendersonville while he was in residence at St. John Vianney.

CONTACT:
Mike Coode, SNAP Nashville Director, 615-269-5165, 615 364 2334 cell, David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314-566-9790 cell


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