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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Abuse victims, Catholics and advocates beg prosecutors to act

They want law enforcement to “scour” Bridgeport diocese records

Groups are convinced that at least a few church officials could be charged

“Where there’s a will,” to pursue wrongdoers, “there’s often a way,” they believe

Organizations also urge legislators to pass & fix laws to deter future sex crime cover-ups

WHAT
At a sidewalk news conference, holding signs and photos (of predators and victims), clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will prod 3-4 CT prosecutors to:
-- look long and hard at thousands of newly released Bridgeport church documents and see if even a single complicit church official or predator priest might be criminally charged, and
-- set up a hotline for all victims who were abused by church employees of all faiths.

They will also urge
-- CT lawmakers to reform the state’s civil and criminal laws, particularly dealing with adults who ignore or conceal suspicions or knowledge of child sex crimes,
-- any current or former Bridgeport church staffers with information about child molestation or cover-ups to contact law enforcement, and
-- all current and former Bridgeport Catholics to ask their loved ones if any priests, nuns, brothers, seminarians or bishops molested them.

WHEN
Thursday, December 3 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
Sidewalk outside of courthouse/state’s attorney John Smriga’s office, 1061 Main Street, in downtown Bridgeport CT

WHO
One-two clergy sex abuse victims, one-two Catholics with VOTF, and the co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a Boston-based research group that documents the Catholic church’s on-going abuse crisis

WHY
Roughly 12,000 pages of long-secret Bridgeport diocesan records about clergy sex crimes and cover ups were released under court order on Tuesday. That same day, Catholic officials went to court to keep another 1,000 documents about predator priests hidden from public view:

http://www.cpbn.org/article/bridgeport-diocese-defends-withheld-documents

The groups are calling on state and federal prosecutors to think creatively about ways to pursue current and former church employees that ignored or concealed crimes.

The organizations feel there’s likely to be at least one priest, housekeeper, secretary or church lawyer who has destroyed evidence, obstructed justice, intimidated witnesses or committed some crime that’s still able to be prosecuted. In some states, for instance, the statute of limitations is suspended when a predator moves out of state, like several Bridgeport predator priests have done.

“We’re asking law enforcement to read every document, beg witnesses and victims to come forward, and launch a full-scale probe into abuse and cover-up by Bridgeport church staff,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org.

“We also need prosecutors to lead the fight to change archaic laws that protect sexual predators and their enablers,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. Examples of such legislative reforms include enacting or toughening state laws dealing with civil RICO, conspiracy, negligent supervision, negligent hiring, and tougher sanctions under the mandated reporting statutes. Some of the groups especially want to see mandatory jail time for those who are obligated to report suspected abuse but fail to do so.

CONTACT
Anne Barrett Doyle, BishopAccountability.org (781 439 5208 cell), David Clohessy, SNAP National Director (314 566 9790 cell), Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director (314 503 0003). John Marshall Lee, Bridgeport Voice of the Faithful (203 259 9642 days)


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