The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010
Senate Candidates Urged to Contact Cardinal about Predators
Two groups push three candidates to act on clergy abuse
In letters today, they ask Senate hopefuls to prod Archbishop
O’Malley should name predator priests, office-seekers said in yesterday’s debate
Organizations want pedophiles disclosed in three other MA dioceses as well
Two groups involved in the Catholic sex abuse and cover up crisis are urging three US Senate hopefuls in Massachusetts to follow through on their public statements yesterday Boston’s archbishop should disclose the names of credibly accused predator priests. The candidates must act today so that “kids will be safer and citizens will be informed,” the groups said.
In a debate aired Tuesday on WTKK-FM’s “Jim and Margery” program, all three office-seekers agreed that Cardinal Sean O’Malley should release the names of priests accused of sexually abusing children in the Boston area. To read and hear the candidates’ comments on O’Malley, go to: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2010_01_05_Braude_and_Eagan_SenateDebate.htm
In letters sent this morning to the campaigns of Attorney General Martha Coakley (Democrat), State Senator Scott Brown (Republican) and Joseph L. Kennedy (Independent), the groups said, “Words are good. But action protects kids. …[We] urge … that you translate your sentiment into action - a quick, simple letter to O'Malley urging that these names be disclosed. Given your position and visibility, and given the vulnerability of kids and the shrewdness of predators, this is crucial.”
The organizations are Waltham-based BishopAccountability.org and the Chicago-based SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a self help group.
Last April, both organizations prodded O’Malley to post on his website the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests. Roughly 20 other US Catholic bishops have taken this step. O’Malley said months ago he was considering this, but he has not yet done so.
In today’s letter, the groups urge the candidates to reiterate their request for release of the accused priest names to not only O’Malley but the bishops of the Fall River, Worcester and Springfield dioceses.
“You are running statewide, so you should try to safeguard kids all across Massachusetts,” the letter said.
In recent years, SNAP also blasted O’Malley for “violating the national US bishops’ conference sex abuse policy” by “refusing to teach thousands of kids how to avoid being molested.” It asked O’Malley to identify and discipline dozens of church officials who would not implement training programs to prevent abuse.
SNAP wrote O’Malley after national church officials deemed the Boston Archdiocese “not in compliance” with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. That year, 2008, was the second year in a row that O’Malley’s archdiocese has been cited.
A copy of the groups’ letter, sent today by fax and e mail to each candidate, is below.
LETTER SENT TODAY TO US SENATE CANDIDATES BROWN, COAKLEY, AND KENNEDY:
We write to you today on behalf of our respective organizations: the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national survivors' self-help group dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and healing the wounded; and BishopAccountability.org, a Waltham-based online library of documents pertaining to the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
We're grateful that in yesterday's debate with the other Senate candidates, you agreed with us, and with many Massachusetts citizens, that Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley should be more open about clergy sexual abuse.
Specifically, we're glad you believe he should disclose the identities of any clerics who have worked in the Boston archdiocese who have been accused of molesting children.
Such a simple step would help safeguard children and reassure Catholics. It would be tangible proof that the archdiocese's decades-old patterns of secrecy are finally beginning to be reformed.
If even one child was protected from even one predator priest, the effort would be well worth it. And if even one wounded adult, still suffering from child sexual abuse, was comforted, the time would be well spent.
We respectfully urge, however, that you translate your sentiment into action - a quick, simple letter to O'Malley urging that these names be disclosed.
Given your position and visibility, and given the vulnerability of kids and the shrewdness of predators, this is crucial.
Please go one step further. You are running statewide, so you should try to safeguard kids all across Massachusetts.
So please send the same request to the bishops of the Fall River, Worchester and Springfield dioceses.
Words are good. But action protects kids. Please take this simple step today to show your sincerity and to prod the archdiocese to be more open.
Terence McKiernan, Founder and President
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests