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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex abuse victims & Catholics blast archbishop

He “splits hairs” & “ducks responsibility” in abuse cases

Groups wants prelate to visit church where German priest worked

Cleric was ousted two days ago, but only after three weeks of inaction

Wuerl should probe delay & denounce controversial Colombian Cardinal

SNAP: “In sex cases, Archbishop should stop shifting blame & start taking action”

WHAT
As parishioners enter and leave mass, clergy sex abuse victims and concerned Catholics will hand out fliers urging Washington DC’s Catholic archbishop to
--investigate and explain a three week delay before the removal of an accused German predator priest who was just ousted in the DC archdiocese,
--personally visit his parish, and beg victims and witnesses to call law enforcement,
--formally denounce controversial Vatican prelate who advocates hiding clergy sex crimes from police (and who was to say a special mass in DC this weekend),
--post names of pedophile priests on his archdiocesan website, and
--stop shifting blame, ducking responsibility, and pointing fingers on child sex cases

They will also urge
--the Vatican prelate to apologize for his irresponsible behavior, and make amends by urging all bishops to post the names and hometowns of credibly accused child molesting clerics on their websites, and
--anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to call police, expose predators, get help, protect kids and start healing

WHEN
Thursday, April 22, noon (eastern time)

WHERE
Outside the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20036-3005 - http://www.stmatthewscathedral.org/

WHO
Several clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a Chicago-based international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) and members of an independent Catholic reform group called VOTF, Voice of the Faithful (votf.org)

WHY
On Tuesday, a priest working in DC was suspended because of credible allegations that he molested girls in his native Germany. But according to news accounts, at least three weeks passed between when the accusations surfaced and he was ousted. That delay left DC area kids at risk, SNAP believes, and should be investigated and explained. (Some news reports indicate that Catholic officials in Germany knew years ago of the allegations.)

The group wants Washington DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl launch an independent probe into the delays, and use his vast resources (archdiocesan staff, website, newspaper, and parish bulletins) to find other victims and witnesses. They also want Wuerl to personally visit each site there the cleric worked, and emphatically urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to come forward, get help, call police, and start healing.

Earlier this week, SNAP wrote Pope Benedict XVI and Washington DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl about a controversial, now-retired former Vatican official, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. Castrillon Hoyos made international headlines when a letter he wrote to a French bishop surfaced last week. In it, he praised a French bishop for not reporting a credibly accused sex offender to police despite being a mandated reporter under French law. The French bishop was convicted of failing to report child sex crimes to secular authorities. On Saturday, Castrillon Hoyos again generated a firestorm when he claimed that Pope John Paul II instructed him to send copies of his letter addressed to the French bishop to bishops worldwide.

Yesterday, Castrillon Hoyos was essentially disinvited by a Catholic lay group, and SNAP is upset that neither the Pope, Wuerl, nor a single Catholic official across the globe is expressing dismay at the Cardinal’s advocating reckless behavior. The group wants Wuerl to publicly castigate Castrillon Hoyos for is irresponsible actions.

In both cases – the German predator and the controversial Cardinal – SNAP feels that Wuerl could and should show courage and speak out. Instead, the group says, Wuerl ducks, dodges, splits hairs and avoids responsibility.

Finally, SNAP is calling on Wuerl to do what 20 other US bishops have done – list on his archdiocesan website the names, whereabouts and status of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who work or have worked in the DC archdiocese. The group calls this a “bare minimum” public safety step designed to warn unsuspecting parents, neighbors, relatives and co-workers about potentially dangerous sex offenders.

CONTACT
Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, Bill Casey (VOTF) 703 568 3438, Mark Serrano (703) 727-4940, mvserrano@proactivecom.com, David Clohessy (314) 566-9790, snapclohessy@aol.com


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