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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

NEWS EVENT: Abuse victims to Catholics: Deeds, not words, protect kids

They will hand out leaflets to mass-goers about “on-going crisis”

SNAP: Since Pope refuses to act, it’s imperative that UK bishops do

Parishioners should DONATE ELSEWHERE until reforms happen, group says

Victims urge secular UK authorities to investigate British church like Irish government has

Before Benedict visits, group begs parishioners to push church & gov. officials for reform

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos, victims of child sexual abuse will hand out flyers to mass-goers about Pope Benedict’s upcoming UK visit and last week’s papal apology. The leaflets will urge Catholics to:
-- stop giving to the church and “donate elsewhere” until the Pope takes sweeping global action to protect kids,
-- use the weeks before Benedict’s UK visit to push secular and church authorities to make real reforms,
-- ask their loved ones if they were assaulted as kids by clergy, and, if so,
-- beg them to come forward, call police, expose predators, protect children and start healing.

Specifically, they want UK secular authorities to:
-- reform “predator-friendly” and archaic child safety laws to make it easier to expose molesters, and
-- launch independent investigations into clergy sex crimes and cover-ups, like the Irish government has.

When:
Sunday, June 13, 11 am

Where:
In London, Outside Westminster Cathedral, 42 Francis Street (Underground: Victoria)

Who:
3-4 clergy sex abuse victims, including two women who are long-time leaders of the world’s largest self-help group for people assaulted by religious figures. It’s called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Why:
As a result of Pope Benedict's upcoming September visit to the UK, many citizens, Catholics, and victims are seeking ways to express their dismay at the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis. SNAP believes that even more people are disappointed in the Pope’s most recent apology (issued on Thursday) because despite horrific crimes, recklessness, and deceit, the pontiff still refuses to take decisive actions to better safeguard children.

The organization is urging church-goers to be more generous than ever, but to give to institutions that help - not endanger - kids.

Around the world, outdated and inadequate child safety laws enable bishops to conceal child sex crimes and deny deeply wounded victims the chance for legal action – both civil and criminal – to expose predators and deter wrong-doing. And because Catholic officials continue covering up for pedophile priests, only truly independent government investigations can reveal these horrific crimes, those who perpetrated them, and those who hide them. SNAP wants UK secular officials to launch such probes, as the Irish government has done.

Over the past 22 years, SNAP has learned that victims heal best when they break their silence, name their abuser, and get help from independent sources like therapists and self-help groups. Children are best safeguarded, SNAP feels, when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers find the courage to speak up and call law enforcement - as well as prod anyone who saw, suspects or suffered the crimes of pedophile priests to break their silence and call law enforcement immediately.

In London, the two US SNAP leaders are staying at the Holiday Inn-Bloomsbury (near the Russell Square underground station). The hotel phone number is +44-871-9429222.

Based in Chicago, SNAP is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. It has been around for 22 years and has more than 9,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in its title, SNAP has members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Its website is SNAPnetwork.org. SNAP has no affiliation with any church organization and helps victims hurt in any denomination. Casteix is the group’s western director and Dorris is the group’s outreach director.

Contact:
In London: Joelle Casteix +1 949 322 7434 (US cell), 338 456 7942 (Italian cell), jcasteix@gmail.com, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003(US cell), SNAP@gmail.com

In the US: David Clohessy 314 566 9790 (cell phone, Central Time) SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747 SNAPblaine@gmail.com


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