The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Clergy sex abuse victims blast diocese
Bishop wants victims to report to clerics
But that's "insensitive and ineffective," organization believes
SNAP: "Few who are abused by priests will trust another priest"
Group advises those who are wounded to call law enforcement first
And diocese should offer trained lay professionals, not priests, to victims, they say
Victims also question days of WV diocesan delay in disclosing recent arrest of priest
They will also prod anyone who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes to step forward, get help, expose wrong-doers, protect others and start healing.
WHEN/WHERE - Thursday, July 15
11:00 am, in front of St. Paul Church, 140 Walnut Street, Weirton, WV
In his official public statement responding to the arrest, Bransfield suggested victims contact church staff, not law enforcement officials. And the two church staffers Bransfield listed are both clerics. SNAP says it would be more compassionate and effective if Bransfield provided victims names of lay people who are licensed mental health professionals, rather than clerics, to talk with about abuse. Few who are sexually assaulted by clerics feel comfortable reporting their experiences to other clerics, SNAP maintains.
Earlier this week, SNAP also criticized Wheeling Jesuit University for its response to the arrest.
When alleged predator priests are arrested, often others with information about the crimes stay silent. That puts an undue burden on the victim, SNAP says, and makes it more likely the accused will get off on a technicality or receive a lenient sentence or plea deal. So SNAP will urge West Virginia church officials to use their considerable resources to prod others who saw, suspected or suffered Owino’s crimes to call police immediately.
A copy of SNAP‘s letter to Bransfield, which was sent today by fax and e mail, is below. At the Wheeling event, SNAP will try to hand deliver a copy of that letter to Bransfield.
Contact: Judy Block Jones (314-974-5003) David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests