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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex victims blast Episcopalians

Group urges parishioners to “stop donating”

It also challenges 12 bishops who reinstated colleague

“What will you do now to warn families about predator?” SNAP asks

Self help organization says “complicit” church official “exploited legal technicality”

Victims beg others who “saw, suspected or suffered clergy crimes” to “come forward”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
--- blast Episcopal bishops for voting last week to reinstate a bishop who ignored & concealed his brother’s clergy sex crimes, and
--- prod those bishops to take steps now to warn families about the child molester and his complicit brother.

They will also urge
--- Episcopalian congregants to stop donating to the denomination until more is done to protect kids and punish wrongdoers, and
---anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by either cleric to call police, get help, protect others and start healing

WHEN
Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 12:15 p.m..

WHERE
Outside the Episcopal diocesan headquarters 240 S. 4th Street, in Philadelphia

WHO
Three clergy sex abuse victims who are members of SNAP the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
Last week, a church board of 12 bishops voted to reinstate Charles Bennison to his post as Pennsylvania’s Episcopal bishop, despite finding him guilty of “conduct unbecoming a minister.” Their rationale: the church’s statute of limitations had allegedly run on his wrongdoing.

Two years ago, a different church panel ousted Bennison. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “The case focused on what Bishop Bennison knew or didn't know 35 years ago, when he was rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Upland, Calif. (Another church court) found that he failed to respond properly after learning that his brother, John, then a newly ordained deacon and youth minister, was having sex with a 14-year-old. The court found that Bishop Bennison stayed silent about his brother's conduct until 2006. He was barred from ministry in October 2007.”

SNAP is urging congregants to stop donating to a church hierarchy that tolerates concealing child sex crimes and start donating instead to groups that report and prevent child sex crimes. The organization is also urging the 12 bishops who voted to reinstate the ousted bishop to use their “bully pulpits” and other resources to warn families about the Bennison brother who is a predator and publicly deplore the other Bennison brother who put kids in harm’s way through his deceit and silence. SNAP believes that if wrong-doing goes unpunished, wrong-doing will be repeated, and that the top Episcopalian hierarchy needs to do more to safeguard the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Another Pennsylvania bishop has recently come under fire because of similar allegations. According to another news account last week, “Last month it was revealed that the former head of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Edmund L. Browning, learned in 1993 that Bishop Donald Davis of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania had sexually abused as many as nine girls. Browning told Davis (who has since died) to resign as bishop, refrain from public ministry, and seek counseling, which Davis did. But Browning, who is retired, never alerted civil authorities or investigated the charges.”

CONTACT
Karen Polesir 267 992 9463, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003 cell, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)


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