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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex Abuse Victims Blast Nuns’ Group

For 7 Years, National Sisters’ Organization Rebuffs Them

Victims’ Repeatedly Ask for A Chance to Speak to Catholic Nuns

SNAP Also Wants Vatican Probe into Nuns Expanded to Include Abuse

Self Help Organization Urges Anyone Who Suspected or Suffered Nuns Crimes to Speak Up

What:
Outside a hotel where the largest group of US nuns is meeting, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will carry signs, hold childhood photos and hand out fliers about sex crimes by Catholic sisters. The leaflets urge
--the nuns to let adults who were molested as kids by nuns speak to the nuns’ national conference &
--launch an independent investigation to learn how widespread such sex crimes are.

The group is also asking
--Catholic parents to ask their kids if they were ever violated by nuns and
--the Vatican to expand its on-going investigation into nuns to include how nuns respond to and prevent clergy sex crimes by sisters (a.k.a. ‘women religious’).

When:
Tuesday, August 10 at 1:15 p.m.

Where:
Outside the Hyatt Regency, 300 Reunion Blvd. in downtown Dallas

Who:
Four-five adults who were sexually abused as kids by nuns and priests and (and their supporters) who belong to a Chicago based support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Why:
This week, the nation’s largest group of Catholic nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) holds its annual meeting in Dallas. Unlike America’s Catholic bishops, nuns have not adopted binding national rules about child sex crimes and cover ups. The nuns have also, for seven years in a row, refused to honor any requests by SNAP designed to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Specifically, SNAP has asked the LCWR to let one or more of its members speak to the national nuns’ conference or one of speak to the nuns’ regional conferences, put a link to SNAP on the LCWR website, ask individual orders of nuns to do the same or at least put it in their publications and give contacts for each orders' victim assistance coordinators (so nun victims know who to call to get help).

Over the years, SNAP has heard from hundreds of men and women who have been sexually violated by nuns. The group believes such abuse is drastically under-reported. A study by Kaiser Permanente found that of 17,337 participants, 16% of the men and 25% of the women reported being sexually abused as children by female predators.

Nuns had far more access to kids than priests did, SNAP maintains. In 1965, for example, there were 180,000 nuns and only 58,000 priests in the U.S. And nuns saw kids daily, as parochial school staff.

SNAP believes that society's relative comfort with intimacy between women and children enables female abusers to initiate contact far easier without suspicion. Females in positions of trust and power over children, teens, and vulnerable adults have a great deal of influence, SNAP believes, that has been and can easily be abused.

Just last week in South Dakota, according to the Associated Press, “Two dozen former residents of an American Indian orphanage run by the Roman Catholic Church are suing the Sioux Falls diocese, alleging sexual and physical abuse by priests and nuns decades ago.” http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/south-dakota/article_71a2745e-a1a5-11df-9601-001cc4c002e0.html

According to its website, the LCWR has more than 1500 members, who represent more than 90 percent of the 59,000 women religious in the United States.

Contact:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Steven Theisen, Iowa SNAP Director, 319 231 1663 cell (abused as a child by a nun)
Therese Key, Chicago SNAP leader (abused as a child by a nun)
Lisa Kendzior, SNAP Dallas Director, 817 773 5907


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