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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Sex victims try to hand deliver letter to nuns

They also write to new top staffer at Vatican department

Group wants worldwide “one strike” policy on abuse by sisters

Sexual assaults by female clergy may be “next wave” of scandal, SNAP fears

What:
At a sidewalk news conference outside a hotel where the America’s largest group of nuns is meeting, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will publicly call on the Vatican to
---adopt a first-ever, world-wide “zero tolerance” policy for nuns on sex abuse, and
---launch an independent investigation to learn how widespread such sex crimes are and how the nuns hierarchy handles such crimes.

They will also try to get inside the meeting unannounced and hand deliver a letter to the US nuns’ hierarchy, urging them to
-- let victims speak to the full assembly, and
-- take more aggressive steps to expose their child molesting colleagues, and
-- reach out more thoroughly to find and help the men and women who were abused by nuns.

When:
Wednesday, August 11 at 11:15 a.m.

Where:
Outside the Hyatt Regency (directly across front door), 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)

Visuals:
The group will carry signs, hold childhood photos and hand out fliers about sex crimes by nuns.

Why:
Late last month, the Pope tapped Fr Joseph Tobin of Detroit to help lead the Rome-based Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL, also known as the “Congregation for Religious”). In this role, he’ll be part of the Pope’s years-long inquiry into nuns across the world and over see roughly a million nuns and priests who are in religious orders.

SNAP wants that on-going investigation broadened to include child sex abuse by nuns. And the group wants Vatican officials, including Tobin, to adopt a world-wide “zero tolerance” policy on child molestation by nuns, so that any Catholic sister who assaults a child will be removed from ministry. (This is a US bishops policy now for American priests. There is no equivalent world-wide policy for either priests or nuns.)

There has never been any probe - independent or internal, domestic or international - of the extent of clergy sex crimes by nuns or of how church officials handle such cases. SNAP believes there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of current and former Catholic sisters who have abused kids, sexually, emotionally or physically. (SNAP has heard from several hundred men and women who report having been assaulted by nuns in the US and other countries.)

This week, the umbrella group for America’s Catholic nuns is holds its annual meeting in Dallas. It’s called the LCWR, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and it’s based in Maryland.

Eight years ago at their annual meeting in Dallas, America’s Catholic bishops adopted a national policy on child sex crimes and cover ups. But the nuns have refused to adopt any new child molestation rules.. They 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).

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) 708 263 3050
Lisa Kendzior, SNAP Dallas Director, 817 773 5907


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