The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Groups blast abuse report & bishops’ plan
They praise & thank victims who come forward
And they want to know status of 225 predator priests
That’s the only way to safeguard kids, organizations say
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters (from the US and Belgium) will push Belgium Catholic officials to
---disclose how many of the 225 living child molesting clerics who are accused of sexually violating Belgian kids are still in active ministry, and
---suspend those who are still in parishes and jobs around kids.
They will also
-- urge secular authorities to work harder to investigate clergy sex crimes and cover-ups in Belgium's dioceses (like the Irish government has done in that country).
-- criticize the Belgian bishops’ abuse plans (to be announced Monday), and
-- express anger and disappointment about the report issued on Friday which minimizes the crisis.
Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m.
Hilton City Place Rogier 20, Brussels 1210.
Five clergy sex abuse victims and advocates from Belgium and the US, including two American women who lead the world's largest & most highly visible support group for clergy sex abuse victims, called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) and two Belgians who lead the Human Rights Working Group in the Church ("Werkgroep Mensenrechten in de Kerk")
For the sake of public safety, the victims and advocates will prod church and government authorities to disclose the whereabouts of the hundreds of accused child molesting clerics outlined in last Friday’s report on abuse in the church. The victims want Catholic bishops to ensure that those predator priests still in ministry are suspended and permanently kept away from children. (According to CNN, there are 320 accused Belgian predator priests and according to the Irish Times, 95 of them are dead - http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/09/10/belgium.church.abuse/, http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/0911/1224278638574.html)
Based on experiences across the world with other Catholic dioceses ‘in crisis,’ the groups will predict and criticize the so-called “reforms” that Belgian bishops will be unveiling on Monday. The group suspects that bishops will continue to try and handle abuse reports quietly and “in house,” offering only minor and largely insignificant policies and procedures that will have little impact, if any, on the on-going crisis.
Despite the recent legal setback denying law enforcement the use of evidence gained in a raid last summer, the groups want Belgian civil authorities to work harder to investigate clergy sex crimes and seek justice against those who committed and conceal devastating crimes against kids.
The two organizations believe that the report issued late last week by Prof. Adriaenssens' panel misstates the extent of the crimes and cover ups. It will lead, the groups feel, to premature complacency and leave kids at risk of more abuse. The panel did little consultation with existing victims’ groups.
Church officials work hard to persuade the public that panels like Adriaenssens' are independent. They aren't. These small, hand-picked, carefully-selected individuals who are unlikely to 'rock the boat' and
who largely depend on the very bishops who appointed them for information about the very crimes which bishops have long covered up. So even though they may be well-intentioned, they have little ability to ferret out the deeply-held secrets that bishops still control.
Barbara Blaine (312 399 4747 cell, SNAPblaine@gmail.com, 07587206053), Therese Albrecht 07 570 893 544), Lieve Halsberghe (+32 475 910 918, firstname.lastname@example.org)