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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims Vigil Tonight Outside US Bishop's Meeting; Oppose 2 Candidates

Sex abuse victims vigil outside bishops meeting

They oppose two prelates running to head the organization

Abuse group urges that they be defeated in election on Tuesday

SNAP: “Both have recently protected credibly accused clerics”

-NY archbishop “quietly & deceptively” let serial pedophile resign

-AZ bishop concealed serious accusations against another predator

“Electing either would send hurt both victims & Catholics,” group says

WHAT:
Holding signs, candles and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their loved ones will stand in silent vigil for an hour outside a meeting of hundreds of America’s Catholic bishops, urging them to
--vote against two bishops – one from New York and one from Arizona – who they say recently protected or are protecting predator priests, and
--stop rewarding, honoring, promoting and tolerating bishops who ignore or conceal clergy sex crimes.

They will also blast the bishops for refusing to
--- post names of pedophile priests on church websites and
--- aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes.

WHEN:
TODAY: Monday, November 15, from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

WHERE:
On sidewalk in front of Marriott Baltimore Waterfront Hotel, 700 Aliceanna Street, in Baltimore (where hundreds of Catholic bishops are meeting)

WHO:
Three-four clergy sex abuse victims and supporters who belong to a support group called SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
Tomorrow, roughly 200 American prelates will elect a new president of the US bishops conference. Two of the leading contenders, SNAP contends, have “recently, quietly and deceptively mishandling clergy sex cases” and “put kids at risk.” They are New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas

SNAP is opposing both of their candidacies

In August, SNAP says, Dolan “quietly, recklessly and deceptively” let a prominent priest resign from his Harlem parish without mentioning that at least nine men have accused the priest of molesting them as boys. Two years ago, Dolan’s predecessor found the allegations credible and suspended the cleric.

But two letters given to the parishioners – one by Dolan and one by the priest – leave the impression that the priest stepped aside for health reasons.

SNAP says Kicanas knew about serious accusations of child sexual abuse and misconduct by a Chicago priest but “did little or nothing to report these allegations to police, warn parents about him, or protect children from him.” At the time, Kicanas headed the seminary where McCormack attended and could have blocked or delayed the priest’s ordination but did not. That cleric was convicted in 2007of molesting kids and is now behind bars.

The New York case involves Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, who helped arrange the New York visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. The Chicago case involves Fr. Daniel McCormack, who has now been accused by more than 20 boys. Harris remains a priest but McCormack has been defrocked.

“Kicanas’ irresponsible actions directly led to children being sexually assaulted by Fr. McCormack. It’s wrong for bishops to promote him,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director. “And it’s wrong for bishops to promote Dolan, whose irresponsible actions are putting children in harm’s way right now, by deceiving the public about Msgr. Harris.”

If either man wins, SNAP contends, it will further “discourage and silence victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who seek to safeguard kids and expose predators.”

“Catholic officials should put the safety of children and young people first, and stop rewarding and promoting bishops who hide, minimize an enable child sex crimes,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s president and founder. “

“Rewarding wrong-doing encourages more wrong-doing,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director “Honoring and elevating prelates that have so recently protected predators and endangered kids will likely prompt other church staff to act irresponsibly in the future.”

The expected winner is Kicanas, who is the bishops’ conference vice president. Several other bishops, however, are also running. SNAP is endorsing none of them, but believes a victory by Kicanas or Dolan would be most hurtful.

Three years ago, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, also severely implicated in the McCormack controversy, was elected to head the bishop’s conference. He’ll step down on Tuesday.

CONTACT
David Lorenz 301 906 9161
Frank Dingle 443 996 8994
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com,
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com


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