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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex victims appeal to 24 new Catholic officials

And they unveil country-by-country estimates of pedophile priests

Based largely on US data, they say Europe has had 8,000-21,000 predators

Group wants just-promoted Cardinals to each reveal even 1 child molesting cleric

Holding signs and childhood photos of victims at an indoor news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will release nation-by-nation estimates of the number of child molesting Catholics clerics across Europe (based largely on data from the United States).

They will also beg the newly-appointed 24 Catholic Cardinals now in Rome to each
--“lead by example” and push for broad reforms, not ‘piecemeal tinkering,’ to make the church safer, and
--start by each publicly releasing, in the weeks ahead, just one name of even one predator priest they know or supervised.

Saturday, November 20 at 1:00 p.m.

Visconti Palace Hotel, Via Federico Cesi 37, 00193 Roma T 06.594848, in Rome

4-5 victims of sexual abuse from four countries (Germany, Belgium, England and the US) who are members of an international support group for clergy abuse victims called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP’s estimates that some 8,000-21,000 child molesting Catholic clerics have worked in the 33 countries of Europe (ranging from roughly 5,000 predator priests in Italy to 2 in Monaco). The projections are largely based on two sets of figures from US sources.

The first is a 2003 self-survey of American bishops compiled by researchers at John Jay College in New York. It found that approximately 4% of US priests over a 50 year period had been accused of molesting kids. More recently updated through 2009, the survey shows that 5,768 of the 109,694 US priests active since 1950 have been accused. That is 5.3%.

The second is a group of US dioceses which were, over the past eight years, investigated, to one degree or another, by law enforcement agencies or grand juries. Not surprisingly, many more pedophile priests were reported in these dioceses. With the percentage of their priests who were accused in parenthesis, they include Manchester NH (8.9%,) Covington KY (9.6%), Providence RI (10%), and Philadelphia PA (7.7%). Similar percentages have been found in Belleville IL and Portland OR. Prominent US author, researcher, expert witness and former priest A. W. Richard Sipe of LaJolla CA estimates that 6-9% of U.S. priests have offended against children.

SNAP believes that evidence strongly suggests that the percentage of child molesting clerics is roughly the same in nations across the world. (There is, for example, little variation in the rates of self-reported abuse in US dioceses.)

While it’s tempting, SNAP says, to assume that cultural, demographic or ideological differences might impact the number or percentage of pedophile priests in various nations, there’s no data to back up such assumptions.

The organization wants to see all bishops across the globe work harder to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded (irrespective of what steps Vatican officials may or may not take). But it is especially publicly urging the newly installed 24 new Cardinals from across the globe to go “above the bare minimum” on child safety. Specifically, SNAP wants each of them, in the weeks ahead, to at least disclose the name of one proven or admitted child molesting cleric, in the hopes of protecting kids and prodding their colleagues to make similar revelations.

Joelle Casteix (SNAP USA Leader),, + 1 949 322 7434
Lieve Halsberghe (SNAP Belgium Leader),, +32 475 910 918
Lucy Duckworth (SNAP England Leader),, +44 780 505 7270
Norbert Denef (networkB / and SNAP Germany,, +49 (0)4503 892782, +49 (0)163 1625091
Barbara Blaine (President), +1 312 399 4747
David Clohessy (Executive Director),, +1 314 566 9790
Barbara Dorris (Outreach director),, +1 314 862 7688

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests