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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims to leaflet outside cathedral

They urge lawmakers & national panel to act

Group blasts Rigali for “still hiding predators”

SNAP: “National Catholic board must step in & speak up”

And legislators must enable victims to expose pedophiles in court

Concealing credibly accused clerics’ names “hurts kids & helps offenders” victims say

US bishops abuse policy is “meaningless,” group feels “if names are still being kept secret”

WHAT
Handing fliers to mass-goers and passersby, clergy sex abuse victims will publicly urge
--- a national Catholic panel to denounce Philadelphia’s church hierarchy for continuing to hide the names of dozens of recently suspended child molesting clerics, and
--- Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass a measure enabling more child sex victims to expose predators in court

The victims will also prod Cardinal Rigali to
--publicly disclose the names and whereabouts of dozens of recently suspended allegedly abusive priests, and
--house those credibly accused child molesters in a secure, remote treatment center, so that kids are safer.

WHEN
Wednesday, March 9 at 10:30 a.m. (until roughly 12:30 p.m.)

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia

WHO
Six-ten clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Chicago woman who was molested as a child and who founded the self help organization

WHY
Clergy sex abuse victims are alarmed that Cardinal Justin Rigali is continuing to hide the names of dozens of just-suspended credibly accused child molesting clerics. His secrecy further endangers vulnerable children, SNAP says.

It also points out the need to reform Pennsylvania’s “predator-friendly” abuse laws. Extending or eliminating the archaic statute of limitations will enable more child sex abuse victims (most of whom were not hurt by clergy) to “expose dangerous predators through the open, time-tested American justice system,” the group contends.

In the short term, however, SNAP wants the church’s National Review Board (NRB) to pressure Rigali to disclose the identities of the suspected predators.

In 2002, at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Dallas, bishops created and appointed the NRB to help oversee implementation of their new “zero tolerance” national child sex abuse policy. Once headed by relatively independent, outspoken and high profile lay Catholics (Leon Panetta, Governor Frank Keating Justice Anne Burke), in recent years panel members have become quieter and more closely connected with the church. Still, SNAP believes the group has a powerful “bully pulpit” that could prod Rigali and other bishops to act more compassionately.

The NRB is headed by Diane Knight of Milwaukee, the former head of Milwaukee Catholic Charities. The Allegheny County prosecutor is also on the NRB. A list of other members is here: http://www.nccbuscc.org/ocyp/nrb.shtml

(At 11 a.m., Rigali will lead a “penitential” service. At noon, he’ll lead a mass. Both are at the Cathedral.)

CONTACT
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP President (312) 399 4747 cell, SNAPblaine@gmail..com
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director, (314) 566 9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com


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