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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Group releases never-before-seen Catholic document

It’s a newly-disclosed form archdiocese asks victims to sign

And it bans church staff from giving info about crimes to police

SNAP: “This is may be the most insidious church cover up strategy yet”

Victims insist that Cardinal Rigali explain it and promise to never use it again

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- provide copies of a highly unusual and never-before-seen Philadelphia archdiocese form that prohibits church staff from giving information about known and alleged child sex crimes to police,
-- harshly blast church officials for using it, and
-- demand that Cardinal Rigali personally explain and apologize for it, and promise to never use it again.

WHEN
TODAY, Saturday, March 12, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese headquarters (chancery office), 222 N. 17th in Philadelphia. PA

WHO
A handful of members of a victims’ self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis woman who is the organization’s outreach director

WHY
The one-page form, titled “Prohibition to Release Information – pertaining to reported sexual abuse by clergy, other religious and lay employees,” appears to have been created in October 2003, more than a year after America’s bishops adopted a national abuse policy that mandates “openness and transparency” in child sex cases.

It prevents archdiocesan employees from “relating to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. . .any information about alleged sexual abuse by an official or employee of the archdiocese.” There’s space at the bottom for victims (or parents of child victims) to sign. There is no space for a signature by any church staffer.

SNAP suspects that victims are pressured to sign it or else they are denied therapy payments or any other benefits or consideration by church officials, enabling the archdiocese to keep known or suspected clergy sex crimes secret.

SNAP won’t disclose where it got the document, but the group consulted with a local plaintiff’s attorney who verified its authenticity.

The group says that often, church officials claim to take actions that allegedly protect victims when, in fact, the real intent and effect is to protect archdiocesan staffers and secrets.

In 23 years, SNAP has never seen another Catholic entity – either diocese, school, college, or religious order – that uses or has used such a form.

Rigali presides over two church services today (Saturday) at 2:30 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m. Both are at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 18th Streets and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

On Friday evening, Philadelphia’s Fox 29, ran a story about the form on its newscast. It was reported by Dave Schratwieser.

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/031111-mystery-document-appears-in-priest-probe

CONTACT
Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003 cell; SNAPdorris@gmail.com, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com


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