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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims disclose a THIRD Philly grand jury report

Intended for publication in 2003, it just surfaces now

It blasts Catholic-chosen therapists & treatment centers

Jurors urge new state law forbidding “gag orders” in child sex cases

“Many priests,” report says, “have been silent or covered up” the abuse

SNAP to Rigali: “Stop using Catholic therapists & facilities to treat predator priests”

WHAT:
Holding childhood photos and signs, clergy sex abuse victims will unveil a never-before-publicized THIRD scathing grand jury report about child sex crimes and cover-ups in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. It urges lawmakers to pass a new law prohibiting “gag orders” in child sex cases and reaches some harsh and different conclusions, including that t op church officials sought mental health evaluations of alleged predators
--“not primarily to diagnose and treat priests,” but rather
--“to provide justification for returning accused priests to ministry,”
--“did not want competent, unbiased (mental health) assessments” of accused predators, but
-- instead “wanted evaluations that allowed them to return those priests to ministry”

So they sent accused priests “to facilities where the archdiocese believed it could influence the evaluations.”

The little-known document also reported that
-- top church staff “knowingly accept(ed) abusive priests” from elsewhere, and
--“many non-offender priests (besides top chancery officials) have kept silent in the face of clear evidence that a priest is abusing” a child, and “in some cases have actually covered up the abuse.”

WHERE:
Outside of the Philly District Attorney’s office, 3 South Penn Square (corner of Juniper) Philadelphia

WHEN:
Tuesday, March 29 at 1:00 p.m.

WHO:
Several men and women who were sexually abused and their supporters, all of whom are members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), including a Chicago woman who is the group's founder.

WHY:
SNAP and a Boston-based research group called BishopAccountability.org are disclosing this newly-uncovered 18-page report by the Philadelphia grand jury. It resulted from a quiet 2001-2003 investigation of abuse and cover-up in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Its harsh conclusions were sealed by a judge until 2005, but its findings were given to a subsequent grand jury that reached and released somewhat different conclusions later.

The document blasts church-paid therapists who, the report says, were "untrained or poorly trained" to treat abusers or given "incomplete information" about offenders. Church-run treatment centers, the report says, "lacked adequate diagnostic expertise or refused to employ available forensic testing."

The report also criticizes “church managers” for insisting that therapists establish whether or not the abuse actually occurred, even though the therapists did not interview victims or see evidence. The goal, the report says, was to manipulate therapists into recommending that abusers be allowed back into parishes and to let church officials to claim that they employed "mental health experts" to evaluate abusive priests.

The jurors were “unable to complete” their investigation because of “the large number of (accused priests), the enormous number of victims and delays in obtaining evidence.” For several reasons (including his “frequent conferences with his lawyer during testimony,” the jurors were only able to question now-retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua about four of the dozens of accused predators.

The grand jury, which interviewed 73 witnesses and 994 exhibits, sympathized with victims, stating that they no longer "wondered why it took victims so long to report, but instead wonder how victims get the courage to come forward at all." They blast church officials who placed known and admitted predators in far-away parishes without warning other priests of the danger.

Copies of the report will are available at the news conference and at http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2003_09_25_First_Philadelphia_Grand_Jury_Report.pdf (after 11 am Eastern Time).

The report became unsealed when a second, more extensive grand jury report was disclosed in 2005. Because that second document was longer and more recent, the first report went unnoticed. Another report was issued, by yet another grand jury, just weeks ago.

The first grand jury’s foreperson was Wayne D. Crossley and the report was sealed by Judge C. Darnell Jones of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. The jurors investigated from May 2002 until September 2003.

CONTACT:
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, IL, SNAP president and founder (312) 399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com
David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, SNAP director (314) 566-9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Terrence McKiernan of Boston MA, Bishop-Accountability.org, (508) 479-9304, mckiernan1@comcast.net
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP outreach director (314) 503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com


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