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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims release bishops sex policy changes

Newly-disclosed 60 page document to be given out

Hundreds of Catholic prelates will vote on it this week

Group feels “major overhaul,” not “minor tweaking,” is needed

SNAP: Latest plan doesn’t penalize those who ignore or conceal abuse

Bishops should not be able to “hand-pick” their abuse panels, SNAP says

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy molestation victims will disclose and blast the new draft child sex abuse policy that will be voted on this week by all of America’s Catholic bishops. They will also urge Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George and his colleagues to radically revamp the proposal to include harsh penalties for those who
--ignore and conceal abuse, or
--violate the abuse policy itself.

Victims also want new provisions that would prevent bishops from hand-picking every single member of diocesan review boards, which supposedly evaluate each abuse report.

WHEN
TODAY, Tuesday, June 14 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
In front of the Chicago Archdiocese headquarters (‘chancery office’), 835 North Rush Street in Chicago

WHO
Three victims of childhood clergy sexual abuse and belong to a self help group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests – SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time executive director

WHY
SNAP has obtained an “”leaked” advance copy of the US bishops new draft child sex abuse policy. This week in Seattle, several hundred American prelates – including Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George – will vote to alter the nine year old document. According to Religion News Service, the planned revisions include “no major changes,” despite very recent clergy sex abuse and cover ups scandals in Kansas City and Philadelphia which show, SNAP says, the need to substantially overhaul the policy.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-06-10-catholic-church-sex-abuse-reforms-review_n.htm

SNAP believes dramatic reforms are needed to better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded and that George should spearhead the effort to make such “real reforms.” (George is the past president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and sometimes gives himself credit for allegedly playing a role in writing and passing the policy.)

SNAP notes there has been few, if any, bishops have tried over the past nine years to improve the policy.

The group especially wants to see the policy amended to mandate harsh penalties for any church employee from custodian to cardinal who ignore or conceals child sex crimes. There are no such provisions now, and virtually never, SNAP claims, are those who “enable” child molesting clerics ever punished for their misdeeds.

Each diocese has a review board, entirely hand-picked by bishops, which is supposed to deal with clergy sex cases. But SNAP says church officials often ignore or mislead these volunteers. So SNAP proposes that bishops pick just two members of each board and those members be allowed to pick others to fill out the panels.

SNAP contends that the few minor changes are largely designed to please Vatican bureaucrats, not make a real difference in safeguarding kids.

CONTACT
SNAP director David Clohessy of St. Louis 314 566 9790 cell, SNAP President Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com, Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688, 314 503 0003 SNAPdorris@gmail.com


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