The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Victims blasts church sex policy ‘tweaks’
They want special investigation of 3 dioceses
Hundreds of Catholic prelates will vote on plan this week
Group feels “major overhaul,” not “minor tweaking,” is needed
SNAP: Latest plan doesn’t penalize those who ignore or conceal abuse
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy molestation victims will
--harshly criticize America’s Catholic bishops for making only “minimal tweaks” to their abuse policy, and
--call on the church’s national abuse panel to launch investigations into three dioceses where troubling abuse and cover up scandals have erupted in the last few months: Kansas City MO, Gallup NM and Philadelphia PA
TODAY, Wednesday, June 15 at 1:00 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 900 Bellevue Way NE, in Bellevue WA (where hundreds of Catholic bishops across the US are meeting).
Two-three victims of childhood clergy sex abuse who belong to a self help group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s outreach director
Today, US bishops will discuss – and tomorrow they will vote on – a new draft child sex abuse policy. Advance copies of that document show that the prelates plan to make only very minor tweaks, despite very recent clergy sex abuse and cover ups scandals in Missouri, Pennsylvania and New Mexico (which show, SNAP says, the need to substantially overhaul the policy). http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/us/15bishops.html?_r=1
The National Catholic Reporter writes that draft changes are“little more than date and number updates and language tweaks for clarity.”
For weeks, a number of bishops have promised to “re-examine” the policy in recent months. Evidently, however, there has been little real discussion or serious effort to do so, SNAP believes. So the group contends that, at a bare minimum, the church’s national abuse panel –called the National Review Board – launch investigations into three dioceses that are currently embroiled in recent cover up scandals.
--Kansas City’s bishop admits that, for months, his staff withheld evidence of a priest’s possible child porn from the police and did little to respond to a year old, detailed memo from a school principal about the priest’s misconduct.
--Philadelphia’s Cardinal is accused of keeping dozens of credibly accused child molesting clerics on the job until just weeks ago, and one of hit top aides faces criminal child endangerment charges.
--Gallup’s bishop reportedly hasn’t ever met with his local abuse committee, has been especially secretive about abuse, and has reportedly entered into a number of confidential settlements in recent years with abuse victims.
SNAP dramatic reforms are needed to better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. But the group 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.
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