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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Arbitration sought on “contract breach” dispute

Victims disclose KC bishop’s new eight page defense

Finn says he is living up to 2008 deal, but group disagrees

Two men will kneel for 30 minutes in prayer at church HQ

They’re “outraged” over new “pro-Finn” diocesan mass next week

SNAP: Diocese should focus on “vulnerable kids, not powerful prelate”

Self help group calls event next week “an unprecedented level of intimidation”

Finn’s “circling the wagons” & “ostracizing” those who question him, SNAP says

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
--disclose a new, eight page, legal response just sent to them by KC’s bishop,
--dispute many of the bishop’s claims in the document, and
-- release a letter they’re sending seeking arbitrator to resolve whether the bishop is honoring a 2008 settlement contract designed to help heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.

Wearing small sandwich board signs, two of them will then kneel on the sidewalk for 30 minutes in silent prayer focused on innocent children and wounded victims. They will harshly blast the bishop for what they call “an unprecedented level of intimidation and insensitivity:” – a just-scheduled, diocesan-sponsored special mass to pray for the bishop himself (which makes no mention of the suffering and vulnerability of young child sex abuse and pornography victims and their families).

WHEN
TODAY, Wednesday, June 22, 2:15 p.m.

WHERE:
Outside the KC chancery (diocesan headquarters) at 20 West Ninth Street, Kansas City, MO

WHO
Two members of a victims’ self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) and at least one concerned Kansas City Catholic man who is the local director of a church reform group called VOFT, Voice of the Faithful

WHY
Two weeks ago, several victims who settled clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against the KC MO diocese in 2008 cried “foul.” The argued that top church officials seem to be violating some of the 19 non-economic reform steps spelled out in that settlement (in part by keeping two priests in ministry despite credible allegations against them and by not reporting suspicions and knowledge of child sex crimes promptly to police and prosecutors.)

Yesterday, Bishop Robert Finn, through his lawyer, responded to the victims’ concerns with an eight page letter claiming that the diocese is in full compliance. But little or no documentation was provided, and victims are far from persuaded by Finn’s words alone. Now, they are formally pushing for arbitration to resolve the dispute.

(The settlement contained a provision that such disputes would be dealt with through arbitration.)

Victims are also outraged that Catholic officials are organizing yet another public event “for the intentions of Bishop Finn.” It’s a special mass on June 29. The focus, SNAP believes, should be on rallying behind vulnerable kids and wounded victims, not behind a powerful prelate who endangered children.

Especially because this event is sponsored by the diocese itself, SNAP believes this is like an embattled politician desperately trying to ‘rally the base’ and guilt-trip victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.

The diocese’s “Director of Sacred Liturgy,” Deacon Ralph Wehner, will be Master of Ceremonies. The event will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 3333 Broadway Street in Kansas City, MO

Because “footage of the Mass may be acquired by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN),” a Catholic TV network, the diocese is “really hoping for a full house,” according to an email sent out by church officials.

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/wake-sex-abuse-scandals-diocesan-priests-host-latin-mass

CONTACT
David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, David Biersmith 816 437 9947


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