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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex victims call for investigation

They want Belgian government to probe dioceses

Church-sponsored panels are “nearly meaningless,” group says

SNAP: “Only a truly independent look at cover ups will protect kids”

Self help organization also announces support meeting and public forum

What
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will publicly urge the Belgian government to launch a thorough, formal investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the nation’s Catholic dioceses, like Irish secular authorities have done. They will also announce that, in September in Brussels, they are holding
-- a confidential self-help support group meeting for victims & their loved-ones, and
-- an open public forum at which citizens and Catholics can voice their concerns about the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis, and discuss ways to individuals can better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

When:
Tuesday, July 26, 1:30 p.m.

Where:
Outside the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula , Sinter-Goedeleplein, 1000 Brussels

Who:
Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a US-based international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a US woman who founded the organization more than 20 years ago

Why:
Clergy sex abuse victims are grateful for but worried by the revelations in the newly-released Cloyne report, commissioned by Irish secular authorities, which shows even recent cover ups of clergy sex crimes by top Catholic officials in Ireland and Rome. They want to see similar government-run investigations in Belgium into the church hierarchy and believe such probes are the only real way to expose predators, protect kids, and deter wrongdoing.

Victims do not believe the parliamentary inquiry held by Belgian authorities was a thorough and independent investigation like the four Irish reports or the eight US grand juries.

And hoping to break what they call “a continuing culture of secrecy surrounding clergy sex crimes and real safety steps,” victims are holding two events in Brussels on Sept. 14, at locations to be announced later.

The SNAP support group meeting will offer “consolation and guidance” to those who have been victimized and their relatives. The SNAP public forum will give any person who participates a chance to speak and to hear directly from victims what can and should be done to make the church, and society as a whole, safer and healthier for children.

Contact:
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com

Lieve Halsberghe, +32 475 910 918, lievehalsberghe@hotmail.com, SNAPbelgium@gmail.com

Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com


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