SNAP responds: Harrisburg diocese releases names of accused clergy.
For immediate release, Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Statement by: Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Regional Leader: 636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com
Today the Harrisburg Diocese released the names of 71 accused clerics of child sex abuse. And they will remove the names of all Harrisburg bishops from buildings since 1937 due to coverup of bishops.
Church authorities responded only because they were compelled by the public release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury next week. The Church hierarchy knew about the systematic sexual abuse of children and did nothing. While the public has previously known of only ten publicly identified predators in the Harrisburg diocese (BishopAccountability.org ), the Church hierarchy knew, maybe for decades, of sixty other credibly accused clergy. This demonstrates that for Church hierarchy, the reputation of the Church and the Church hierarchy was more important that the safety of children.
This is an incredible number of accused priests who have been kept secret from the public. It was only through the courage of Attorney General Shapiro and the people of Pennsylvania that took on this powerful institution to investigate and force the exposure of more possible threats to the safety of children, minors, and the vulnerable. Without civil society (grand jury) we might not have ever learned of these credibly accused clergy.
SNAP and other survivors have been knocking on the doors of the church to open the secret files, expose the predators, remove the predators, and inform the public. The Church fought back every step of the way. The Church continues to oppose reform of child protection laws in Pennsylvania, as well as in other states such as South Dakota and New York. It was recently revealed that the Church spent $2 million dollars for lobbyists in New York to oppose statute of limitation reforms.
Pennsylvania shows the way to other states to impanel their own grand juries to investigate the systematic sexual abuse of children by clergy. District attorneys need to gather their courage and investigate this powerful institution.
An immediate step is for the Pennsylvania legislature is to enact dramatic reform of statute of limitation laws and expose those politicians who stand it the way of a safer community.
The diocese only makes disclosure because the PA grand jury report will be released in a few days--they disclosed only when they are forced to do so, not as the result of desire to protect children and the community.
This disclosure by Bishop Ronald W. Gainer gives proof to accusations that church hierarchy were complicit in the cover-up of historic and systematic sexual abuse of children, minors, and the vulnerable
It is extremely disturbing and sad that only because a brave Attorney General takes on a powerful institution to protect children and exposes how church hierarchy protects reputation at the cost of threatening children.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has network of more than 25,000 survivors and supporters. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - Judy Jones, 636-433-2511, firstname.lastname@example.org),Tim Lennon (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org); Becky Ianni (703-801-6044, email@example.com)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.