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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
on Supporters to Show Compassion
Allentown, PA/February 28, 2003 - Tammy Lerner, a Mid-Atlantic leader with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, today issued the following statement:
"According to the police report in the case, a teenage orphan in New Britain, Connecticut was raped in December by her Catholic priest, who later admitted to the rape in detail to investigators. Since then, the priest's local parish has rallied to his defense at the urging of their pastor, the Rev. Paul Wysocki, who referred to the young victim from the pulpit as a 'tramp'. The victim is being raised alone by her Polish-speaking grandmother in New Britain.
The legacy of rape, cover-up, and 'blame the victim' tactics has existed in the Catholic Church because church leaders have placed the institutional church and the priesthood ahead of children and abuse victims. This legacy must be replaced by a cultural shift in the church that focuses on compassion and understanding for abuse victims, and not just for the accused perpetrators, as would appear to be the case at Sacred Heart Church in New Britain. In this case, Catholics have a unique opportunity to apply their Christian mercy and compassion to someone who is both child and victim.
That is why SNAP, in coordination with the New Jersey based group HOST, Healing Our Survivors Together (www.healingtogether.org), is announcing the formation of the 'Broken Angel Fund' to support the healing of this young victim of clergy rape in New Britain. All proceeds from this fund will be used to directly support the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of this young victim, and will be distributed in coordination with a licensed social worker in Connecticut.
SNAP calls upon all parents, Catholics, and other supporters, including those at Sacred Heart Church in New Britain where Father Roman Kramek, the accused perpetrator, was assigned before the rape, to contribute generously to this fund as a sign of compassion and fairness.
SNAP also calls upon Hartford Archbishop Daniel Cronin, who condemned the statements against the victim by Father Wysocki, to take more aggressive action in the case of Father Roman Kramek. This includes meeting in the archdiocese with clergy abuse survivors to educate Catholics about ways to show compassion for abuse victims in the church, and a contribution from the archdiocese to the Broken Angel Fund.
Tax-deductible contributions can be made through the parish sponsor of HOST at the following address:
Members of SNAP and HOST genuinely believe that by contributing to the Broken Angel Fund, people have a concrete opportunity to show church leaders that it is wrong to blame the victim. Instead we must rally to support her at this most fragile point in her life. In the name of fairness and Christian love, we ask people everywhere to consider contributing to the Broken Angel Fund."
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is an independent, twelve year old, 4,500- member, all-volunteer, self-help group of men and women who were sexually victimized by clergy (priests, bishops, nuns, brothers and other church employees and officials). It is based in Chicago and its website is www.survivorsnetwork.org
For more information contact:
Tammy Lerner, SNAP, 610-298-8408
(office) or 610-509-9568 (cell)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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