The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Abuse Victims "Disappointed" in
July 23, 2003
"At this point, tough talk from a prosecutor is like soothing talk from a bishop. Neither alone keeps kids safe. We need firm action, especially from law enforcement officials and legislators, to protect children in the future. We hope that Reilly follows through with vigilance and lobbying to make sure children are safer in the future.
We in SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, share Reilly's view that it's simply too early to assume or know whether any of the alleged church-initiated 'reforms' will make a difference. So we believe it's critical that abuse victims continue to report to police and prosecutors, and not to church officials.
Many can criticize church leaders, but only a prosecutor can prosecute them. We had really hoped that Reilly would have dug deeper, tried harder and been more innovative in pursuing possible criminal action against those who oversaw men who severely hurt hundreds of innocent Catholic children.
We are disappointed that Reilly's report fails to stress the single most effective legislative remedy to this crisis: extending or eliminating the antiquated and dangerous criminal and civil statutes of limitations that prevent victims and prosecutors from exposing, removing and charging child molesters.
Toughening penalties for failure to report suspected abuse is a small step forward, assuming that Reilly and his fellow prosecutors aggressively lobby to ensure that this legislation actually succeeds. But overall, we are disappointed that his report did not include more specific recommendations on how to hold molesters and those who shield them accountable in the future and on how to prevent future abuse.
Virtually any written grand jury report is better than none at all, and virtually any proposed legislative reform is better than none at all. But more tangible proven steps must still be taken if harm to youngsters is to be prevented.
Our message to survivors today is: You are not alone. It wasn't your fault. You can get better. But, now more than ever, you must break your silence. You needn't file a lawsuit or speak publicly. But telling someone is the first step toward recovery and the first step toward keeping another child safe.
Tell your parents. Tell your siblings. Tell your spouse. Tell the police. Tell a therapist. Or tell others who've endured the same trauma you did and who have survived: tell SNAP.
Silence is deadly. And silence leaves other kids at risk. So now more than ever, please come forward and tell someone."
SNAP is the nation's largest and oldest support group for individuals who have been molested by trusted religious figures. It is based in Chicago and has 4600 members. Please check out our web site: www. SNAPnetwork.org
For more information, please contact the following survivors & SNAP leaders:
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, St. Louis 314 566 9790
cell, 314 645 5915
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests