The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statements

Victims Group Blasts Bishops for
Haulting Second Audit


For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

SNAP calls on bishops to support full disclosure

Statement by SNAP founder Barbara Blaine of Chicago 312 399 4747:

Once again America's Bishops are backtracking from commitments they have made to protect children. According to today's Washington Post, the bishops have rejected the
recommendation made by the National Review Board to begin another round of
audits looking at how bishops deal with allegations of sexual misconduct by priests.

Chicago's Judge Anne M. Burke chairs that Board told the Post that the bishops
should "immediately go ahead with another round of audits, as we believe the charter requires."

Today SNAP is calling upon Judge Burke and her board to diligently work to persuade the bishops to carry out the audits as they had promised.

While criticizing the bishops for their weak Charter in June 2002, SNAP members were assured that Burke's board would hold bishops accountable. But by refusing to allow the audits today, bishops are successfully preventing the review board and lay Catholics from knowing the truth.

Thousands of us were sexually assaulted by trusted priests because bishops engaged in silence, secrecy and cover-ups. By refusing to allow the audits it seems that the bishops are reverting to the old practices that allowed the abuse to fester for decades.

Statement by SNAP leader David Cerulli of New York NY, Board Member
(917) 757-1791 cell:

We are extremely troubled to learn that, according today's Washington Post, "…the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has rejected the recommenddation by a panel of prominent Roman Catholic lay people that it immediately authorize a second round of independent audits of sex abuse procedures in dioceses across the country."

While we had serious questions about the way the audits were conducted and the actual findings, we also held out hope that a second round of audits would move beyond the bishops "voluntary self-survey" of the first so-called "audits". We believe an even more in-depth accounting should take place, in which unrestricted access to all files would be provided to independent investigators.

This latest action by bishops (the Washington Post article speciffically names Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York and Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb.) means is a return to the dangerous policies of the past. This is a very disturbing fact that should concern, not only all Catholics, but parents of children everywhere.

What is needed is even greater scrutiny, not less, if the bishops have any hope of regaining the trust in their leadership that has been nearly completely lost. What is needed is the truth. The return to greater secrecy is not only wrong, but an act of cowardice that only creates more anxiety for parents and places children at continued risk.

We in SNAP are calling upon those bishops who disagree with an apparent handful of their colleagues and not allow the beginning stages of a long process of rebuilding trust to be lost to a few bishops who fear full disclosure.

For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis MO, National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago IL, President (312) 399-4747 cell
Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, Western Regional Director (626) 419-2930
Mark Serrano of Leesburg VA, Board Member (703) 771-9606
Peter Isely of Milwaukee WI, Board Member (414) 963-8617
Terrie Light of San Francisco CA, Board Member (510) 517-3338
Janet Patterson of Conway Springs KS, Board Member (620) 456-3220




Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests