The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statements

Statement Regarding
Dallas Morning News Investigation of
Abusive Priests Hiding Abroad

For More Information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director 314-566-9790 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, President 312-399-4747 cell

For immediate release:
June 20, 2004


"Three investigative journalists from the Dallas Morning News have found at least two hundred documented cases of known or suspected abusive clergy who have moved or been moved across national boundaries and have "started new lives in unsuspecting communities, often with the help of church officials." Given the historic secrecy of church leaders, we strongly suspect that hundreds more cases like these have yet to be disclosed. Literally thousands of kids are at risk because many church officials still disgregard common sense and common decency, not to mention civil laws.

This ground-breaking investigation should deeply trouble every single Catholic. It serves as a depressing reminder that the cosmetic so-called "reforms" instituted by American bishops under tremendous public pressure are largely ignored and woefully inadequate.

According to the report, "Nearly half of the more than 200 cases identified in the investigation involve clergy who tried to elude law enforcement. About 30 remain free in one country while facing ongoing criminal inquiries, arrest warrants or convictions in another."

To move a known or suspected abusive priest within a diocese or country is despicable but relatively easy. To move a potentially dangerous man across national borders usually involves more deception and preparation, and is therefore more despicable. This is especially true when the cleric is sent to a Third World country, where even more vulnerable children are less safe because of weaker law enforcement, weaker legal systems, and weaker news media. The educational and cultural and financial gaps between priests and parishioners are even more pronounced in impoverished countries, which makes more abuse more likely and makes detecting and punishing offenders less likely.

These findings cry out for immediate and decisive Vatican action to safeguard children."

LINK to Dallas News Investigative Report


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests