The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding New Bishop
of LaCrosse, WI


For more information:
Peter Isely, of Milwaukee, SNAP Mid-west Leader, 414 429 7259
Brenda Varga, of Diocese of La Crosse, SNAP Spokesperson, 715 572 5009
Barbara Blaine, of Chicago, SNAP President 312 399 4747
David Clohessy, of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790

For immediate release:
December 29, 2004

Victim’s Group Wants New Bishop To Do Better Than His Predecessor

SNAP Urges Catholics & Victims To Remain Vigilant

Protecting Kids Is Everyone's Job, Group Says

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, today commented on La Crosse's new bishop. Peter Isely of Milwaukee, Mid-west Leader of SNAP issued this statement.

Jerome E. Listecki, from Chicago, was named Wednesday by Pope John Paul II as the new bishop for the Roman Catholic diocese of La Crosse.

"Wisconsin Catholics will inevitably assume that, when it comes to the critical issue of abusive clergy, Bishop Listecki will be more sensitive and proactive than his predecessor. Sadly, that is not necessarily the case,” said Peter Isely. “Bishop Listecki must actively work to change the way the Diocese of La Crosse deals with victims of abuse.

According to victims in the area, the Diocese of La Crosse has done not well in its dealing with cases of abuse by priests. Brenda Varga, a survivor of abuse from La Crosse’s diocese and SNAP spokesperson knows all too well because of her personal experience. “The La Crosse diocese has done the bare minimum and treated us as enemies rather than as wounded victims with needs. We received lots of empty promises and little help,” said Varga.

Varga hopes Listecki will set a new direction in how the Diocese of La Crosse deals with victims of abuse. She stated: “Victims in La Crosse are still hurting and are in need of compassion and healing. We also fear that other children could be hurt as we were. I hope this new bishop does all he can to use his new position to help protect kids and help victims heal.”

SNAP members urge Catholics to remain skeptical and vigilant. Complacency never safeguarded anyone. If youngsters and vulnerable adults are to be truly protected, the continued concern and involvement of everyone is needed.

And we urge abuse victims to continue finding the strength and courage to break their silence, get therapy, and report the crimes to police and prosecutors, no matter when they happened.

Kids are safest when molesters are exposed and jailed. That means contacting the independent professionals in law enforcement, not church leaders.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( is a volunteer self-help organization of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters.

The group works to end the cycle of abuse by supporting one another in personal healing and by pursuing justice and institutional change by holding individual perpetrators responsible and the Catholic Church accountable.




Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests