Survivors Network of
those Abused by Priests
Statement in Support of Mexican
of Clergy Sexual Abuse
December 6, 2005
Statement by SNAP Spokesperson, Eric Barragan
of Ventura County, CA
We are honored to be here today to support Joaquin Aguilar for bravely
reaching out to victims of sexual abuse by Fr. Nicolas Aguilar. Because
of Joaquins courage to expose molesters, kids are safer in Mexico
SNAP is an independent and confidential self-help support group of men
and women victimized by clergy. We want to be healed of our pain and protect
kids from abuse. Our most powerful tool is the light of truth. Through
our stories and our actions, we bring healing and justice.
By sharing resources and information and educating ourselves and others
about clergy abuse, we learn healthier ways to cope with the life long
effects the abuse has on us and our families.
We are grateful for the other groups here today that support Joaquin
and are doing their part to protect kids from abuse.
We want Catholics to understand that we are not here to attack the church.
Most of us were raised Catholic. We hope that the caring Catholics here
in Mexico will embrace this gift of truth that Joaquin and other victims
bring to the church, so that it will prevent other children and their
families from being robbed of their innocence and faith.
Unfortunately, our experience has been that most church officials do
not listen to our individual pleas. That is why we unite the voices of
survivors with one another and through that unity we expose the abuse
and those who aided and abetted molesters.
A year ago, we delivered a letter to President Vicente Fox through his
Consulate office in Los Angeles, California urging him to take steps to
bring Aguilar to justice and protect kids from known and accused molesting
priests in Mexico. We have not received a response to our letter.
Two weeks ago, Joaquin contacted SNAP leaders from Los Angeles for the
first time seeking support and protection for kids in Mexico.
We are deeply troubled that, Father Nicolas Aguilar has not been prosecuted
for the crimes he committed against children, both in Mexico and in the
We fear that for decades U.S. church officials have been using Mexico
as a dumping ground for predatory priests.
We, the members of SNAP in the United States feel that we have an obligation
to do all we can to reach out to victims and protect kids from these dangerous
We are convinced that numerous victims in Mexico are suffering alone
in shame and silence, fearful that no one will believe them or take steps
to put their abusers behind bars where they will never be able to harm
We also know that when victims share their stories with each other we
find that we are not alone, and many have found strength, comfort, and
validation by joining with others survivors and supporting one another
in our personal healing.
For decades, church officials have blamed us as though the abuse was
our fault and victims have suffered alone in silence with overwhelming
feelings of guilt, shame, and fear.
Despite victimizing dozens of children in the USA and Mexico, we believe
that Fr. Aguilar is still in active ministry in Mexico today.
Worse, we are convinced that church officials in Mexico and the U.S.
continue to needlessly place numerous children in the church at risk of
these known and suspected child predators. In our few days in Mexico,
we have compiled a list of over 40 priests that have been convicted, accused
or suspected of molesting children and have either allegedly traveled
and/or abused children in Mexico.
We are sad that church officials in Mexico still refuse to reach out
to victims, like Joaquin and others abused by predator priests and inform
parishioners of known and suspected molesters in the church. Thats
why we are hereto do what church officials wont do.
We are also convinced that President Fox can help these victims come
forward to police without fear of harm and take the necessary steps to
bring Aguilar and other child predators to justice in Mexico and California.
Sadly, it is rare that Catholic Priests have been prosecuted for sex
crimes against minors, primarily because of their position of unquestionable
trust and authority.
With determination, we believe prosecutors CAN find ways to put dangerous
predators, like Aguilar, behind bars where they will never harm another
child. It is what we believe the people of Mexico and the people of the
USA want. But, more important, it ensures the protection ALL children
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Joaquin Aguilar, Mexico SNAP Leader 044-55-2030-6352 or 1-888-762-7767
Mary Grant, SNAP Western Regional Director (626) 419-2930 cell
Esther Miller, SNAP Spokesperson (562) 673-9442 cell
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell