Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Statement on recent abuse settlements against the Archdiocese of Dubuque

Statement by Steve Theisen, Iowa SNAP Director, 319-231-1663

It is with sadness that we learn than even more children were abused by religious within the Archdiocese of Dubuque. It is with equal sadness that we learn that the Archdiocese knew of these abuses and did not report these crimes to law enforcement, did not warn parents, and did not inform parishioners.

I applaud these victims in finding the courage to come forward. Their courage will help other victims come forward, whether abused by religious or others.

I hope these settlements help these survivors continue on their journey of survival and encourage them to continue with therapy.

The Archbishop's responsibility doesn't end here. He now has a moral duty to aggressively reach out to others who were molested by these predators and beg them to come forward, get help, and call police. There are still, we suspect, dozens of others who are silently suffering in shame, confusion and self-blame. The bishop needs to try to find and help them.

It is fitting that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is my hope that those who are uninformed of the consequences of abuse and say things such as "so what, it was so many years ago," "get on with life," "Father was such a good man," or "they are in it for the money" become educated about the extent of abuse in Iowa and become educated about the life-long consequences child abuse causes especially since the abuse occurs during the child's formative years.

As horrific as religious abuse is, I hope people and legislators realize that 1 in 5 kids are sexually abused before they reach age 18. Child sexual abuse, by far, is not only a "Catholic thing." Priests and nuns have abused but they did not abuse 1 in 5 kids. Child sexual abuse is not only a staggering cost to victims but to our entire society; abused kids keep quiet for decades out of fear and shame while the perpetrators continue to abuse and are seldom ever exposed for their crimes or brought to justice.

The Iowa Department of Education's Annual Condition of Education Report for 2007 reported 516,000 students in K-12 statewide in Iowa's public and non-public schools, which equates to more than 100,000 sexually abused Iowa children currently (and repeated every 12 years)!

Sexual predators operate under a cloak of anonymity. Any institution, including the Archdiocese of Dubuque, should be held accountable, like anyone who aids or abets child sexual abuse. Author Leon J. Podles, Ph.D., stated, "attacking sexual abuse is not attacking the Catholic Church but is seeking to hold it to its own standards of justice and mercy and love."

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests