Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, September 21, 2009

Pope's US representative 'splits hairs;' Angry sex abuse victims respond

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)

Shame on Vatican officials and especially the Pope's US representative, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, for splitting hairs and trying to evade justice by claiming the church hierarchy was somehow improperly 'served' in a legal proceeding.

This is precisely the kind of aggressive lawyering one would expect from a desperate politician, not from alleged spiritual figures. These Catholic officials are acting like courtroom

The church hierarchy wants it both ways: they want to protect their secrets and assets by taking advantage of the US justice system - the Chapter 11 process - but at the same time, want to be immune from the requirements of that justice system - answering in court for allegations of wrongdoing.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)

Vatican official asks judge to dismiss Davenport diocese bankruptcy trustee's claim

Ann McGlynn | Posted: Monday, September 21, 2009 2:00 am

The Apostolic Nuncio - the Vatican's representative in the United States - is asking a federal judge to dismiss a $72,900 request made of it by the trustee overseeing the Diocese of Davenport's bankruptcy settlement.

Pietro Sambi, who is the archbishop of the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C., says he has diplomatic immunity from lawsuits.

Sambi's attorneys argue in a filing in U.S. District Court, Davenport, that the request pending in front of a bankruptcy court judge should be heard by a district court judge - a judge nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

"Withdrawal of the reference to the bankruptcy court is necessary in light of the dignity and respect that must be accorded to His Excellency, the foreign relations implications of a lawsuit against the head of a diplomatic mission, and the need to resolve important issues of diplomatic immunity law central to this proceeding," the motion states.

Sambi says that once the request is in front of a district court judge, it should be dismissed because it was served by mail, which violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, they say.

Trustee Robert Berger filed notices last fall that he would be seeking almost $475,000 in payments made to other entities by the Diocese of Davenport in the months leading up to its filing for bankruptcy in October 2006.

The payments ranged from prepayment of a funeral for retired Bishop William Franklin to more than $100,000 in tuition payments made on behalf of men studying to become priests and the almost $73,000 paid to the Apostolic Nuncio.

Any recovery of payments would mean more money for the sex abuse survivors who filed claims in bankruptcy court.

The Davenport diocese filed for bankruptcy after it lost its first civil sex abuse trial. The diocese, its insurance company and the creditors committee agreed to a $37 million settlement, with the stipulation that all Catholic entities in the diocese will be released from liability just as the diocese is.

The diocese also agreed to several nonmonetary items as part of the settlement. A hearing on whether officials are carrying out those agreements is set for Oct. 7 at the federal courthouse in Davenport.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests