The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, October 9, 2009
SNAP statement on Vermont ruling
Statement by SNAP National Outreach Director Barbara Dorris, 314-862-7688, 314-503-0003
Vermont is a safer state today because of this verdict. We hope it brings long overdue comfort to this brave victim and his loved ones
We disagree with the jury on punitive damages. We feel it’s crucial that punitive damages and other pressure be kept on the diocese because its so-called ‘reforms’ are largely ‘window dressing’ and are much more focused on public relations than abuse prevention
For decades, our courts have used financial damages to deter future wrongdoing, especially when past wrong doing is egregious. Why should church officials be exempted?
Kids are both precious and vulnerable. One key way to protect them is to punish those who endanger them. That's what America's bishops have failed and are failing to do. Frankly, it would be irresponsible NOT to issue stern consequences for repeated recklessness and deceit that led to serial child rapes.
Still, this impartial jury has sent a strong, clear signal to employers that it's immoral and devastating to protect powerful adults' reputations over innocent kids' safety.
We hope Vermont's bishop will act responsibly, honor the jury's verdict, and focus on preventing future child sex crimes instead of minimizing past ones and slighting current ones.
An important lesson here is that older crimes can be and are being exposed because the cover up of those crimes is on-going.
More than ever, police and prosecutors have the tools and the will to go after horrific crimes, even when the defendants are seemingly powerful individuals or institutions.
When victims & witnesses stay silent, nothing changes. When victims and witnesses speak up, at least sometimes a child is protected, the truth is exposed, and justice is done
(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 21 years and have more than 9,000 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 SNAPnetwork.org)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests