Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SNAP blasts Pueblo Catholic officials for secrecy

Statement by Jeb Barrett, SNAP Denver Director, 720-222-2412
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

We're here to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

It protects the vulnerable every time a clergy sex abuse victim finds the strength and courage to do what this man is doing – taking action to expose a predator. We applaud him for doing this.

It heals the wounded every time church officials find the strength and courage to reach out to others in pain. We hope Catholic authorities – here an in Pueblo – will do that now.

Let’s get specific.

We know Burke can't hurt any other kids now.
We know Burke apparently didn't work for the Denver archdiocese.
We know Burke's supervisors were and are in Pueblo.

Still, that doesn't mean Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput has no responsibility here. In fact, he does have responsibility.

He’s the highest ranking church official in Colorado.
He’s are likely the shepherd for some of Burke's victims (who were abused elsewhere but likely live here now).
He’s perhaps the shepherd of some of Burke's victims (who he may have abused even before becoming ordained and going to Pueblo)
He has a website, diocesan newspaper, dozens of parish bulletins, and many staff, who could spread the word about Burke and beg anyone he hurt to come forward and get help.

He could do what Jesus did and would do – do all he can to alleviate pain. Or, he could duck and dodge and deny his power and his duty.

Chaput could do what’s easiest, act like a bureaucrat, and 'pass the buck' to Pueblo church officials. Or he could rise to the occasion, act like a leader, and reach out to the wounded, doing all he can to find and offer help to those molested Burke or any other church employee – priest, nun, seminarian, bishop or lay worker.

We beg him to chart a new course, show real courage, stop splitting tiny hairs and parsing small words and making arbitrary distinctions. We beg Archbishop Chaput to act like a real shepherd and invite anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Burke’s crimes to come forward and get help.

Finally, even though Chaput is not a party to this litigation, he could and should denounce the efforts of his Colorado colleagues to keep secrets about Burke’s misdeeds. It’s wrong for church officials to violate their promises and hide records about predator priests. Chaput knows this. He can and should publicly denounce the Pueblo diocese’s secrecy order.

Can he force his Pueblo colleagues to stop playing legal hardball and start being honest? No.
Can he express public disdain for playing legal hardball and being dishonest? Yes.
He can, and he should.

(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 since 1988 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

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

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests