The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, November 30, 2009
Clergy sex abuse victims appeal to CT Catholics
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)
Tomorrow pages of long-secret church records about pedophile priests and their corrupt colleagues are to be made public.
We urge Connecticut citizens and Catholics to carefully read the documents themselves and the secular media's accounts of them, instead of, or at least in addition to, the "spin" put on them by Bishop Lori's public relations machine.
We especially urge people to ask themselves, as they read, "Did reasonable adults know, at this time, that child sex crimes were illegal and should be reported to police?"
That, in our view, is the crucial question. It's not what other institutions in society may or may have been doing, or what church therapists (chosen by bishops) may or may not have recommended, or what church officials may or may not have believed about forgiveness.
Those questions are, at best, secondary and at worst, distracting. The main issue is, "Do these records show that highly placed and highly educated Catholic staffers ignored or concealed crimes - from parishioners, police, prosecutors or the press?" We suspect that's what the documents will show.
These records provide a rationale and an opportunity to raise a difficult question, one we hope every current or former Connecticut Catholic will ask his or her loved ones: “Were you ever hurt by a priest, nun, bishop, seminarian or brother?”
This kind of direct, person-to-person outreach is often very effective at prodding reluctant, fearful, shame-filled victims of childhood trauma. We beg Catholics to raise this difficult subject with their friends and relatives, and to know that by doing this, you may be helping to unlock decades-old hurts and secrets and starting to heal deep-seated, crippling wounds.
Finally, we are grateful to the newspapers which fought tenaciously for years to help expose the truth about Connecticut clergy sex crimes and cover ups. We hope their commitment to investigative journalism will inspire other third parties to take legal action to uncover church cover ups.
(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)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests