SNAP
Statement



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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Saturday, March 13, 2010

SNAP statement at events this weekend

We are clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), or we are loved ones of victims and/or concerned Catholics. Before we begin, we would like to take a few moments to remember the victims of child sexual abuse who lost the battle to heal and whom we have lost to suicide.

We would like to thank you for joining us today - Our goals with this event is to show our solidarity with the brave men and women who have come forward to tell their stories of clergy sexual abuse in Europe and to express our disappointment and disgust with the actions of church leaders who have recklessly endangered children all over the globe.

The large and growing Catholic sex scandal across Europe is shining a light of truth on the long-hidden stories of deeply wounded women and men who were raped, sodomized and molested as children by Catholic clergy. These victims have begun speaking up in recent weeks – exposing predators, calling law enforcement, protecting kids and healing themselves.

We want to publicly express our sorrow for the pain of these courageous victims in Germany, Ireland, Austria and The Netherlands, and praise them for their bravery. We’re convinced that there are thousands of others across Europe who have been similarly victimized by Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and bishops.

This light of truth has shown that the pattern and policy of cover-up goes all the way to Pope Benedict, who, we are learning, may have had a personal hand in covering up sex abuse, transferring predator priests, and putting innocence children in harm's way.

This kind of behavior is not acceptable!

We are here to demand that this behavior stop and all of the people who abused children and covered up the crimes be exposed and punished.

This is a global problem, and only a fool would think otherwise. The Catholic church is a world-wide monarchy structured and ruled the same way across the globe. The 2001 church policy of covering up sex abuse was written by Pope Benedict when he led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithful. Until now, the Vatican has received a "pass" when it comes to child sex crimes. It is our sincere hope that the revelations of the past few weeks will force law enforcement to no longer turn a blind eye to child sex crimes in religious institutions.

All victims, in Europe and across the globe, need and deserve support and help, especially from independent sources. That’s what we want to provide. And we believe that secular authorities have both a moral duty and better resources – unbiased, experienced professionals in law enforcement – to better protect kids.

We can all work together to create a safe world for our children. That is why we are asking:

- That church officials admit that the church’s horrific, on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis is world-wide, still happening, and demands truly effective steps by secular authorities to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded
- That governmental officials – here and Europe - conduct independent probes into cover ups of clergy sex crimes in Catholic schools and dioceses, and reform archaic, arbitrary, “predator-friendly” laws that protect pedophiles and supervisors who employ, hide and transfer them and
- That anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes – here, in Europe or anywhere - to call police (not bishops). When victims and witnesses stay silent, predators walk free and abuse keeps happening. But when victims and witnesses step forward, there’s at least a chance for prevention, justice and healing.

Thank you - we will now answer any questions you have.


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org