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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two new PA bishops announced; 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)

It’s disturbing and disappointing that Pope Benedict is elevating two long time Philadelphia archdiocesan ‘insiders’ to higher positions. (Bishop Joseph McFadden will now head the Harrisburg diocese. Msgr. Michael Fitzgerald becomes an auxiliary bishop in Philadelphia.)

When naming new bishops, the Pope should look at dioceses that don’t have long, well-documented records of concealing child sex crimes like Philadelphia has. He should pick men who aren’t so closely tied with such corrupt administrations.

The Pope can’t have it both ways. He can’t claim he’ll “do everything possible” to stop future child sex abuse while rewarding those who do little or nothing to protect children, expose predators or help victims in particularly scandal-ridden dioceses.

It’s naïve to assume and disingenuous to claim that these clerics weren’t connected to clergy sex scandals. By virtue of their powerful positions and long tenures in the Philadelphia archdiocese (and the archdiocese’s 90 proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics), it’s inevitable that they knew or suspected child sex crimes and cover ups. No evidence has surfaced showing that either man did anything to warn parents, safeguard kids, or report pedophiles. There’s also no indication that either spoke out when top Philadelphia church officials were hiding child sex crimes, blocking secular child sex reform measures or attacking prosecutors and jurors who finally unearthed some of those horrific crimes.

We’re particularly troubled by McFadden’s promotion. As Cardinal Krol’s long time secretary, and head of archdiocesan schools, he’s especially likely to have learned of child sex and cover up cases. And as head of his own diocese now, let’s hope he quickly proves us wrong and takes immediate, effective steps to protect children.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members. 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 home, 314-503-0003 cell)


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