The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, June 25, 2010
Clergy sex abuse victims respond to Austrian bishops' payment plan
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)
Austrian bishops are putting the cart before the horse. The first priority must be to protect kids who are vulnerable now from child molesting clerics who live and work among unsuspecting parents. Before even discussing compensation for adults already wounded, bishops should act to safeguard children at risk today.
Austrian secular authorities must also act. We hope they are inspired by yesterday’s raid by Belgium law enforcement, and will soon launch similar investigations of devastating child sex crimes and cover ups in Austria.
(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, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Austrian church prepares abuse compensation
VIENNA — A panel set up by Austria's Roman Catholic Church to help victims of abuse by clergy or church officials on Friday presented a model that would award up to euro25,000 ($30,700) for those most seriously mistreated.
The compensation schedule foresees payments of euro5,000 ($6,150) for minor abuse cases, euro15,000 ($18,440) for more serious ones and euro25,000 ($30,700) for extremely grave instances of mistreatment.
Panel leader Waltraud Klasnic said she expects Austria's bishops to accept the recommendations once they review the issue.
"We know that this will be the case," the Austria Press Agency quoted her as saying — possibly indicating that Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria's Catholic leader, has already informally approved the model.
The panel of laypeople close to the church was set up in the wake of a series of revelations detailing sexual and physical abuse of minors and young adults by Roman Catholic Church employees in Europe and elsewhere.
Amid increasing calls for more openness and liberalism as a result of the scandals, Schoenborn — a papal confidant seen as a possible successor to Benedict XVI — has stepped into the fray in the past few months.
"The wall of silence has to be broken," he told reporters on Wednesday as he presented measures to prevent clerical abuse and help victims. "This is not allowed to happen and cannot be allowed to repeat itself."
Set to take effect July 1 and approved by all of the country's bishops, the measures foresee a unified approach by church abuse complaint centers to investigate and deal with allegations against priests, employees and volunteers of church-run institutions.
It also mandates the creation of a foundation for abuse victims to cover therapy costs and possible compensation demands.
Klasnic said that foundation would be the source of payments for the model she outlined.
Other panel members said acceptance of compensation as outlined would not prejudice a victim's right to go to court to press for additional payments or other forms of redress.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests