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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oregon SNAP leader on US Supreme Court case

Statement by Jeannie Cratty of SNAP 781-775-0142

We’re here today to send a message to four individuals.

First, to the brave victim who has patiently and persistently sought justice for 8 years, and who won a crucial victory yesterday at the US Supreme Court. We admire your courage and your conviction. We are sad because of your suffering, but we applaud you for having the strength to come forward, take action, and help expose not just a predator priest but church officials who hid, protected and transferred that predator priest. We hope yesterday’s move by America’s highest court gives you some comfort and validation.

Second, to the person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Ronan. (We strongly suspect that you are out there. We doubt that Ronan molested only one kid in Oregon.) We beg you to speak up. Staying silent is tempting, but irresponsible. Kids are safer and institutions are healthier when those with information or suspicions about child sex crimes step forward. We urge you to tell police, prosecutors, therapists, civil attorneys, or a loved one. Please realize that doing nothing only works in the short term. In the long term, it’s better for you and for everyone involved if you help the truth surface.

(Even though Fr. Ronan is dead and can’t be prosecuted, it’s possible that others who broke the law - by destroying evidence, obstructing justice, threatening victims, endangering kids or some other offense – might still be charged and convicted.)

Third, to Portland Archbishop John Vlazny. We urge you to take responsibility for your flock. We urge you to aggressively reach out to others Ronan may have hurt, and offer them help. And we urge you to contact your boss, the Pope, and tell him to fight this suit, if he must, on the merits, not on the technicalities.

If the Pope thinks Ronan didn’t molest this boy, let the Pope make this case in court. But Catholic officials can’t have their cake and eat it too: they can’t profess compassion toward kids and victims, yet fight kids and victims in court like cold-hearted CEOs.

Archbishop Vlazny, since at least one child in the Portland archdiocese was apparently molested by this pedophile priest, you have a duty to seek out and help others. And you have a duty to help this one victim get the justice and closure and healing he is working so hard to get. Please tell your boss to stop playing legal hardball by exploiting every legal maneuver his lawyer can think of.

Finally, to the Pope. We implore you to live up to your promise to “do everything possible” to stop future abuse. One way to prevent child sex crimes is to expose and punish those who enable child sex crimes. That’s why this lawsuit should be allowed to proceed. Through the time-tested, open, and impartial US justice system, this victim should be given his “day in court” to show and prove which church officials recklessly or deliberately put children – in Illinois, in Oregon, and maybe other places – at risk, by keeping silent about or concealing Ronan’s crimes.

On the contrary, if the Pope’s lawyers succeed in stopping this lawsuit, future child sex crimes and cover ups will, in fact, essentially be encouraged. Church employees will once again learn the wrong lesson: that if you ignore or hide knowledge or suspicions of crimes against kids, your church will protect you, instead of protecting children.


Statement by Mark Serrano of SNAP

There’s so much more work to be done, but ever so slowly, the tenacity of courageous victims is beginning to shed light on deeply-buried church secrecy and complicity. This is another crucial step forward towards healthier public understanding of the depth of church corruption.

This court ruling and last week’s Belgian police raid should make every bishop in the world think twice about keeping clergy sex crimes hidden.

Martin Luther King once said “No lie lives forever.” This decision gives hope to hundreds of thousands of clergy sex abuse victims across the globe who know lies remain under wraps at the Vatican and will only be unearthed through persistent action by secular justice officials and systems.

We’re thrilled that this brave victim is closer to exposing which and how Catholic officials knowingly moved a dangerous predator priest, and we applaud him for preserving in his quest for truth.

It’s ironic that on the same day, the Pope tries to stifle open examination of church abuse cover ups while the US Supreme Court tries to enable open examination of church abuse cover ups.


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