The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, January 31, 2011
Salesians ‘apologize’; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
Apologizing is easy. Reforming is hard. So no one should be moved by these words from the Salesian hierarchy.
The first priority should be protecting kids at risk of being molested today by Salesians. Until tangible, proven steps are taken to expose those who commit or conceal child sex crimes are taken, any ‘apology’ will just seem like public relations.
(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 10,000 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, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Salesians admit sex abuse
Published on : 31 January 2011 - 1:58pm | By Robert Chesal (St. Agatha)
Netherlands - For the first time, a Dutch religious order has admitted its guilt in the Catholic sex abuse scandal. In a letter to the victims, which has been seen by Radio Netherlands Worldwide and NRC Handelsblad, the Salesians of Don Bosco express their “deep regret”. They also say they are working on a “generous” compensation package.
“In any case it is clear that Salesians are also guilty of committing sexual and emotional abuse and we condemn this unequivocally,” the letter says. The Dutch branch of the order also acknowledges its failure to prevent or respond to abuse. The trust of the children and their parents has been seriously harmed, say the Salesians.
“As an order we have not always handled reports properly and this has further damaged the trust placed in us.” The letter acknowledges that at various boarding schools and other institutions there was insufficient oversight. Intervention was inadequate and came too late.
It is now nearly a year since the Catholic abuse scandal in the Netherland first came to light, with the exposure of years of sexual abuse at the Don Rua boarding school in the eastern town of 's-Heerenberg. Forty-three victims came forward with allegations against the Salesians to Radio Netherlands Worldwide and NRC Handelsblad alone. The order’s first shocked reactions were followed by a lengthy silence, which has now finally been broken.
The letter describes practices that appeared to be aimed at stifling reports of abuse. “In a number of cases, parents and children were played off against each other, giving the children the feeling they had been abandoned. This is deeply regrettable.” Children who attempted to resist the abuse also faced threats.
The Salesians say the extent and seriousness of the abuse took them unawares. Where it was known about, action against the perpetrator was “not always fitting and adequate”. The order admits that appropriate measures could have prevented abuse from recurring.
The order says it is willing to confront its members who have been named by victims. But it will impose no further sanctions pending any legal action. “The Brothers who are suspected also have the right to a fair and thorough trial, and to defend themselves.”
The Salesians say they are now working on a compensation deal. “A collective settlement is in preparation,” the letter says.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests