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SNAP
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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some Philly predator priests may be suspended today; SNAP responds

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, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Two Catholic bloggers – one a well-connected and very accurate Philadelphia man – say that today, some credibly accused Philly area predator priests still around kids will finally be temporarily suspended.

http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2011/03/08/morning-catholic-must-reads-080311/

If this happens, it will still be hard to feel very positive when it takes a nationwide scandal, two harsh grand jury reports and four indictments to get a “prince of the church” to finally temporarily take more predator priests away from kids.

When a doctor deceives a patient and delays surgery until death is nearly imminent, and removes just 30% of the life-threatening cancer, he is terribly irresponsible. And we’re irresponsible if we praise him for it.

Kids are obviously somewhat safer when pedophile priests aren’t in active ministry. But at the same time, temporarily suspending credibly accused child molesting clerics is just smart public relations and legal defense. Only the most naïve would consider it any kind of sign or hint of real reform.

If priests are suspended today, and no others steps are taken, that still does nothing to address the deeply disturbing grand jury conclusions that church officials:
--now refuse to even ask accused child molesting clerics if they are guilty and
--“continue to engage in practices that mislead victims, violate their trust, (and) hinder prosecution of their abusers”

The jurors also found that the church system of dealing with child sex crimes
--while “designed to help victims is instead helping the abusers and the archdiocese itself”
--“is devoid of common sense,” and
--“reaches the wrong result in the vast majority of (child sex abuse) cases.”

The archdiocese’ so-called “victims assistance coordinators,” according to the jurors,
--“mislead victims”
--“do not keep victims’ statements confidential”
--“hound” victims for statements to “use as ammunition to impeach victims”
--“turn over” victims’ statements “to archdiocesan attorneys”
--“handed previously confidential” victim’s records “over to one victim’s abuser”

Temporarily suspending a few more pedophile priests doesn’t fix any of this.

Nor would suspending priests address perhaps the single most troubling recent allegation - that church officials made at least one victim sign a form prohibiting church officials from relaying the reported abuse to law enforcement (unless the victim was still a minor or the report was subpoenaed.) This is a dreadfully insidious scheme.

(According to prominent Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo: “Taken at face value, the chancery form would present a conflict with the Dallas Charter, which -- while mandating a report to the authorities only in cases where the victim is still a minor -- stipulates regardless that ‘dioceses are to cooperate with public authorities about reporting cases even when the person is no longer a minor’ and that ‘in every instance, dioceses are to advise victims of their right to make a report to public authorities and support this right.’”)

So if some credibly accused predator priests are suspended, it will be a small step forward made terribly late and only due to massive pressure. It’s a very belated and begrudging beginning – nothing more. And we do an enormous disservice to many innocent kids and still-suffering adults if we even begin to feel complacent because of this one small step.

(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), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Joelle Casteix (949 322 7434, jcasteix@gmail.com)


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