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SNAP
Statement



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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

7 quick points re: new clergy sex abuse report

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, jcasteix@gmail.com)

1. As bad as this report is, it is still based on self-reporting by the bishops. There’s still no independent data on the extent of child sex crimes by Catholic clergy. More important, there’s no data on the extent of the on-going cover up by Catholic bishops. That’s the part of this crisis that bishop try to make sure no one looks at.

2. With these figures, the total number of proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests in the US is now almost 6,000.

3. We believe the single most important numbers in the report are:
--“55 of the 188 participating dioceses needed to make improvements or risk being out of compliance with the national policy, more than double the number of dioceses who were found lacking in 2009.” This is clear and disturbing evidence that bishops are choosing to do less to protect kids, instead of doing more or the same.
-- “Allegations of sexual abuse involving the Roman Catholic clergy in the United States rose sharply last year to nearly 700 from around 400 in 2009,” according to Reuters. . We commend each of these brave kids, women and men who found the strength to disclose their pain and hopefully protect children.

4. Catholics and citizens need the names of the proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests. It is unconscionable that Catholic officials continue to hide the identities of these dangerous and potentially dangerous child molesters. These clerics are dangerous enough that most of them can’t work in Catholic parishes any more but can work, live, and volunteer among unsuspecting neighbors, employers and relatives.

5. It’s disingenuous for church officials to call this an “audit.” It’s not. It’s just more partial self-reporting by bishops, the same men who got us into this mess to begin with. No one had or has subpoena power. These “researchers” had no access to church files. There’s no “fact-checking.” They simply regurgitate what bishops choose to voluntarily share and then cash the bishops’ check.

6. The Philadelphia archdiocese passed this so-called “audit.”

7. The first national media coverage of clergy sex crimes and cover ups was in 1985. It’s been nearly a decade since the crisis erupted further following the Boston Globe’s investigation. Still, more than 500 individuals found the courage last year to report pedophile priests to church officials. (Who knows how many more disclosed to friends, family, therapists, police, attorneys and support groups, or whose reports to Catholic staffers went unreported to the survey team.)

This is a crucial reminder that victims come forward when they are able to come forward, not on some arbitrary timeline set by callous bishops or uninformed lawmakers. It’s also a reminder that there remains a tremendously heavy and often crippling amount of pain still being shouldered by deeply wounded women, men and children who were sexually assaulted by priests, nuns, bishops seminarians, brothers and Catholic lay employees.

We beg each and every one of those suffering individuals to dig deep and find the courage and strength to come forward, get help, expose wrongdoing, protect kids, and start healing.

(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 23 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, peterisely@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)


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