The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Archdiocese does more ‘training;’SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
You can train the folks at the bottom all you want, but if those at the top are still reckless and callous and secretive, little will change.
The problem never has been inadequately trained lay people. It’s always been corrupt bishops. That hasn’t changed and isn’t changing.
Remember, almost a decade ago, church officials pledged to train staff and volunteers about abuse. So here they are, almost ten years later, making the same promises.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Philadelphia archdiocese trains on sexual abuse reporting
By Dave Warner PHILADELPHIA | Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:45pm EDT
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, embroiled in a child sex abuse scandal in both criminal and civil courts, announced on Tuesday a new training program for some 24,000 priests, employees and volunteers on how to report sexual abuse.
Leslie Davila, director of the archdiocese child and youth protection office, said the training, based on state law and conducted by the firm Network of Victim Assistance, began on Monday.
It will include 90 sessions in 40 locations through November.
Davila said the church remains dedicated to the "goal of promoting awareness regarding the safety of children."
The Archdiocese, the sixth largest in the United States, with 1.5 million Catholics, is under fire over accusations it concealed the sexual abuse of children by priests in an effort to avoid a costly scandal.
Some met the announcement with skepticism.
Marci Hamilton, one of the lawyers who filed six civil sexual abuse lawsuits against the church, said the training was based on the state's child protection laws, which she said are unclear when it comes to clergy members.
She feared they might invoke "pastoral privilege" to remain silent, and avoid reporting suspected abuse.
Hamilton instead proffered a more direct and unambiguous approach, advising the archdiocese to "just tell them to do it. They don't need any training sessions. Call your local police, and that's it."
But a victim services consultant to the church, Mary Achilles, said in a statement that the training represented a fundamental shift in the responsibility for reporting abuse, from children to adults.
Components of the training include the definition of abuse, indications of abuse and neglect, how to make a report on abuse and criminal consequences of failing to report abuse.
In addition to the six civil suits, a Philadelphia grand jury issued a scathing report in January on the conduct of some priests and the archdiocese, denouncing what it called "rapist priests."
"The procedures implemented by the Archdiocese to help victims are in fact designed to help the abusers, and the Archdiocese itself," it said.
"Worst of all, apparent abusers -- dozens of them, we believe -- remain on duty in the Archdiocese, today, with open access to new young prey."
Three priests, a monsignor and a Catholic teacher are facing criminal charges as a result of the report.
Since then the church has placed 27 priests on administrative leave in connection with accusations, and because of the manner in which the church reviewed them.
(Reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Chris Michaud and Greg McCune)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests