TN- Victims blast Nashville Catholic officials
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
Statement by Susan Vance of Knoxville, leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (865-927-2923, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Yesterday, when confronted by a TV reporter, Nashville Catholic officials admitted receiving a report of child sex crimes by a priest that they had kept secret for years. Shame on them.
The alleged child molesting cleric is Fr. Gansmann who also spent time in Illinois and Minnesota. Last week, for the first time, Catholic officials in the Twin Cities disclosed, because of a court order, child sex abuse allegations against Fr. Gansmann.
For years, Catholic bishops have pledged to be “open” about clergy sex cases. These two belated disclosures – in St. Paul and in Nashville – show that this pledge is rarely kept.
Those hurt by Fr. Gansmann -- in Minnesota and Tennessee – are getting older. Many of them have likely told no one or few people about their pain. Their suffering would be lessened if Catholic officials would “come clean” about these clergy sex crimes and aggressively seek out, and help, these victims. Instead, however, bishops continue their self serving secrecy, letting those trapped in silence, shame, and self blame continue in pain. Again, shame on them.
Roughly 30 US bishops have, under pressure, posted on their websites the names, photos and work histories of child molesting clerics. This is the least Catholic officials can do to protect kids. None of Tennessee's bishops have done this. Now would be a perfect time for Nashville's bishop to do this.
(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 25 years and have more than 15,000 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)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.