Geneva- UN issues “devastating” report on Catholic clergy scandal; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
A UN panel has issued a report on how the Vatican handles clergy sexual abuse and cover up. The AP calls the report “devastating.” Reuters calls it “scathing.” We call it “on target.”
It's a wakeup call, not to Catholic officials (who've known about and concealed abuse for decades and still do) but for secular officials, especially those in law enforcement, who can and should investigate Catholic abuses and cover ups and prosecute the church supervisors who are still protecting predators and endangering children.
For the safety of children, we hope every head of state on the planet reads this and acts on it.
The UN panel found that “child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported (by Catholic officials) to the law enforcement authorities.” And the panel rightly emphasized the need for effective prevention programs.
Of course, the quickest way to prevent child sexual violence by Catholic clerics is for Pope Francis to publicly remove all offenders from ministry and harshly punish their colleagues and supervisors who enabled their crimes. But like his predecessors, he has refused to take even tiny steps in this direction.
Bishops in developed nations will claim that they're better than their colleagues in the developing world. That's disingenuous. In developed nations, bishops have been forced – by brave victims, investigative journalists, determined police and skilled prosecutors – to address this crisis earlier than bishops in other nations. And instead of dealing with it honestly and compassionately, they've largely just learned to work harder and smarter to conceal it.
This report gives hope to the hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded and still suffering clergy sex abuse victims across the world. Now it's up to secular officials to follow the UN's lead and step in to safeguard the vulnerable because Catholic officials are either incapable or unwilling to do so.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.com)
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.
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.