- Victims ‘diss’ bishops’ upcoming meetings
- Six sessions - with prosecutor- start this weekend
- SNAP urges parishioners to push for five specific reforms
- It begs Catholics to “ask tough questions & insist on straight answers”
- "Enforcement,” not “education” is what’s lacking, support group says
Holding signs and childhood pictures at a sidewalk news conference, a support and advocacy group for child sex abuse victims will urge KC Catholics to
-- attend six upcoming “education” meetings with their bishop about child safety, but
-- ask their bishop tough questions about clergy sex crimes and cover ups,
-- insist he take five specific abuse prevention steps, and
-- remember church officials hide sex crimes due to a lack of courage, not “education”
They will also
--pledge to fight "harder than ever" to protect the confidentiality of wounded men, women and teenagers who seek their group’s help, despite an “unprecedented attack” by Catholic officials to force SNAP to disclose private communications by victims, witnesses, journalists, prosecutors, police, whistleblowers and others, and
--beg KC citizens who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to call prosecutors right away.
Wednesday, January 4, 2:00 p.m.
Outside the Kansas City diocesan headquarters/chancery office, 20 W. 9th Street, (corner of 9th and Baltimore) in Kansas City MO
Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a confidential support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s director and who was deposed on Monday by five church defense lawyers
This Saturday (Jan. 7) in north KC (at St. Charles parish), embattled KC Catholic Bishop Robert Finn will attend the first of six meetings in western Missouri about child safety. SNAP wants to remind the public that these events are being held largely because Finn, facing possible criminal charges in Clay County, made a deal with prosecutors there. Holding such meetings was part of that deal.
SNAP also says that events like this mislead citizens about the church’s on-going child sex abuse and cover up crisis. Catholic officials “educate” lay people about abuse, implying that lay people having inadequate knowledge is the problem. But SNAP maintains however, that the problem is a lack of courage and compassion by top church managers, not a lack of education by unpaid lay people.
Still, SNAP encourages Catholics to attend, but to speak up, ask questions, and prod Finn and other church staffers to take specific, proven abuse prevention steps. Specifically, the group wants Finn to permanently post on his website the names, photos and whereabouts of all proven admitted. And they want Finn to publicly fire or demote at least one of several Catholic employees who ignored or concealed child sex crimes, and publicly praise at least one church employee who reported suspected child sex crimes to police.
Finally SNAP will also blast Finn for letting his priests launch a "cruel attack" to violate the privacy of - and learn the names of - victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, journalists, police, prosecutors, donors and others who contact the group. On Monday, as part of that effort, SNAP director David Clohessy (who will be at today’s news conference) was deposed in St. Louis. But a judge’s order, issued yesterday, prevents him from discussing that testimony, so he will NOT talk about the deposition today.
The other meetings are Jan. 14 in Liberty, Feb. 4 in KC (St. Patrick Parish), Feb. 11 in Smithville, Feb. 18 in Kearney and March 3 in KC (St. Gabriel Parish)
David Clohessy 314.566.9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com