Victims to leaflet church-goers in New Orleans
Victims to leaflet church-goers - Monday @ 12:30 pm (after 12:05 pm Mass)
Victims to leaflet church-goers
They prod Catholics & Archbishop on abuse
SNAP wants to know whereabouts of accused priests
Group says list of alleged predators is "long overdue" & "inadequate"
Handing out fliers to parishioners as they leave the church, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will announce they are:
--writing to all 5 Louisiana Bishops asking for the "immediate release" of the names and whereabouts of all Church employees proven, admitted or credibly accused of child sexual abuse,
--prodding those Bishops to be "very inclusive" with the lists, and
--urging lay Catholics to donate elsewhere until Church officials do better at protecting children.
Monday, October 8th
Approximately 12:30 pm or end of 12:05 pm Mass
Outside St. Louis Cathedral, 615 Pere Antoine Alley, New Orleans, LA
Two-three clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters who belong to a group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including an Arizona man who is the President of the organization's Board of Directors.
The five Louisiana Bishops may release the names of proven, admitted and "credibly accused" child molesting clerics. SNAP feels this should have been done years ago and that the Bishops should also disclose where these potentially dangerous men are now.
SNAP also disputes Archbishop Gregory Aymond's claim that putting out such a list is “complicated." About 50 of the nearly 200 US Bishops have done so, some starting as long as 16 years ago. None who have done so have reversed course or expressed regrets, as best SNAP can tell.
According to news sources, "Louisiana bishops are planning a united response [on the lists question] to avoid putting added pressure on any particular diocese." SNAP finds this offensive and says the "safety of kids should trump the convenience and comfort of Church officials."
The group also wants Bishops to include names of 1) religious order clerics (like Jesuits, Franciscans, Marianists, etc.), who typically make up about 30% of the priests in any diocese, 2) deceased clerics and 3) all types of church employees (brothers, seminarians, women religious, Bishops, lay people).
As the Times Picayune editorialized recently "The priests ought to be identified. There should be no exceptions for priests who are deceased or who have left the church. And the disclosure should include the names of any lay abusers who preyed on victims."
About 78 Catholic priests across Louisiana have been accused of molesting children, but much remains hidden about these crimes and cover ups. SNAP believes this is because Louisiana's Bishops continue to be secretive and Louisiana's Attorney General and local prosecutors are not being assertive or creative enough in exposing and pursuing these wrongdoers.
Only a handful of predators - and no complicit Church supervisor - have ever been convicted. No governmental body in the state of Louisiana has done a single investigation of this scandal. It is time to change this, SNAP asserts.
Last month, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry refused to commit to launching a statewide grand jury. although at least a dozen of his colleagues across the US are doing so.
The Attorney General claimed that his office “has not received one single complaint against any clergyman of the Catholic Church in the State of Louisiana." If true, SNAP contends that may be because he has not used his bully pulpit and public comments to encourage victims to step forward.
Here's a list of Catholic jurisdictions in the state and the number of proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics in each, according to the public database maintained by Boston-based archive group BishopAccountability.org:
Diocese of Alexandria (5),
Diocese of Baton Rouge (7),
Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux (6),
Diocese of Lafayette (25)
Archdiocese of New Orleans Archdiocese (35)
Diocese of Lake Charles (0)
Diocese of Shreveport (0)
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury investigation concluded that Bishops “followed a playbook for concealing the truth” and while “priests were raping little boys and girls, [bishops] hid it all. For decades.” Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro also noted “there is evidence that takes this cover-up and what occurred in Pennsylvania directly to the Vatican.”
SNAP maintains that Louisiana Bishops have no doubt acted and are acting with similar recklessness, callousness and deceit, which is why it is disappointed in Attorney General Lanrdy's opposition to a statewide investigation of the Church.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report showed that Church officials can not be relied on to tell the truth or protect children. This pattern was further exposed in Buffalo, New York, when Bishop Malone seriously under reported the number of accused priests, keeping many names off the list, including those men who were still in ministry.
Just last week the Attorney General of Michigan seized clergy misconduct records from all seven Dioceses in that state.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Tim Lennon, SNAP President (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director, (517-974-9009, zhiner@SNAPnetwork.org), Michael Norris, (713-855-9178 SNAPmdnorris@hotmail.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.
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.