VT--Victims want VT bishop to do "aggressive outreach"
For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 28
We call on Vermont’s new Catholic bishop – holding his first public event in Vermont tonight - to use his widely-touted social media skills and his vast diocesan resources to seek out adults who were sexually abused as kids by clergy.
Coyne “plans to ask each pastor to check old parish census records and lists of current community members to see if some of the elderly dropped out due to an inability to get to church,” reports the Free Press.
Why do Catholic officials never do this kind of outreach to find and help clergy sex abuse victims, most of whom never reveal their suffering and remain trapped, for life, in shame, silence, confusion and self–blame?
There are at least 15 publicly accused child molesting Vermont Catholic clerics (see BishopAccountability.org). History, psychology, common sense and our experience all strongly suggest that this fact mean there are dozens or even hundreds of boys and girls who were sexually assaulted in Vermont. We also strongly suspect that only a minority of these wounded individuals have gotten or are getting professional help. In the 25 years our group has been around, we’ve seen and heard from thousands of adult victims who are agoraphobic or in prison or homeless, who self-medicate with drugs, sex, liquor, or work, or who can’t imagine sharing their burdens with spouses or friends.
We’ve also seen hundreds of them finally break their silence when prodded to do so by an authority figure – secular or religious – or by friends and family.
We challenge Bishop Christophe Coyne to launch an aggressive outreach campaign like this and show that he takes the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis – and Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep - seriously.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 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.