WA- Hundreds more clergy sex victims come forward; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 19, 2014
We are shocked to learn that more than 150 adults who say they were molested by Spokane diocese priests have “had their cases rejected by a former federal judge” over the past several months. And since the Spokane Diocese bankruptcy settled in 2004, a total of 230 people have filed such claims, according to a new story in the Spokesman-Review newspaper.
We applaud these brave men and women who are coming forward hoping to expose predators, protect kids, achieve justice and start healing.
And we again denounce selfish Spokane Catholic officials who exploited and are still exploiting secular bankruptcy laws to hide widespread clergy sex crimes and horrific cover ups of those crimes.
We reject the notion that somehow, more clergy sex abuse and cover up cases somehow “threaten Eastern Washington parishes.” Catholic officials desperately want to avoid embarrassing abuse and cover up trials at which their recent and often continuing complicity is publicly exposed. So they often make this claim that abuse victims coming forward may result in parish closures. That's an obscene and unsupported claim that's often intended to scare victims.
The Catholic hierarchy has massive wealth and many options to take loans if need be. Disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston borrowed $25 million from a Catholic men's group to help settle clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. So no one should be fooled by claims that somehow any Catholic diocese may have to shutter churches because bishops have acted so recklessly, callously and deceitfully about the safety of kids. That claim is a self-serving ploy.
We beg those who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Spokane to speak up, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, and start healing.
(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 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.