WA--Victims urge more disclosures in wake of settlement
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
The settlement of more clergy sex abuse and cover up cases in Seattle shows how little is changing in the Catholic hierarchy. Deeply-held secrets about clerics who commit and conceal sexual violence are pried loose and made public only when brave victims seek justice in court. Without continuous pressure from determined outsiders, prelates like Archbishop Peter Sartain continue to sit on secrets that could make kids safer, expose the truth and bring real healing.
We hope the courageous women who were sexually assaulted by Fr. Michael Cody feel some long-overdue, sorely-needed and well-deserved comfort for their achievement: pulling back more of the on-going, destructive secrecy that still pervades the Catholic hierarchy. We applaud them for finding the strength to report their suffering and having the wisdom to seek justice in court.
It’s worth noting that Catholic bishops have claimed, in hundreds of horrific cases, that they put predator priests back on the job because therapists told them they could.” The Cody files show that this isn’t always true.
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in Seattle – will protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted and cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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.