Yet another bishop seeks a self-serving investigation under the guise of "transparency"
For immediate release, August 31, 2018
Statement by Melanie Sakoda, Volunteer SNAP Secretary, 925-708-6175, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City announced that he has hired a law firm to review allegations of sexual abuse in the archdiocese.
However, in our eyes the Archbishop's plan falls far short. Pennsylvania's grand jury report on six Catholic dioceses established the bench mark that should be followed in all other investigations.
The Pennsylvania grand jury had the power to subpoena documents and to compel current and former Church officials and staff to answer tough questions under oath. It also invited testimony from survivors, some victims of crimes from decades ago, some who the church hierarchy had dismissed or did not believe.
However, as attorney Rebecca Randles noted in response to Archbishop Naumann's announcement, the as yet unnamed "independent" law firm hired by the archbishop would in fact be working for him. Archbishop Naumann would control what information the law firm received, and most victims would not trust the process enough to participate.
What made that Pennsylvania report so valuable was that it did not solely rely on information provided by Church officials. As a result, we got much closer to a true understanding of the scope of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report exposed decades of deliberate concealment of child sex abuse by the Church and revealed the existence of previously "hidden predators." The report demonstrated quite convincingly that we cannot allow the Church to investigate itself. Any probe that does less than what occurred in the Keystone State is simply a sham and a whitewash hiding behind a facade of “investigation” and "transparency."
SNAP urges everyone who suffered, witnessed or suspected clergy sex crimes and cover ups to come forward. Report to law enforcement, therapists and support groups like ours, not to the Church.
We also urge everyone to prod your local AG to launch an investigation just like the on-going one in Pennsylvania, and also join us in demanding a federal investigation like those that have been implemented in other countries.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been working for thirty years to support victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. 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.