SNAP News

Get the latest updates from SNAP Network.

Liberty University’s Handling of Sexual Assaults Under Investigation by Department of Education

ProPublica previously detailed how the evangelical school had dismissed reports of rape and threatened to punish accusers for running afoul of its moral code. Investigators are now looking into whether Liberty violated federal law. by Hannah DreyfusApril 29, 6 a.m. EDT The federal Department of Education has begun investigating Liberty University’s handling of student reports of sexual assault. In a statement to ProPublica, the school pledged its “full cooperation” with the investigation. Last October, ProPublica revealed how the school, which was founded by evangelist Jerry Falwell, had discouraged students who tried to report being sexually assaulted. Some students who came forward were encouraged to sign forms acknowledging they might have broken Liberty’s moral code of conduct, “The Liberty Way.” Others described being encouraged to pray instead of reporting their cases. Federal law requires that universities receiving federal funds properly handle claims of sexual assault. Liberty students receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid. Following our story, senators urged the U.S. Department of Education to investigate. Liberty students told ProPublica that federal agents have been at the school’s campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, this week. In an email viewed by ProPublica, a Department of Education official reached out to student advocates to arrange meeting times. An agency spokesperson declined to comment, citing a policy not to discuss ongoing investigations.

Franciscan T.O.R removed from chaplaincy at D.C. Veteran's home

For Immediate Release May 5, 2022)  On Friday,April 29, 2022, Fr. Benedict Jurchak, TOR, was removed from ministry by the Archdiocese of Washington, where he had been working as a chaplain in a veterans' retirement home.  We are grateful to the Archdiocese of Washington for removing Fr. Jurchak and applaud the brave woman who courageously spoke out on social media.  According to the statement released by TOR, in 2019 Fr. Jurchak was temporarily removed from ministry when a single allegation of sexual misconduct involving an adult woman was reported to the Franciscans. In the following years, both the police and an independent lay investigator reviewed the claim and found that it could not be substantiated. A female lay canonist also conducted an investigation in accord with canon law and made the same finding, which was accepted by the Franciscans after consultation with a lay review board. The review board also accepted the recommendation of the canonist that some financial assistance be offered to the complainant, to assist with therapeutic costs. While the Franciscans disclosed all this to the Archdiocese of Washington prior to  Fr. Jurchak's assignment there, "the recent public attention given once again to this single, unsubstantiated allegation has made it impossible, from the perspective of the Archdiocese, for him to continue to minister effectively there."

Catholic officials put accused KS predator priest back on the job

(For Immediate Release May 5, 2022)  In what appears to be a "speed of light" investigation, Fr. Michael Scully is back to work a little over a month after his suspension. Fr. Scully's suspension was announced on March 25, 2022, in the Kansas City Kansas Archdiocesan publication, The Leaven.  It is troubling that the Archdiocese was notified of the accusation on February 28th of this year, but apparently did not take any action for almost a month. Fr. Scully should have been suspended immediately. As best as we can tell, there was no public notice of the suspension. Most Catholic abuse survivors do not read diocesan publications. However, those same officials apparently took the time to release a public statement when a Church panel "cleared" the priest, likely discouraging other victims from coming forward. We find it disappointing and irresponsible that at no point over the past few months did any Church official - from Archbishop to pastor, in Kansas or Colorado - use his pulpit or website or parish bulletin to seek out anyone who might have seen, suspected, or suffered wrongdoing by Fr. Scully.

California's Catholic Bishops petition the U.S. Supreme Court in a challenge to window legislation

(For Immediate Release May 4, 2022)  California's Catholic Bishops petition the U.S. Supreme Court in a challenge to window legislation Catholic officials in California have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a case challenging the state for permitting victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits after the timeframe to pursue legal action has already twice expired. The bishops outlined two concerns: that recent legislation allowed claimants to revive civil actions and that it imposed new consequences in those suits. “This time, defendants' past conduct is subject not only to claims for compensatory and punitive damages that were previously time-barred twice over but also to additional penalties (in the form of ‘treble’ damages) based on a newly defined category of ‘cover up’ activity,” the petition argued. We are not surprised that Catholic officials in California are fearful of the lawsuits that allow those who have been time-barred from justice access to the courts.  These suits represent transparency and honesty and would make it far more difficult to pretend that their abuse scandal is a thing of the past. Window legislation is allowing thousands of victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, nuns, religious brothers, and laity to come forward and expose these crimes.

Three-four adults who were sexually abused as kids and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

5th accuser names priest as predator in the 2000s He's just filed a new civil abuse & cover-up lawsuit Cleric IS ON THE JOB RIGHT NOW & never been suspended SNAP: "Nowhere in the US have we seen such recklessness" Victims beg archbishop “for kids' safety, oust the priest now” Churchgoers should "stop donating & insist on explanations" WHATWearing masks and socially distancing while holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will---announce that fifth accuser has stepped forward to naming a currently-serving local pastor as a child molester,---provide copies of a new child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the priest who is still a pastor now,---beg St. Louis’ archbishop to immediately suspend the cleric, &---beg Catholics to stop donating "until the archdiocese explains why they're violating church policy by never even suspending the cleric." WHENThursday, Feb. 10 at 1:15 p.m. WHEREOn the sidewalk outside the “new” cathedral, 4431 Lindell Blvd, (corner of Newstead) in the Central West End in St. Louis WHOThree-four adults who were sexually abused as kids and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

SNAP and Child USAdvocacy will provide testimony to Nebraska State Legislature Judiciary Committee

  (For Immediate Release January 20, 2022)  Critical legislation that will better protect Nebraskan children and provide support for victims of sexual abuse will be heard during a meeting of the Nebraska State Judiciary Committee on Friday, January 21, 2022. Sponsored by Sen. Rich Pahls, LB 833 is a bill that will repeal the statute of limitations for third parties in cases of sexual assault of a child.  To understand why this legislation is so important, look no further than this recent report by Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson, which detailed the stories of 258 victims of Child Sexual Assault committed by church officials alone. The saddest fact is that none of these cases could be prosecuted due to statute of limitations concerns. Even though the average age at which a survivor of child sexual assault comes forward is 52 years old, the Nebraska statute of limitations currently bars civil cases from being brought after a victim is 33 years old. Fortunately, over the past three years, more than thirty states have reformed their statutes of limitation in cases of child sex crimes to be better in line with medical facts like delayed disclosure. Now, Nebraskans will have an opportunity of their own to start these important changes. Kathryn Robb, Esq. of Child USAdvocacy, Debbie Dappen, local SNAP Leader and Shaun Dougherty, Board President from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) will be available to the media and can explain the importance of child sexual assault legislation in Nebraska along with and the broader national trend of repealing statutes of limitation on child sexual assault. Each individual can be available in the morning preceding the hearing.  CONTACT: Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (814-341-8386), [email protected], Debbie Dappen, SNAP Leader, [email protected], Kathryn Robb, Esq. (www.childusadvocacy.org), (781-856-7207),  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected] Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]) (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)

Sidewalk news conference abuse survivors and advocates at Diocesan Chancery in Sacramento

New Vatican law on the abuse of adults by clergy goes into effect December 8th Sacramento Diocese already includes clerics who abused those aged 18-25 on its abuser list Adult survivor who was older than 25 now asks for her perpetrator to be added SNAP will also release its own more complete Sacramento list The victims’ group believes that adult victims in California need a "Window to Justice" WHAT: At a sidewalk news conference abuse survivors and advocates who are part of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, will urge the Diocese of Sacramento to add clerics who abused men or women over the age of 25 to its list of perpetrators. The group will also provide its own list for Sacramento and ask that those additional names be included as well. Finally, SNAP will call attention to the need for a California civil window for adult survivors such as the one now available for child victims in the state. WHEN: December 8, 2021, at 11 AM WHERE: Outside the Diocesan chancery office, 2110 Broadway (near 21st Street), in Sacramento WHO: 4-5 abuse survivors and advocates, including the Sacramento area SNAP Leader, who wants to see the name of the priest who assaulted her when she was an adult added to the Diocesan list of accused clerics. WHY: Back in June Pope Francis changed Catholic Church law to explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by clergy. The new provisions become effective today, December 8th. We believe that dioceses across the United States, Sacramento included, should now begin adding these clerics to their lists of abusers. We certainly know that those priests who abuse adults sometimes abuse children as well. Out here in California, Fr. Jose Superiaso sexually abused a woman who was in her 20s and a youth coordinator for the Church, and also molested her 12-year-old sister. In a case out of the Archdiocese of Washington, Fr. Urbano Vasquez was convicted last week of sexually assaulting an adult female parishioner while serving time in prison for assaulting two little girls. The infamous case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is another example. The Church apparently ignored McCarrick’s abuse of adults under his authority and took no action against the prelate until accusations of child sexual abuse became public in 2018.  

SNAP Virtual Mini Conferences

These virtual mini conferences are free to all and will feature opportunities for survivors and advocates to learn about topics like healing, advocacy, and self-care from a variety of different speakers throughout the year. Our next mini conference will be in March, 2022.

We are especially grateful to the Ribera Law Firm of San Francisco, California for being a Gold-level Sponsor for our mini-conferences. Their support is critical to our ability to hold these free events and we are grateful to them for their support. Learn more about the Ribera Law Firm here.

 

Additionally, SNAP is very grateful for the generous support of our 2022 mini conferences that has been provided through a grant from Oak Foundation Children First Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation.

 

Take Action and Stop Child Sexual Abuse

If you see child sexual abuse, or have a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse or your child has been sexually abused, call 911 or your local police immediately. 

If you suspect abuse, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or visit the Child Help Hotline. Trained crisis operators staff the lines 24/7 to answer your questions. If necessary, they will show you how to report in your local area.

Child pornography is a federal crime. If you see or suspect images that may be child pornography, report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTip Line

 

Donate

Your interest and support enables us to build SNAP's healing model as we deliver the programs and services that advance SNAPs Mission.

Choose Amount:

As Featured In

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant