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CA 'Look-Back' Window Closing For Adult Victims Of Childhood Sex Abuse

The legal window for adults to sue their childhood sexual abuser despite the statute of limitations will soon close in California. Ashley Ludwig,Patch Staff Posted Sat, Nov 26, 2022 at 3:19 pm PT CALIFORNIA —Southern California resident Patricia Egan, 65, is breathing easier, she said, after having her day in court. In November, Egan, now 65, won an $18 million lawsuit against her former brother-in-law, the man she says sexually abused her during the '60s and '70s, starting when she was 11 years old. Now, however, the three-year legal window that enables older adult victims such as Egan to sue for damages against their childhood sexual abusers is about to close in California. California Assembly Bill 218, temporarily set aside the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims to file claims. It opened up a three-year window for victims abused in the 70s, 60s and earlier to sue and triggered a flood of high-profile lawsuits. Many recent civil cases against large organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Church, SeaCoast Grace megachurch in Cypress and prominent celebrities such as boxer George Foreman were filed during this period of time known as the 'look-back' window. Victims were able to seek recompense in cases dating back decades.

Archdiocese of Baltimore funds legal fees for 'anonymous group' seeking to seal court proceedings

(For Immediate Release November 29, 2022)  After saying it would not oppose the release of a report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is helping to pay lawyers for an anonymous group that’s asked a city judge to keep secret arguments over whether to make the document public. A spokesperson for the archdiocese confirmed Monday to The Baltimore Sun that the church was paying, at least in part, the fees of Gregg Bernstein and William J. Murphy, two white-collar defense attorneys. It is becoming clearer, and with no surprise to us, that Archbishop William Lori is deliberately deceptive. In a homily, shortly after Attorney General Frosh’s request to release the report, Lori said, ‘And as I said in my letter to the faithful of the archdiocese last Thursday, I pledge to continue to do everything possible to ensure that no one in the church’s care is ever again harmed by a representative of the church.’ These remarks illustrate that Lori is out of touch with reality but perfectly in line with the stance taken by other church officials on ‘truth and transparency’ followed by ‘I pledge,’ neither of which are honest remarks.  We suspect that Archbishop Lori has signed the check for these legal fees. In 2018 and 2019, Archbishop William Lori handpicked Gregg Bernstein, Esq. to a team that investigated sexual misconduct allegations made against former Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, diocese Bishop Michael Bransfield. Lori, then Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, went all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 2009 to keep sealed documents on clergy sex abuse and lost that fight.

Restorative Justice Proposals as a result of Two-Year Study at University of Notre Dame; SNAP Responds

(For Immediate Release November 28, 2022)  A group composed of scholars, psychologists, clergy, restorative justice experts, and survivors of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal has apparently developed a set of proposals that encourage the use of restorative justice as a means to help heal victims and the broader Church. SNAP believes that the proposals will no doubt please the hierarchy because they do nothing to address the bishops' continuing penchant for secrecy or the other systemic problems that fueled the scandal. The survivors' group insists that complete truth and transparency must come before "restorative justice" can ever be considered. According to the announcement, the proposals are the result of a two-year study supported by an initiative created by the University of Notre Dame’s Office of the President as part of the Notre Dame Forum. The proposals have been forwarded for consideration to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Notre Dame political science professor Daniel Philpott, who participated in the study, noted that survivors had specific needs for “healing and wholeness.” For a research university that prides itself on being a "force for good in the world," these proposals demonstrated to us how divorced scholars are from the reality and long-term effects of clergy sexual abuse. Apologies, prayer and penance, and a healing garden are emotional appeals. They are not directed at the actual needs of survivors; they are a salve for the churchgoers who continue to fund what to us is nothing less than a criminal organization. We have seen dioceses throughout the world hold special masses of "reparation." In 2014, then Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput held a healing mass for victims of abuse where knitted potholders were handed out as gifts to attendees, while survivors and advocates stood outside the Cathedral in protest. In 2019, Archbishop Blair of Hartford, Connecticut laid himself prostrate on the altar to symbolize repentance.   How did that help those who can no longer stand the smell of a candle?

Unnamed Group Seeking To Seal Court Proceedings in Maryland Report on Abusive Clergy

(For Immediate Release November 23, 2022)  A group named in a report detailing sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests is asking a Baltimore judge to seal all court proceedings in the Maryland attorney general’s efforts to make the report public. The group, whose name and number are unknown, made the request last Thursday, according to a court filing. In the filing, attorneys for the group said that although the people are named in the attorney general’s report, they are not accused of sexual abuse. The anonymous group is represented by attorneys Gregg Bernstein and William J. Murphy of the Zuckerman Spaeder law firm, who will only identify their clients in a private hearing. In 2018 and 2019, Archbishop William Lori appointed Gregg Bernstein, Esq. to a team that investigated sexual misconduct allegations made against former Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, diocese Bishop Michael Bransfield. Lori, then Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, went all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 2009 to keep sealed documents on clergy sex abuse and lost that fight. It's not shocking to us at all to learn that an ‘anonymous group’ then, is attempting to prevent the release of a report detailing sexual abuse by the clergy in Maryland. For decades, the Roman Catholic Church has gone to great lengths to completely disregard, conceal, and minimize rampant sexual abuse and rape of children worldwide. When it comes to clergy sexual abuse, the Catholic Church's playbook has been to fight, deny, and delay.

SNAP will share a list of 312 men publicly accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of San Francisco

(For Immediate Release September 28, 2022)    At a sidewalk press conference outside the Cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco, SNAP will share a list of 312 men publicly accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese The survivors and advocates gathered will then walk the names and a letter over to the office of the Archbishop San Francisco is one of the few dioceses in the country who have yet to release their own names, and SNAP wants the Archbishop to remedy this   WHEN Thursday, September 29, 2022, 1:00 pm WHERE On the public sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, 1111 Gough Street (on the Geary Street side of the complex) WHO Five to six survivors of clergy abuse, supporters, and advocates who are affiliated with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests WHY The Archdiocese of San Francisco is one of the few dioceses in the United States that has yet to release its own list of accused. SNAP wants Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to remedy this and hopes that their letter to him, along with their list of 312 men who have been accused of abuse, will finally spur the Archbishop to take this important action. DETAILS SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, will be hand delivering a letter to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, again urging him to release a list of those accused of sexual abuse in his archdiocese -- including those names still concealed in the Archdioceses' secret archives -- as most of his peers have done. At the same time, the gathered survivors and advocates will hand him their own list of 312 clergymen, brothers, and laity who have been publicly accused of abuse and who have a connection to the Archdiocese.     Archbishop Cordileone never responded to earlier suggestions from the survivors' group for him to release his own list. For example, in early 2021, SNAP wrote concerning the lack of a San Francisco list, "Archbishop Cordileone has affirmed that victims need compassion and that the San Francisco Archdiocese stands willing to help them, but he has consistently refused to take this simple step that will both help survivors and their families heal as well as keep today's children safe." SNAP did extensive research to identify the 312 perpetrators on their list through information from media reports, civil lawsuits, criminal proceedings, and the Catholic Church itself. This task could have been completed with greater ease and with more detail by Archdiocesan officials. However, while the Dallas Charter promised the faithful openness and transparency, the survivors' group maintains that it has seen little of either from the Archdiocese, which is why they embarked on this project. SNAP hopes that their list of accused will spur Archbishop Cordileone to release his own list. The group also hopes that the Archdiocesan effort will include work histories and photos of the accused, as well as details on when each and every allegation was received and what actions Church officials took in response. SNAP believes that such a list would truly be a step towards openness and transparency. But whether or not the Archbishop finally takes action, SNAP wants survivors of abuse in the Archdiocese to find comfort in their list, and perhaps even be inspired to come forward and report their own assaults directly to law enforcement. At the press conference, the survivors and advocates will also address why these lists are important to survivor healing and public safety, the closing California civil window for child sex abuse victims, the California civil window opening in 2023 for survivors of abuse as adults, as well as sharing the insights discerned through the development of their own list. In addition, SNAP will have a Catholic whistle-blower priest who was recently defrocked for supporting survivors to address those gathered. CONTACT:  Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP Northern California ([email protected], 925-262-3699), Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento ([email protected], 530-908-3676), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected]napnetwork.org, 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)                                                                                                                   ###

A public funeral for Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza rubs salt into the wounds of local victims

(For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 28, 2022) Survivors cannot forget the Archbishop’s poor handling of sexual abuse allegations against clergy WHEN Thursday, September 29, 2022, 1:00pm WHERE On the public sidewalk outside the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston, Texas WHO Several members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, victims of abuse from other Texas institutions, and supporters WHY  At a sidewalk news conference in front of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, survivors, and supporters will remind the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston that a public funeral with full honors for Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza rubs salt into the already painful wounds of those who suffered clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese. Archbishop Fiorenza disregarded and minimized some of the worst crimes of sexual assault committed against children when he was at the helm of the Archdiocese. DETAILS Survivors of clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are appalled that Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza is being given a public funeral with full honors. The victims say that the Archbishop covered up clergy sex crimes during his tenure as leader of the Archdiocese and that this rite rubs salt into their already painful wounds.  For instance, in 1992 Archbishop Fiorenza sent Father Manuel La Rosa Lopez for “examination” following a young boy’s accusation of sexual abuse. Under the Archbishop's watch, Father Lopez was returned to ministry the following year and worked for another 26 years. The priest was finally convicted and sentenced to prison in 2020. As far as SNAP can tell, Father Lopez has yet to be defrocked. In another mishandled case, in 2003, the Archbishop wrote to a victim of Father John Keller saying the priest denied the abuse “but acknowledged he ‘crossed a proper boundary by holding you in a manner inappropriate for a priest.’" Years later, the Archdiocese turned over two complaints against the priest to law enforcement. After being allowed by Archbishop Fiorenza to continue in ministry for another 16 years, Father Keller has not been returned to ministry since the two complaints were turned over to Houston police in 2019. CONTACTEduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Houston and Board Member ([email protected], 832-641-6319), Mike McDonnell, Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) (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)

Abuse of Children in Protestant mission schools in Nigeria, West Africa

(For Immediate Release August 15, 2022)  MEDIA ADVISORY – PRESS CONFERENCE – CHARLOTTE NC RE: Abuse of Children in Protestant mission schools in Nigeria, West Africa Abuse victims case is tossed out But group hopes they will appeal soon They also seek a federal DOJ investigation Lawsuit targets Charlotte-based religious organization It sends hundreds of Protestant missionaries all across the world Handout given with pictures of victims & pictures of abusers named Using chalk, victims will also write names of four predators on sidewalk WHATHolding signs & enlarged childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and advocates will disclose that a Charlotte judge has just tossed out a civil suit against a Charlotte-based Protestant religious group. It was brought by six adults who were sexually violated as youngsters overseas by missionaries who are from - and in some cases, still live in - the US and Canada. The victims will--hand out pictures of at least four proven, admitted and/or credibly accused child molesting missionaries,--call on the DOJ to launch a federal investigation into the missionary group (like the DOJ did last week with the Southern Baptist Convention) and And they will urge --the victim plaintiffs to appeal the new decision against them,--everyone who has seen, suspected or suffered sex crimes by US and Canadian missionaries to "come forward, get help, call law enforcement, expose child predators and deter church cover ups and contact independent and effective self-help organizations like theirs WHENMonday, Aug. 15 at 1:00 p.m. WHEREOn the sidewalk outside of the Charles R. Jonas courthouse, 401 West Trade Street in downtown Charlotte NC  WHO Three-four victims of clergy sexual abuse at the hands of clergy &/or religious officials who belong to SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and Missionary Kids Safety Net (MKSN). Both are 30 year old Chicago-based non-profits that work to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. WHYThe lawsuit was reported by Sara Coello of the Charlotte Observer on 8/1/22. The primary defendant in the civil case is an interdenominational group called SIM USA.  Some of the alleged abuse happened at two Nigerian schools affiliated with SIM USA – Kent Academy in Miango and Hillcrest Academy in Jos.  Lawyers for SIM USA claim that these schools are "separate," and "independently operated," which the victims dispute. The ruling against the victims was handed down late last week by Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin. The victims are represented by attorneys Boz Tchividijian of DeLand FL (386 682 5540, [email protected]), Peter Janci of Portland OR (888 407 0224, [email protected]) and the Lanier Law Group of North Carolina. CONTACT Abuse victim Letta Cartlige 303 505 9141, Pastor Rich Darr of Missionary Kid Safety Net 815-370-4703, [email protected], David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]  

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 on October 8, 2022 and will feature Kathryn Robb of CHILD USAdvocacy and Mark Crawford of SNAP New Jersey.

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

 

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