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Archdiocese of New Orleans, abuse survivors still far from settlement; ‘A knife fight since day one’

NEW ORLEANS (LA) [New Orleans, LA] November 17, 2023 By Stephanie Riegel   After three-and-a-half years of courtroom squabbles, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and attorneys representing hundreds of victims of child sexual abuse are far from a deal that would allow the local Roman Catholic church to emerge from federal bankruptcy protection. Two days of hearings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where Judge Meredith Grabill is overseeing the church’s Chapter 11 reorganization, covered a host of issues related to property sales, insurance claims and whether survivors of clergy sexual abuse should be permitted to file suit against individual parishes in addition to the archdiocese. They yielded no rulings and largely demonstrated to parishioners, the public and Grabill how a process Archbishop Gregory Aymond hoped would allow the church to put the abuse crisis behind it had descended into bitter and drawn out legal disputes. Attorneys representing abuse survivors are frustrated by the lack of progress, they said during the hearings. Meanwhile, attorneys for insurance companies said they’re being left out of settlement talks that will inevitably involve them. “Everything has been a knife fight since day one,” said an exasperated Grabill while admonishing attorneys for the archdiocese for failing to disclose information related to a property sale. She said she would likely need to “start imposing a move collaborative process.” A long fight

US bankruptcy laws give unintended advantages to churches: SNAP urges Federal action

For Immediate Release, December 6, 2023 An insightful article, published in The Guardian and authored by Louisiana journalist Jason Berry, points out that in bankruptcy court, religious institutions get all the relief the process affords, but have advantages other debtors do not enjoy. Sadly, in the bankruptcies filed by entities like the Catholic Church, the law is being used to protect institutions that covered up child sex abuse.  SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, believes that in the interest of safeguarding today’s boys and girls, the United States government must close this loophole. As SNAP Board Member Dan McNevin pointed out in The Guardian piece, “These bankruptcies are saving dioceses from ever coming clean.” Dan wants the Church to list the names of all of the accused, as a form of “contrition.” The bankruptcy process does not lend itself to those disclosures. While the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, agreed to release its clergy abuse files publicly as part of that bankruptcy settlement, Santa Fe is the exception rather than the rule. Documents in the Milwaukee bankruptcy were sealed in 2016. A request from the state attorney general to release those records in 2018 is still being litigated. The New Orleans bankruptcy is perhaps the worst-case scenario. The judge in that proceeding has not only kept the information sealed, she chose a “nuclear option” in 2022, when a local Catholic school was warned about an accused priest who was working there. In response, the judge removed three plaintiff attorneys from the creditor committee, as well as their four clients/survivors. She also fined the lawyer who had issued the warning to the school's principal $400,000. The fine is currently under appeal. The FBI has been investigating Catholic cases in Louisiana for more than a year, though how much information it has actually obtained from the Church is unclear. Child predators rarely, if ever stop, without outside intervention. The Catholic Church is a prime example of a religious institution that has protected its perpetrators from criminal prosecution for decades. Unfortunately, SCOTUS ruled in the Stogner case that criminal statutes of limitations cannot be changed retroactively. Yet the Catholic Church has impeded current criminal investigations in Wisconsin, and perhaps in Louisiana as well. As a work-around to the US Supreme Court ruling on criminal law, states have expanded or removed their civil statutes of limitation. Some, like Louisiana, California, and New York, have open civil windows to help protect children by allowing victims to pursue lawsuits, despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church. Even today, dioceses in Louisiana are challenging that state’s look-back legislation. When legal challenges to civil windows fail, as they did in California, Catholic dioceses have fled to the protection of the bankruptcy court, thwarting the legislative intent of those states to learn the names of the abusers. In their efforts to protect their secrets they have even become unlikely bedfellows with a company that contributed to the US' current opioid crisis. We do not think it is in the public interest for information about child predators, regardless of where they hunted, to remain hidden. It seems to us long past time for the federal government to reconsider this unintended consequence of the bankruptcy law. CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected]), Dan McNevin, SNAP Board of Directors Treasurer ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386) (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

SNAP Letter to Christophe Cardinal Pierre - Papal Nuncio

Oct. 19, 2023His Eminence Christophe Cardinal PierrePapal Nuncio3339 Massachusetts Ave NWWashington, DC 20008 Dear Cardinal Pierre: "The Diocese of Springfield’s handling of child sex abuse allegations is a story of failed leadership—leadership that allowed clerics to sexually abuse children in the diocese for decades. Through it all, men leading the diocese for 50 years chose to protect the reputation of the church and its clerics, rather than attempt to ensure the physical and mental well-being of its children.”“As a result, children of the diocese suffered through decades of child sex abuse, the impact of which continues to this day."So wrote Illinois’ highest ranking law enforcement professional, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, following a nearly five-year investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups across the state.Into this horrific situation stepped Bishop Thomas Paprocki twelve years ago. He knew Springfield had been a troubled diocese. (In fact, one of his predecessors, Bishop Daniel Ryan, was a child molester himself, as Paprocki himself was aware.)So one would reasonably have expected Paprocki to be especially diligent, sensitive and proactive about abuse.His experience should have also enabled him to better deal with abuse.

SNAP weighs in on USCCB meeting in Baltimore

For Immediate Release November 13, 2023 When all US Catholic bishops meet in Baltimore, we urge them to discuss the church's ongoing clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis. Ignoring this still-widespread and deeply hurtful criminal scandal leads to further complacency which enables more predators to assault more kids.While the Catholic hierarchy's internal panels, procedures, policies and protocols on abuse are inherently flawed and rarely effective, not talking about this crisis is the wrong approach. Specifically, at a bare minimum, we urge the bishops to at least discuss the possibility of:---establishing a whistleblowers fund to help church employees who experience retaliation after reporting known or suspected child sex crimes to church officials, and---fighting for, not against, reforms of secular abuse laws to give victims of childhood sexual violence more time to expose those who commit or conceal child sex crimes in court. We also urge them to vote AGAINST elevating San Francisco's archbishop to a committee chairmanship.San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone remains one of only about a dozen prelates who stubbornly, recklessly and callously refuse to disclose and post on their website the names of credibly accused child molesting clerics. On that basis alone, he should be denied any more positions of respect or responsibility in the church.(He's one of two candidates to become head of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Bishop Daniel E. Thomas of the Diocese of Toledo is running against him.)   CONTACT: David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Teresa Lancaster, SNAP Member ([email protected], 410- 703- 9122),  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578   (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

Clergy abuse victims/advocates presser THURS 11/30 @ 11:15a.m. & 1:15pm in Chicago

Victims blast Chicago Catholic officials Church figures settle child abuse case for $2 million Groups file 1st-ever complaint to Vatican about 5 of them It names 2 cardinals, 2 bishops and a top official in Rome SNAP:  'Dangerous priest is on the loose in Chicago, unmonitored & unsupervised' Cardinal Cupich & others in the church 'must warn parents & the public about him' WHATAt a sidewalk news conference with signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse advocates will-- announce a new formal, first-ever complaint to the Vatican against five top Chicagoland Catholic officials for 'ignoring, hiding and/or enabling' child sex crimes by clergy,-- blast those church figures for ‘doing little or nothing’ to protect others from a predator priest who is believed to now live and work 'unsupervised and unmonitored' in the Chicago area (despite a recent $2 million settlement paid to one of his victims), and-- urge the church officials to warn police, prosecutors, parents, parishioners and the public about him, and-- harshly critize the heads of three dioceses (Chicago, Joliet, Rockford) and a Chicago-based Catholic religious order for how they mishandled the predator, the case and the settlement.They will also beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes or church cover ups to call law enforcement. WHEN - Thursday, Nov. 30, outside two church institutions where the now-ousted but still living credibly accused predator priest worked or lived:--At 11:15 a.m. outside the St. John Stone Friary, 1165 E. 54th Pl. (in Hyde Park), Chicago--At 1:15 p.m. outside St. Rita of Cascia High School, 7740 S. Western Ave., Chicago WHOA veteran Chicago attorney who represents abuse victims and the former long-time director of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests VISUALSA large photo of the abuser and a poster listing credibly accused Chicago clerics in the Augustinians, the religious order to which the predator priest belongs

Wrongful death suit filed vs. Missouri boarding school

Wrongful death suit filed vs. Missouri boarding schoolMom sues because her son, gang raped there, is now deadUnusual case names eight defendants; two of them are sheriffsIt also accuses a company that transports kids to such facilitiesVictims also call for better laws & enforcement 'to prevent more abuse' WHATHolding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will--announce the first-ever wrongful death lawsuit against a controversial, unlicensed, independent  and now-shuttered Baptist facility for 'troubled teenagers' in southern Missouri, and--call on Missouri lawmakers to pass a new law that would expand the state's civil statute of limitations on abuse which would enable more child sex abuse victims to expose those who commit or conceal child sex crimes in court.--urge local and state law enforcement agencies to more aggressively investigate similar schools and more vigorously prosecute wrongdoers. WHENTuesday, Oct. 24 at 1:00 p.m. WHEREOn the sidewalk outside the Federal Courthouse 400 E. 9th Street in downtown Kansas City, MO

Groups seek Vatican’s help re: Springfield IL bishop

Groups seek Vatican’s help re: Springfield bishop SNAP files formal complaint about him to Vatican Two men hurt by local clerics speak for the first time   They name 2 'already outed' Spgfld area predator priests Victims want to speak to big upcoming diocesan assembly WHATHolding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will announce that their group is filing with the Vatican (under a new and little-known church process) a lengthy formal complaint charging that Springfield's bishop is deliberately protecting predator priests and making it harder for victims to report abuse. Two Illinois men will also speak publicly for the first time about the childhood suffering they experienced. One man was molested by a local priest. The other was molested by his brother who was molested by a different local priest. The group will also:--use chalk to write on the sidewalk the names of proven, admitted &/or credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or were in the Springfield Diocese but are NOT on the official diocesan 'credibly accused' list, and--ask Springfield's bishop to let victims them speak later this month at a diocese-wide assembly.   WHENThursday, Oct. 19 at 1:00 pm

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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