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RI lawmaker renews fight to remove statute of limitations on child sexual-abuse lawsuits

Katherine Gregg The Providence Journal March 16 Rep. Carol McEntee's new bill would totally remove time limit on filing suit for child sex abuse by clergy Alleged victims rallies in support of the bill RI Catholic Church, ACLU and insurance lobby oppose bill Case working through courts would determine if RI Diocese was a 'perpetrator' of abuse PROVIDENCE – The war has begun anew over legal responsibility – and more specifically, who should be made to pay – for the sexual abuse of children, with the Rhode Island Catholic Church, the state's insurance lobby and the ACLU on one side and alleged victims on the other. A legal challenge to the state's current law is still winding its way through state court, but Rep. Carol McEntee has revived her campaign for the total repeal of the current time limit on the filing of lawsuits against pedophiles and the institutions that shielded them. And once again, McEntee's sister, Ann Hagan-Webb, a licensed psychologist who specializes in work with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, has told an abridged version of the story she has told Rhode Island lawmakers year after year, for six years.

SNAP Urges Senate Panel in Kansas to Act to Protect the Children of Kansas, not its predators

(For Immediate Release March 23, 2023)  Today, a panel of the Kansas State Senate will finally hold a hearing on legislation that would remove legal barriers preventing victims of child sexual abuse from seeking criminal and civil justice.  We support the efforts of the brave survivors who have worked so hard for this hearing, and we applaud their courage and persistence. Senate Bill 317 would remove the statute of limitations on criminal charges going forward, as well as allow survivors to file lawsuits for damages until they turn 31 years old. Under current law, children who are victimized by coaches, clergy, family members, and others must file a lawsuit before the age of 21. Based on over 30 years of experience, we at SNAP believe that changing antiquated, arbitrary, predator-friendly statutes of limitations in both the criminal and civil arenas is the single most effective thing lawmakers can do to help prevent child sex crimes and cover-ups.

Archdiocese of Santa Fe Completes Bankruptcy

(For Immediate Release March 22, 20223)  The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has completed its bankruptcy and now, finally, nearly 400 victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests and other Archdiocesan employees will receive compensation. Let us be clear: no amount of money makes up for the harm endured by the victims of these crimes. Let us also be clear that for every survivor who came forward, it is likely that there are still many more that did not. Victims continue to require outreach and care, especially those who are still suffering alone and in silence. Archbishop John Wester recently published an open letter to survivors, saying that he is "ashamed" of what happened in Santa Fe and expressing "profound regret and sorrow" for what these victims endured as children. While we would like to believe the worthy sentiments expressed by the Archbishop, we find that we cannot. What we would need to see to believe is concrete action from Archbishop Wester. He is one of the most powerful clerics in the United States. He owns a bully pulpit wherever he goes, especially when he attends bishops' conventions in the United States and in Rome. He has the ear of the pope. As an Archbishop, he might just rise to Cardinal, where he would be eligible to vote for the next Pope. We ask that he convert what he says is his "shame" into fighting for survivors and that he makes a part of his ministry true support for victims of abusive priests. What do we need at this point? 1) We are still missing lists of the accused from 15 dioceses and about 100 religious orders in the United States. None of the 150 orders of nuns have published any names. Archbishop Wester can help us get those names into the public eye. He can start with San Francisco, his own hometown, and where he worked as an auxiliary bishop from 1998-2007. The current Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, has steadfastly refused to publish a list. Our own San Francisco list numbered 312 names in September of 2022. Informed by the information from the lawsuits filed in the recently closed California civil window, our cross-referenced San Francisco list now numbers 400. Imagine the true scope of that list if Archbishop Cordileone published the names still hidden in his secret files. 2) Dioceses much wealthier than Santa Fe are now threatening bankruptcy - Oakland and San Diego are two examples. Bankruptcy generally stiff-arms victims and keeps the secrets hidden away. The Archbishop can urge Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego and Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, to drop those threats and instead come to the table with open hearts and open files. Bankruptcy almost always wounds victims more deeply, instead of promoting healing. 3) An unprecedented public archive of clergy sexual abuse documents is being established at the University of New Mexico, thanks to an unprecedented agreement between abuse survivors and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. We think that is a great start for transparency. Archbishop Wester can do still more by championing this idea nationwide.  Only with transparency and radical change can the modern Catholic Church in America be redesigned to be safe for families and a relevant force for good. At the moment, we do not see it as a force for good. We invite the Archbishop to join us and fully take the side of good, fighting against the evil that is clergy sexual abuse. Contact: Contact: Mary O’Day (602-677-2188 [email protected])  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 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

Diocese of Oakland Considers Bankruptcy; SNAP Responds

(For Immediate Release March 17, 2023)  The Bishop of the Diocese of Oakland says he is “strongly” considering declaring bankruptcy because of an avalanche of lawsuits. Bishop Michael Barber directs his letter to “Parishioners and Friends” of the Diocese and laments the property he will need to sell and bankruptcy’s impact on his plan to realign parishes because of a priest shortage. Nowhere in his letter does he lament the harm done to the 330 souls who have sued his Diocese. Nowhere does he acknowledge these people were part of the Oakland Diocese. They were baptized and confirmed, they were altar servers or attended Catholic schools. Their families entrusted their children to the priests who molested them, and those families donated their time and money to the Diocese. They in effect paid the clergy who destroyed their children's lives. Bishop Barber is woeful about his problems but seems to view the victims simply as a large number and not human beings who deserve both his compassion as well as just reparations.


(Media Advisory For February 15, 2023) SURVIVORS GATHER AT THE CAPITOL TO RALLY FOR TEXAS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM HB206 and SB751 ELIMINATE STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS (SOLs) FOR SURVIVORS OF CHILD SEX ABUSE What: A coalition of Texas survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) will gather in solidarity at the Capitol to educate legislators and their constituents about the need for SOL reform, giving voice to all survivors in the name of justice and healing. When: Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 9:00 am to 11:00 Where: South Steps of the Capitol, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas. Who: Texas leaders and members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests SNAP); President and members of Survivors of Child Sex Abuse (SCSA); President and members of, SexAbuseRegistry,; Texas CSA survivors and their supporters and advocates. Speakers will include Rep. Ann Johnson, Texas House Member Dist. 134; Dr. Amy Kemter, San Antonio Psychotherapist who works with abuse survivors; Michael Johnson, 28-year veteran, retired law enforcement child sexual abuse investigator, and former director of Youth Protection for the national headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America and Whistleblower; Mr. Joe Alarcon, Kanakuk Youth Camp Survivor Advocate; as well as several child sex abuse survivors. Why: HB 206,1 filed by Rep. Ann Johnson, and SB 751,2 filed by Senator Pete Flores, permanently eliminate the civil statutes of limitations (SOL) allowing survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) to take legal action against predators, and the institutions who enabled them. It is retroactive, reviving previously expired SOLs. These SOL bills protect our community by exposing hidden predators. They empower survivors--no matter how long ago their abuse occurred--to speak out and get the healing support they need.

Victims to leaflet at SLU; Two new predator priests outed

(For Release February 13, 2023)  Two predator priests just 'outed' at SLU SNAP writes names of 12+ accused clerics on sidewalk University refuses to reveal & post a list of abusers, group says SNAP will leaflet students warning of other accused SLU molesters Group asks SLU to do "real outreach" to possible victims, witnesses WHAT: Handing out leaflets and holding signs, clergy abuse victims will warn St. Louis University students and staff about  --two credibly accused abusers who were 'outed' just days ago, and --a seminarian who allegedly raped, assaulted, and spread defamatory rumors about a young man in 2019. The accused now attends SLU and faces a recently filed civil lawsuit. They will also --use chalk to write names of a dozen or more predator priests who worked or lived at the school on the sidewalk, and  --urge SLU officials to post on their website the names of credibly accused child molesting clerics (like most dioceses and many Catholic institutions do) and actively help law enforcement by aggressively seeking other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers in the most recent case. WHEN:  Monday, Feb. 13, at 1:30 p.m. WHERE:  On the sidewalk in the 200 block of North Grand near St. Francis Xavier 'College' Church  (on the campus of St. Louis University) in St. Louis MO WHO:  Four-six members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a St. Louis man who is the group's former longtime national director. WHY:  Late Friday, St. Louis University disclosed that two priests who worked there have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse. One of them, Fr. David V. Meconi, was at SLU as recently as 2021. He directed the university's Catholic Studies center, and allegedly abused between 2015-2016. The other is Fr. Daniel Campbell (deceased), a faculty member in the late 1950s. SNAP wants the university to provide many more details about these and other proven, admitted or credibly accused clerics who are or were at SLU. The group also wants SLU president Fred Pestello and his staff to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Fr. Merconi. Since his alleged wrongdoing was recent, he might be prosecuted and kept away from other vulnerable people, SNAP believes. In recent years, SNAP members handed out leaflets on the SLU campus prodding university officials to post on their website the names of credibly accused child molesting clerics (like the archdiocese does). Their leaflets named these priests who have been publicly accused of abuse and have lived or worked at SLU. (Everyone has been 'outed' and deemed 'credibly accused' of abuse by church or secular authorities and written about in mainstream media sources.) They are Fr. Walter P. Buetzler, Fr. David C Bayne, Fr. Franklyn W. Becker, Fr. Edward F. Beutner, Fr. Floyd A. Brey, Fr. Vincent W. Bryce, Fr. John J. “Jack” Campbell, Fr. James A. Condon, Fr. Juan Carlos Duran, Fr. Paul A. Frey, Fr. Chester E. Gaiter, Fr. James F. Gates, Fr. John Harrington, Fr. Gerhardt B. Lehkmuhl, Fr. Jerold W. Lindner, Fr. Eugene Maio, Fr. Charles H. Miller, Fr. John N. Morfin, Fr. James Glenn Murray, Fr. Thomas J. Naughton, Fr. James V. O’Connor, Fr. George M. Pieper, Fr. John Slowey, Br. Richard H. Witzofsky,  seminarian Francis J. Kegel and former SLU president Daniel O’Connell (who was sued by two former women who say he assaulted them when they were young, vulnerable students). SNAP feels that for the safety of innocent kids and vulnerable adult, these names should be permanently and prominently posted on the SLU website. NOTE: Last year, SNAP warned the SLU community about a credibly accused abusive seminarian from Tennessee who is now a SLU student. For details, see The Pillar or these links: CONTACT David Clohessy, SNAP Leader Missouri (314-566-9790, [email protected])

Survivors and Advocates in DRC call for Zero Tolerance for Clergy Sex Abuse

  MEDIA ALERT (page 4 en français) [For Immediate Release, January 25, 2023; ]   Current Clergy Sex Abuse Cases in DRC Exposed   Historic Press Conference to be held on Eve of Pope’s visit to the DRC on Clergy Sex Abuse   Clergy sex abuse victims in Kinshasa call on Pope to help   Survivors and Advocates in DRC call for Zero Tolerance for Clergy Sex Abuse   For the first time in Africa, international activists will join with Congolese survivors and advocates in a press conference to highlight the failure of the Catholic Church to protect survivors and whistleblowers.    Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo the week of January 31 to February 3, 2023. On Monday January 30, survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their advocates from the Congo, U.S. and Europe will be in Kinshasa to hold a press conference in order to:   Share information regarding a current case of clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the DRC, including details on how the victim and her family have been silenced and the harm done to her advocates.  The victim and a witness are scheduled to testify by Zoom during the press conference. Expose corruption within the DRC judicial system that has benefitted church officials and perpetrators at the expense of the abused;  Insist Pope Francis enforce his recently enacted "apostolic letter"  by immediately removing and sanctioning abusive priests and their bishop enablers to send an important message to the continent of Africa that there is zero tolerance for clergy sex abuse and coverup.    

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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