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Advocates call for change after sexual misconduct allegations made against two Valley priests

By: Sarah Cervera, Channel 5, Rio Grande Valley, Texas April 23, 2024 10:34 AM Half a dozen advocates gathered in front of the San Juan Basilica on Monday to call for change. As Channel 5 News has reported, in the last two months, two Catholic priests were accused of sexual misconduct. "We wanted to give voice to the survivors that are here and make sure people understand why it's so hard for them to come forward," Patricia Koo said. Koo is the SNAP San Antonio Chapter Leader. SNAP stands for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Diocese of Kalamazoo provides list of those “disqualified from working with kids,” survivors’ group wants more information posted

For immediate release: April 19, 2024 The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo recently released a list of names of those “disqualified from working with kids.” While information like this is always welcome, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hopes that additional information will be added to the list soon. It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering alone and in silence. Seeing that they are not the only one helps victims heal, and could also encourage others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward. So, we are grateful that Bishop Edward Lohse finally published a list. However, traditionally the lists of Catholic dioceses have provided information about clergy, and sometimes other individuals, who have been “credibly accused” of the crimes of child sexual abuse and/or child pornography. The other categories for removal Bishop Lohse identified: continued violations of a child-protection policy after warnings, failing as a mandated reporter to report allegations of abuse of children, failing to act to prevent abuse that they knew to be happening, and physical abuse of children, are likely laudable additions that will help protect boys and girls from suffering childhood trauma. Yet, we cannot help by worry that is all too easy for the parishioners and the public to assume that the clergy, or even the non-clergy on the list, did not commit life-changing and heinous crimes. Thus, we believe that it is extremely important for Bishop Lohse to identify which people fall into which of categories.

Agreement between the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the New York Attorney General reached; SNAP reacts

For immediate release: April 17, 2024 An independent monitor will oversee the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s handling of sexual abuse accusations under a settlement reached with the New York Attorney General. Although we hope that this solution will help to hold Church officials accountable, we worry that a deal like this may sound good on paper, but end up ineffective in reality. The Attorney General’s office began investigating eight of New York’s Catholic dioceses in September, 2018. Today, AG Letitia James announced an agreement with Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan for independent oversight of abuse accusations in the Diocese. Interventions by secular officials can provide a welcome change to “business as usual.” However, it is important to remember that the Catholic hierarchy has enabled, denied, ignored, and concealed heinous crimes against children for decades. Also, the Brooklyn Diocese, like all Catholic dioceses, is run by a man who truly answers only to the Pope. Church hierarchs are almost never defrocked, demoted, or even disciplined, no matter how poorly they handle abuse and cover-ups. Sadly, no agreement between an Attorney General and a Church official will ever change this unhealthy dynamic. 

SNAP to MO AG: Investigate boarding schools!

April 15, 2024 Dear Attorney General Bailey: As Missouri’s top law enforcement official, we feel strongly that you can no longer ignore the growing crisis involving kids in the essentially unregulated, mostly for-profit, purportedly religious boarding ‘schools’ where dozens of vulnerable kids have been – and likely still are being – abused. Crisis is not an exaggeration given the recent disturbing disclosures of known and suspected child sex crimes that have surfaced at facilities like Agape School in Stockton, Lighthouse Academy in Piedmont, Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in Humansville and Kanakuk Kamps in Branson. Ample evidence already exists in the public record that these institutions lack oversight and sometimes attract predators who hurt kids and supervisors who ignore or hide suspicious or criminal acts.

UPDATED: SNAP press event Monday, April 22, 2024, at 10:00 am. in San Juan, Texas

SNAP & CALL TO ACTION stand with RGV survivors of clergy sexual abuse The two groups urge all victims to come forward and find help Remember: law enforcement reports can help ensure what you endured never happens to another Statement from Brownsville Diocese survivor will also be shared at press event Victim encourages others to share their truth: “We all deserve support” WHAT: Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and a Catholic advocacy group, Call to Action, will read a statement by a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in the RGV. The groups will also provide context as to why victims should be believed, and why they often delay coming forward. WHEN: Monday, April 22, 2024, at 10:00 am. WHERE: Outside the Basilica de San Juan, 400 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd, San Juan, Texas. We will be meeting on the public sidewalk on the west side of the Basilica. Enter the address 700 Oblate Street for GPS directions. WHO: 3-5 victims, advocates and supporters, including David Saavedra, a McAllen counselor and advocate with Call to Action, and Patti Koo, SNAP San Antonio leader and survivor of adult abuse in McAllen, Texas, by a clergy/counselor. WHY: We are gathering to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse and to educate the public on the importance of believing and supporting survivors, especially in a culture that often prizes a Church’s or a family’s “reputation” over the safety and well-being of its members. Not believing or supporting victims re-traumatizes them and hinders both their coming forward and their healing. We will stand in support of survivors. We believe them and we thank them for speaking out to ensure the safety of others. Victims deserve to live a full life, as they often speak of their childhoods being stolen by the one who abused them. If you, or someone you know has been abused by clergy or others, please reach out to SNAP and other support services. Survivors are also encouraged to report any abuse to law enforcement directly, instead of relying on the Diocese to pass along their truth. 

Abuse victims presser MONDAY 11:15 am (4/15) in Jeff City MO

Victims beg MO AG to intervene in growing scandalFour Christian boarding schools now face abuse reportsSNAP to Bailey: “Investigate, warn parents & prod local prosecutors” Group also asks lawmakers to reform MO's 'predator-friendly statute of limitations' WHATAt a sidewalk news conference - with signs and childhood photos - child sex abuse victims and their supporters will --hand-deliver a letter to Missouri's attorney general – signed by seven victims - urging him to investigate and warn the public about recent reports of abuse at largely unregulated ‘faith-based’ boarding schools in Missouri, --urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse there to come forward, and --beg lawmakers to reform Missouri’s ‘archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly’ statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. They will also testify at a legislative hearing in the afternoon and ask legislators to reform outdated child safety laws and give more abuse victims the chance to expose their predators in court. WHENMonday, April 15 at 11:15 a.m. WHEREOn the sidewalk outside the Missouri Attorney General's office, 207 W. High Street (between Broadway and Washington) in Jefferson City

Clergy abuse victims leafletting & news conf Wed 3/20 @ 1:00 p.m. in Alton

  Victims to leaflet church where accused priest was ousted   With little attention, cleric was suspended 6 months ago   A 2nd predator priest, now deceased, also worked there   SNAP: ‘Bishop must do outreach to seek others in pain’   WHAT Six months ago, a priest was quietly suspended after being accused of sexually abusing a child. Clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hold a brief sidewalk news conference and then leaflet around a Catholic parish and school where he worked and reportedly molested. WHEN Wednesday, March 20 at 1:00 p.m. WHERE Outside Immaculate Conception-St. Mary's Church, 519 East 4th Street in Alton, IL (618 465 4284)

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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