Dear Survivors and Supporters of SNAP,
We call on you take action.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report created a firestorm. Communities across the nation demand action. Several states are looking at some form of investigation as the result of our call, NY, IL, NE, MD, AZ, RI, LA, MO. We need to propel these attorneys general forward to action. We have lit a fire. There is no going back.
Write letters to the attorney general of your state. Demand, request, and beg them to impanel a grand jury in that state.
The investigation must be:
~ independent of and separate from the church
~must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
Attorney General contact information
There are twenty-nine states with NO restrictions on Statute of Limitations (SOL) for felony rape and sexual offenses. Vile predators can be prosecuted if we act. States with no SOL on felony sexual crimes:
AL AK AZ CT DE FL ID IN KY MA MD ME MI MO NE NC NJ NM NV NY RI SC TX UT VT VA WV WI WY
We want grand juries in all states but especially these twenty-nine states. In addition, our letters to the editor, phone calls to politicians, can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
This means if the attorney general of one of these above states has evidence of rape or sexual abuse that vile predator can be prosecuted, SOL does not apply.
Note to letter writers. Use you own words and style of writing. Cut and paste as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you are writing, i.e., state abused in, state now living in.
Three templates for consideration, #1, the experiences of a survivor, SNAP leader and Board Member, #2 experiences of a member of the community, #3 experiences of SNAP leader and Board Member.
Template #1 Survivor (Written by Board member Michael Norris from Texas to the AG)
Dear Attorney General,
Dear Mr. Paxton,
I am a survivor of sexual abuse by clergy. I am also a local Leader for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, in Houston, Texas.
As a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, I know firsthand the pain and suffering experienced by those abused at the hands of clergy. The pain goes deeper than the sexual abuse itself. It not only involves the spiritual impacts, but also the undue stress associated with the discrediting and minimizing of the abuse by the Catholic Church. One of the most important things that a survivor like myself seeks is to be believed, acknowledged by our communities, and see justice towards our perpetrator. Our goal is to ensure that the sexual abuse of children stops, and the perpetrators are removed from accessing and abusing other children.
Unfortunately, the tactics of the Catholic Church are not consistent with that mission and instead are geared towards minimizing the economic and public relations impacts on the church. The national investigation reports in Ireland and Australia, the testimony to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, newspaper investigations by the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times, each demonstrate the historic and systematic practice of covering up and moving clergy around to hide the scope of the abuse.
As of the date of writing this letter, the state of Pennsylvania is about to release a Grand Jury report after an 18 month investigation into the cover up of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. Over 300 perpetrators from 6 dioceses are going to be exposed by this report. The release of the report has been vehemently challenged by the Catholic Church.
Another data point which is available is the Boston diocese sexual abuse scandal. In this situation, over 270 perpetrators of sexual abuse have been identified in the Boston diocese alone through diligent reporting by the Boston Globe.
The point is that in every case where investigations are done, by either the press or the civil authorities, the Catholic Church is found to be hiding and reassigning their clergy to minimize the impact on to their institution. Why is the Catholic Church above reproach when it comes to sexual abuse by their clergy? When are all states going to follow Pennsylvania’s lead and hold those in power in the Catholic Church accountable for their actions?
For years, SNAP has requested all dioceses to publicly share the names of perpetrators for the safety and protection of future child victims. Very few have followed through on this request.
Is it not time for Texas to begin holding their local Catholic dioceses accountable; protecting the innocence of children and the sanctity of those already abused? As the Attorney General of Texas, you have the power to begin this investigation today. Please consider following the lead of your courageous colleague in Pennsylvania, Mr. Josh Shapiro, and take this action immediately.
Template #2 Community Letter
Dear Attorney General ___________
Our community relies on you and other organizations of law enforcement for the safety of our community. After reading reports of the Pennsylvania grand jury I can no longer trust that my (children? Neighborhood?) (is; are) safe. I am both outraged and disturbed by what they found.
I am a resident of (state of _____ ). I ask and implore you to conduct an independent investigation into probable sexual abuse of children and minors and other violations of criminal law in (state ____) by clergy and church hierarchy in the Catholic Church. Serious criminal acts were known to have been committed by many Catholic clergy. We fear harm to hundreds or perhaps thousands of children in (state______) .
The shocking Grand Jury Report demonstrates a cavalier disregard for children’s health and safety. We ask you to act to make a determination about the extent of clergy sexual abuse in our state. We want the investigation to be independent and separate from the church and that the investigation employs subpoena authority and compels testimony under oath.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Template #3 SNAP Leader
Re: Investigation into child sexual abuse and its cover up in the Catholic Church in California
Dear Mr. Becerra,
I am a volunteer leader with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. I am one of the group’s contacts in the San Francisco Bay Area.
As you no doubt know, a grand jury report was released in Pennsylvania this week detailing years of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in six dioceses in that state. The report said that 301 priests abused more than 1,000 children since 1947.
Even more disturbingly, the investigation concluded that the bishops “followed a playbook for concealing the truth.” Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, noted that in some cases, “the cover up stretched all the way up to the Vatican.” Jurors believed that, even today, the bishops were still working hard to protect themselves.
Governmental investigations in Ireland, Belgium and Australia also found the same consistent pattern of cover up by top Catholic officials. This week, SNAP and the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York wrote to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, stating:
It is long past time for the U.S. Department of Justice to initiate a full-scale, nationwide investigation into the systemic rape and sexual violence, and cover-ups in the Catholic Church, and, where appropriate, bring criminal and/or civil proceedings against the hierarchy that enabled the violations.
The Catholic Church is the largest organization in the world, and young people have been hurt by its clergy everywhere it operates. Catholic officials around the globe have covered up these crimes and hindered their prosecution.
Moreover, in this country the Church has spent millions lobbying against changes to laws that would allow survivors to seek justice through the courts. The only recourse those harmed as children have is to call on the government to expose the true extent of the problem, so that both officials and the public can understand the necessity for statute of limitations reform.
Sadly, the failure to eliminate predator friendly laws affects not just Catholic victims, but prevents all survivors of child sexual abuse from holding perpetrators and their protectors accountable. In addition, the Catholic Church’s “hidden predators,” both those still in ministry and also those who have been laicized, pose a threat to all children, not just those in Catholic parishes and schools.
I am calling on you to use the power of your office to mount an investigation into sexual crimes against minors by Catholic clergy and their cover up by Church officials within the state of California.
The young people of our state deserve to be protected.
Thank you for your attention to this request.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Future news and updates on the call for grand jury investigations in every state
can found at this link: http://www.snapnetwork.org/act_now