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Research to specifically focus on those who were abused by clergy after they turned 18 and reported the abuse to their religious institution

My name is Krystal Woolston. I have followed the work of SNAP for a long time but have not had big interactions. I initially started following SNAP in 2013 when I reported a pastor in my denomination (Methodist). I recently gave a talk about my experience at a ted-style UMC conference, so I've included that script as an attachment. 
In the time that has passed since then, I started in a Human Development PhD program at Montclair State University (an institution I also work at). I had originally started my PhD program with the intent to focus research on community engagement (the area I currently work in), but as time went on and I struggled with the response from my church and denomination, I realized that this was the area I really wanted to research and hopefully make a meaningful impact on the way religious institutions respond to reports of abuse. 
I am focusing my research specifically on those who were abused by clergy after they turned 18 and reported the abuse to their religious institution. I am looking at whether how the institution responds impacts a survivor's well-being, spirituality, and post traumatic growth. I am now at the stage of data collection for my dissertation. I developed a completely anonymous survey (including randomizing IP addresses so locations cannot be detected), with an option to participate in an interview at a later date. I am hoping to collect survey data through April 10th. I've included as an attachment my approved proposal for my research as well. 
I'm really passionate about this work and I think the more respondents I hear from the more likely institutions will be willing to make adjustments to policies in their responses, so any assistance at all would be appreciated. Please let me know.
Best,
Krystal 

Krystal Woolston (she/her/hers)
Assistant Director, Center for Community Engagement
Phone: 973-655-4268
Email: [email protected]


Ribera Law Firm Becomes Gold Level Sponsor for SNAP’s 2022 Mini Conferences

For a second year in a row, we are delighted to announce that Ribera Law Firm of San Francisco, California, has become a Gold Level Sponsor for each of SNAP’s virtual mini conferences. Each one of these four one-day conferences throughout 2022 is free to attendees and will provide new resources for support of and education to our audience of advocates, sexual abuse survivors, and their families. The first 2022 mini conference is scheduled for March.

Ribera Law Firm has had much success in representing victims of clergy sexual abuse. Attorney Sandra Ribera Speed says that the key to her firm’s success is that she doesn’t just see her clients as clients but as partners with whom she walks side by side throughout the emotional journey that bringing a clergy sexual abuse case entails. At Ribera Law Firm, Sandra Ribera Speed’s primary focus is on supporting her clients in any way she can and empowering them as they continue their path toward justice.

We offer our sincerest gratitude to Ribera Law Firm for its support of our mini conferences and for the excellent work it does for survivors within our network.


SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Standing up for Oneself: Mona Randolph

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

As a child, Mona Randolph experienced horrific and terrifying violence at home, where her father beat her regularly and, as she grew older, her grandfather sexually molested her. Vulnerability, fear and victimization were the dynamics that Mona lived with constantly, always looking for a loving place where she could belong.

At 19, during her second year of college, Mona was invited to attend a church gathering at the Cathedral of The Holy Spirit, a charismatic, Pentecostal megachurch in a suburb of Atlanta. This church was founded by Earl Pearly Paulk, Jr., who would later become a self-proclaimed “archbishop.” Because of the liturgical arts of dance and drama incorporated into each gathering, and because of her love of singing, Mona became a member of the church and eventually the church’s lead vocalist. At this place of worship, Mona thought she had found a new home among the more than 20,000 congregants. However, darkness lurked within the walls of the cathedral.


Another miscarriage of justice in India?

By Marc Artzrouni

SNAP- Europe Coordinator 

After a trial that lasted almost two years, a court in India has acquitted  Bishop Franco Mulakkal who had been accused of repeatedly raping a nun in a church guest house in Kerala between 2014 and 2016. 

The victim reported the crime in 2018  - but following months of protests, Mulakkal was charged only in 2019.  The charges included   "wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex, and criminal intimidation".  Nuns who had joined the protests against the attempted cover-up of his crimes were disciplined, transferred, or even expelled from their congregation.  

The not-guilty verdict was based on the fact that the victim's statement was made of  "exaggerations and embellishments".  The judge helpfully added that  "The claim [...] that she was raped on 13 occasions under duress cannot be taken reliance on the basis of her solitary testimony. There is no consistency in the statement of the victim.” 

By blaming the victim and casting doubts on her testimony the Catholic Church (through the legal system)  sends once again a chilling message to future victims: "See what happens when you accuse us of sexual abuse?".  Indeed, what victims in the future will have the courage to report these crimes when they know the legal system will blame them and let the perpetrators off the hook?


A look at Clergy Abuse within the Serbian Orthodox Church from Bojan Jovanovic

Although many Orthodox Churches, including Russia, Greece, and Serbia, have denied the existence of systemic clergy abuse for years, pretending instead that there are just a few bad apples, the facts completely deny them.


SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Solidarity, Transparency & Accountability: Tim Stier

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

For twenty-five years, Tim Stier served as a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Oakland, but today Tim is, as he states, “a priest in voluntary exile.” How did that happen? In 2004, while serving his last year as pastor at Corpus Christi Parish in Fremont, California, Tim read in a local newspaper the story of Dan McNevin, who revealed that in the 1970s he had been sexually abused by Father James Clark, a predecessor of Tim’s at Corpus Christi. Tim had been alerted by his diocese (Oakland) ahead of time and believed Dan’s allegations.  Later, when asked by a reporter how he and his parishioners were reacting to the story, Tim asked the reporter to let Dan know he would like to meet with him in order to support Dan. Two weeks later, Dan showed up at the rectory to talk. They spoke for more than two and half hours, and upon the conclusion of their lengthy conversation, the full impact of Dan’s heart-wrenching story sank in. Dan had spoken with honesty, sincerity, and a whole lot of pain about the clergy sexual abuse he had experienced. That meeting changed Tim’s life and priorities.


SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Finding My Purpose: Larry Antonsen

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

While a sophomore, Larry Antonsen was sexually abused by an Augustinian priest at his local high school. For more than 40 years, Larry blocked the memories of guilt, shame and anger that bubbled deep inside him, for as a staunch Catholic, he was horrified by the abuse he suffered at the hands of a clergyman. However, in 2006, those memories started surfacing, so he called the Chicago Archdiocese, but they said they didn’t handle it because it was an Augustinian priest. They did refer him to another Augustinian priest, who neither believed nor wanted to believe Larry’s story as a survivor of clergy sexual abuse.


SELF-FORGIVENESS

Self-Forgiveness

BY DAVID PIETRASANTA ENCINO, CA

I thought the meaning of self-forgiveness was when I saw the word on paper or when I heard someone say it, I felt some comfort.  That's temporary comfort.  I discovered there is more to it for me.
 
I imagine myself today sitting next to me who is 10 years old.
 
1) I'm sorry you thought it was your fault.
2) As it continued to happen, I'm sorry you were convinced it was your fault.
3) I'm sorry you felt helpless and terrorized.
4) I'm sorry you lived in fear of him.
5) I'm sorry you lived in fear because of your secret.
6) I'm sorry for a lifetime of guilt and shame.
7) I'm sorry I told you drugs would make it all go away.
8) I'm sorry for telling you to just forget about it.
9) I'm sorry for concluding that staying silent was the best solution.
10) Do you want to know how you turned out?  You're a survivor success story.
 
I imagine this as a conversation between me today and me at 10 years old.  Numbers 7,8,9 are direct apologies.  I wonder all the time what it would be like to have this conversation in person.

 


Double standards at the Vatican?

The speed at which the Vatican has accepted the resignation of Michel Aupetit, the archbishop of Paris, has raised eyebrows, particularly in contrast with the pope's reluctance to deal with others who had mishandled sexual abuse cases.

The official reason for Aupetit's resignation was an "ambiguous" relationship with a woman in the past - without any suggestion of sexual abuse, only the suspicion that the relationship may have been a bit too close.   This aspect is underplayed in an otherwise thoughtful article in The Tablet, which mentions "flimsy" sexual allegations.   The article correctly details other reasons, namely  Aupetit's glaring lack of "human, political and cultural skills" as the main reason for his resignation.


GivingTuesday 2021 Fundraiser: Advocating for the End of Child Sexual Abuse

This November we have a great chance to bring the needs, wants, and asks of survivors to the world stage in a big way! SNAP and leading advocacy organizations, such as Darkness to Light, RAINN, Together for Girls, and the Army of Survivors, will recognize November 18th as the international #EndChildSexAbuseDay.

On November 18, SNAP, as part of the steering group for the Keep Kids Safe coalition, will release our Federal Blueprint for action. A key part of this blueprint, and something that members of our SNAP network have demanded for years, is the importance of a federal investigation into institutions that perpetuate abuse and cover-up, like the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and others.

The coalition is proposing that a “Keep Kids Safe National Summit” on the “Prevention, Healing and Justice of Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents” be convened by the White House in 2022. We believe it is critical that survivors of sexual abuse are able to attend this summit and share their experiences and stories with thought leaders, researchers, federal, state, and local leaders, and others from allied organizations around the U.S.


SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant