Open Letter to Pope Francis

By Mary Dispenza 

Dear Pope Francis,

Time is begging you to do the right thing. There have been too many apologies from you and other Popes through the ages with little to no significant reform. The Catholic Church remains seemingly unable to conquer its demons. And yet, if you don't, the Catholic Church may perish - never becoming the great Church it could be. 

Neither you, your bishops or priests appear serious about ending the torture and clergy sex abuse of children, minors and vulnerable adults. The silence of so many priests and bishops including yourself speaks complicity in one way or another. 

Announcement -- New Executive Director

Welcome New Executive Director

Zach Hiner

The Board of Directors of SNAP are pleased to announce the hiring of the new executive director, Zach Hiner.

Zach joins us at a momentous moment in time. SNAP continues to grow and expand, with new support groups and new initiatives. We expect further growth in support of survivors by engaging in social media and through technology such as video conferencing local and national support groups. The life changing work of our founders, Barbara Blaine and David Clohessy continues in a new era.

Zach brings passion to the SNAP mission, technical skills to lead us to the future, and experience to get the job done.

The Board welcomes Zach and ask all to extend your support to him as we move forward. Zach’s first day is September 24th.

Board of Directors


Brief Bio:

Zach Hiner has spent the past eight years of his career working in child abuse and neglect prevention. A graduate of the James Madison College at Michigan State University, Zach started his career as the Executive Assistant to David Clohessy while David served as the Executive Director of SNAP. After several years working with Barbara, David and Barb, Zach moved on to Prevent Child Abuse America; first as the External Communications Manager and most recently as the Director of Communications.

While at PCA America, Zach developed public awareness campaigns aimed at moving the public to action on behalf of children and families with the message that each of us have a role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Additionally, Zach has facilitated internal and external communications among PCA America’s two major national networks and has worked with advocates, survivors, college students and politicians in order to help Americans understand that prevention is possible.

“I’m excited to come home to the organization that lit the spark and turned me towards a life of advocacy and prevention. SNAP made an indelible impact on my career and I’m honored to come back to the organization at this critical time. Every day, more and more people are becoming aware of the realities of just how common abuse becomes when we put institutions over people, whether that institution is a church, a University, or a Hollywood studio. For years SNAP has led the way in providing a voice to the voiceless and I am looking forward to increasing our reach, updating our messaging and helping SNAP reach more people than we ever thought would be possible.”

Dedicated Advocate Carolyn Disco of Merrimack has passed away.

Carolyn Disco of Merrimack has passed away.
She was one of the most knowledgeable and outspoken Catholic lay people in the US regarding the Catholic abuse and cover up crisis. She started and led for years the NH chapter of Voice of the Faithful.
Carolyn was a hero to hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims. Unlike most Catholics, she neither ran from this crisis nor bought the calculated apologies and vague promises of the church hierarchy. Instead, she rallied to the side of the wounded and pushed hard to expose the truth, helping law enforcement and journalists investigate this horror.
Her compassion was boundless and her commitment to change was tireless. Many a suffering survivor turned to her for comfort and found it in this generous, kind woman. SNAP gave her our first-ever "Lay Person of the Year" award, which she earned through her dedicated support and advocacy. She will be sorely missed.
David Clohessy, former director ofSNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
David G. Clohessy
314-566-9790 (cell)

All Survivors Day -- November 3rd -- A National day to recognize survivors of sexual abuse

All Survivors Day

Save the date’ for a National All Survivors Day on November 3, 2018.

This event is designed for all survivors of sexual abuse, not just children, not just in religious communities, but everywhere, including: on college campuses, in the military, within sports, and in schools, just to name a few. 

What We Propose:

A National day to recognize survivors of sexual abuse and rape

All Survivors Day, November 3rd.

It is an extension of All Saints Day November 1st, and All Souls Day on the 2nd. What follows is All Survivors Day on November 3rd.


The recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report spotlighted the horrific ubiquity of sexual abuse within one institution; it also pointed to the truth that this scourge is far-reaching, across society, organizations, and events. The horrific findings of the grand jury wholly confirm the understanding of all advocates in the field of sexual abuse and human rights—this happens everywhere—churches, universities, sports teams, military, schools.

~We want to call out to victims and survivors, and say, we are with you.

~We welcome your stories. We honor your courage. You are not alone.

~We especially want to cultivate and create a welcoming culture where victims feel safe to step forward. As you know, most victims of sexual abuse never step forward.

Catholics Fired Up! Times Up! We Demand the Truth

For Immediate Release
Fired Up:
“Times Up!
We Demand Truth”
United States and Rome -- On September 8 and 9, Catholics across the United States will protest at their local cathedrals and parishes demanding truth and accountability from Catholic bishops who covered up clergy sex abuse.
On August 14, a Grand Jury in Pennsylvania released a report detailing the abuse suffered by over 1,000 child victims, and names over 300 Catholic priests as credibly accused. In addition to the individual crimes, the report shed light on the decades long effort of Catholic Church officials to shield the perpetrators from prosecution, and generally hide details of the crimes from the public. 
“Justice for survivors is foremost on the minds of Catholics today,” said Kate McElwee, executive director of Women’s Ordination Conference. “We need civil investigations of clergy sexual abuse in every state, the elimination of age limits for victims to report, the elimination of non-disclosure agreements, and a tightening of laws that require professionals to report abuse, and an end to disclosure agreements that bar victims from cooperating in criminal prosecutions.”
“Catholics are calling on the U.S. Bishops and Pope Francis to unseal all documents related to clergy sex abuse cover up and to conduct a full, immediate, and independent investigation of any and all allegations of cover up in the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and other prelates who have engaged in criminal activities,” said Zach Johnson, executive director of Call To Action.
“Catholics are also demanding that any investigation must be led by laity in order to re-establish trust with Catholics in the U.S. and elsewhere,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director of FutureChurch. “A rampant sense of entitlement and unchecked power afforded to clerics that is often referred to as ‘clericalism’ has created this crisis, and we need competent lay people to oversee all aspects of cleaning it up.”
To learn more about the protests on September 8 and 9 and to download an organizing kit, go to
To learn more and see information and pictures from local events go to:
Zachary Johnson, executive director Call To Action,, 773.988.2352
Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director FutureChurch,,
Mobile: 513.673.1401 Office: 216.228.0869
Kate McElwee, executive director Women’s Ordination Conference,, USA: +1 607-725-1364 Italy: +39 393 692 2100
Supporting Organizations:
Women’s Ordination Conference
Quixote Center 
New Ways Ministry
Call To Action
Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Act Now

Dear Survivors and Supporters of SNAP,

We call on you take action.

Tim Lennon



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.

Open a Window for Justice Campaign

CHILD USA ( is raising funds to pay for a media campaign that will educate the public on what child sex abuse survivors need, in the wake of the PA Grand Jury Report jury that exposed abuse in six dioceses. It will feature survivors who testified to the grand jury and the lawmaker and survivor who has been leading the charge for justice in the state of Pennsylvania, Rep. Mark Rozzi

Your support will help transform statute of limitations reform nationwide. Donate to this sister organization.

CrowdRise Donation for Open a Window


Attorneys in Pennsylvania who may be able to represent your interests

Richard Serbin, Altoona PA  814-944-4384

Kevin Abromawich, Philadelphia PA   888.919.6237

Alan Perer, Pittsburgh PA    866-281-1970

Mitchell Garabedian, Boston MA   888-995-2214 

Jeff Herman, Florida   800-686-9921 

Jeff Anderson, Minnesota   888.919.6237

Mathews and Associates, Philadelphia  215-344-7553 


The recent horrific exposure of widespread abuse of children in Pennsylvania brings many survivors forward to take action.  An attorney can best advocate for you and represent your interests. 

A couple points to remember: 

~Most attorneys will take cases on contingency, where they get a percentage of any award or settlement you receive. 

~The process may take a couple of months stretching to a year or more.

~The process can be difficult. Opposing attorneys can be aggressive and harsh.

Prominent Catholic Leader Calls for Grand Jury in Every State

Illinois State Supreme Court Justice Ann Burke was appointed by the US Conference of Bishops to the original National Review Board in 2004. The Bishops reacted to the exposure of by the Boston Globe Spotlight Series demonstrating widespread and historic sexual abuse by clergy.
Now she call for civil grand juries in every state. "That's the only way I see something happening," she told National Catholic Reporter.
Officials in Pennsylvania said their investigation is not over. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said his office's hotline and email accounts for abuse survivors have "lit up" with 400 more calls since the grand jury report was published.

SNAP Calls for Action in Pennsylvania -- Monday, Aug. 20th and Tuesday, Aug. 21st

SNAP Calls for Action -- Monday, Aug. 20th and Tuesday, Aug. 21st

Apologies and gestures are meaningless with out action

Join us Erie, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Allentown

Call to Action

We ask that you support these events in the six dioceses and attend the SNAP support groups.

The PA grand jury report has awoken many. It's a great opportunity for us to reach out to victims who may still be silent, isolated and ashamed. Let's help find these people and help them!
We urge you to please take these steps 
1. Call your local news media. Tell them you're a clergy sex abuse survivor & member of SNAP. And let them know you're willing and able to do interviews about the crisis in general and the grand jury report in particular. (IF you want to stay anonymous, they'll usually understand and accommodate you.)
2. Write comments under on-line articles about the scandal and/or short letters to the editor outlining what you think should be done now to help protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose the truth. 

The Pennsylvania grand jury has world wide media attention and an outpouring of support from every sector and nation. 

PENNSYLVANIA Actions, Rallies, Support Groups 

Harrisburg PA    Becky Innai,  (703) 801-6044 

Press event

Monday, August 20th

12:30 pm

Diocese of Harrisburg offices

4800 Union Deposit Road, Harrisburg, PA.

Support meeting

August 20th

3-4:30 pm

McCormick Riverfront Library at 101 Walnut St, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

<more events, resources, and links below>

Scranton PA   Tim Lennon, President, (415) 312-5820

Press event

Monday, August 20th

11 am

Cathedral of St. Peter, 315 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503

Support Group

Monday, August 20th

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm 

Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine Street, Scranton PA 18509  

Allentown PA     Tim Lennon, President, (415) 312-5820

Press Event

Tuesday, August 21st

11 am

Cathedral of St Catharine of Siena, 1825 W Turner St, Allentown, PA 18104 

Support group

Tuesday, August 21st

5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Allentown Public Library, 1210 Hamilton St, Allentown, PA 

Pittsburgh PA   Judy Jones,, (636) 433-2511

Press Event

Monday, August  20th

11 am
Pittsburgh diocese headquarters (chancery office), 111 Boulevard of the Allies (corner of Stanwix) in Pittsburgh, PA

Greensburg PA   Judy Jones,, (636) 433-2511

Press Event

Monday, August 20th

1:30 pm
Greensburg diocese headquarters,  723 E Pittsburgh St, in Greensburg, PA
SNAP Support Group

Monday, August 20th

6-pm to 8-pm

Meeting at Carnegie Library-Southside Branch, Pittsburgh
2205 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA

Erie PA      Judy Jones,, (636) 433-2511
Press Event

Tuesday, Aug 21st

11:30 am
Erie diocese chancery office, St. Mark Catholic Center, 429 E. Grandview Blvd Erie, PA 
SNAP Support  Group

August 21st

6 pm to 8 pm

Public library -- Blasco Memorial Library
160 East Front Street, Erie, PA 


Further Support Available

SARCC (Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center) is a nonprofit providing no-cost counseling, support, and prevention education for sexual violence in Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties. 

717-270-6972 // 570-628-2965

KCIT (Keystone Crisis Intervention Team), a statewide group of volunteers that support victims and their communities after a criminal crisis.  KCIT is here to support the communities affected by the recent report.  We had provided support to churches after the Philadelphia report was released in 2013.

If you hear of any churches or communities group that may need help processing this or are holding an event that they need emotional support staff for, please let them know that KCIT is available, free of charge.  They can call and talk to me about their current needs at 1-855-767-5248.

Also, please let me know if there is anyway KCIT can support SNAP in this challenging time.  Thank you.

Michelle Kern, MA

KCIT Coordinator

Network of Victim Assistance

2370 York Rd., Suite B1

Jamison, PA 18929

(215) 343-6543 


LINKS  Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network   Darkness to Light  Together We Heal  Road to Recovery  MaleSurvivor  National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse   Victims with the Protestant community   Ending Clergy Abuse (International Organization)  

Special note for special people:    Maintain database of known Catholic clergy abusers as well the

Historians of our movement.  Books, articles, research on the foundation and scope of the sexual abuse of

children within the church. Richard Sipe, a warrior for survivors recently passed, he is mourned

by all who knew him. His life’s work gave authority to the harm we only knew ourselves.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Silver Participant