Canada- Priest acquitted on sex charges, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, February 24, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected])
An Ontario judge says he believes two women may have consented in a sexual misconduct charge against a former priest. The priest has been acquitted.
Gabriele DelBianco pled guilty to 16 offenses involving teenage girls in the 1980s. He has a long track record of sexual misconduct. We do not believe these women consented. It is inherently problematic - and in some places, illegal - when clergy have any sexual contact with congregants. There can be no true "consent" given the power difference between the individuals.
Even though this ruling came out in favor of the former priest, we hope this case will help others who were hurt by what may have initially seemed like “affairs” but were in fact crimes. We hope those victimized by clergy at any age will find the courage to step forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)