Catholic priest who was supposed to protect children charged with abuse; SNAP reacts

The former director of the Diocese of Arlington's Office of Child Protection and Safety has been indicted on charges of sexually assaulting a child. We are grateful to know that the Office of the Attorney General is still working on getting these criminals prosecuted and exposed.

Fr. Terry Specht is the third cleric charged as a result of the AG investigation. The priest worked as the director of the Diocese's Office of Child protection between 2004 and 2011. He is accused of aggravated sexual battery of a child under the age of 13 and the sexual abuse of a child with whom a custodial or supervisory relationship existed. The abuse is said to have taken place between March and September in 2000.

Virginia SNAP Leader Becky Ianni said that Fr. Specht sat on the review board that heard her case, and that it is unsettling for her to realize that an accused perpetrator listened to the details of her abuse. Becky added, "Frankly, it gives me the creeps."

Although Catholic bishops continue to contend that clergy sexual abuse is a thing of the past, it clearly is not. We hope that anyone who suffered, witnessed, or suspected abuse in the Diocese of Arlington will make a report to the AG's hotline at 833-454-9064.

CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP Virginia Leader (703-801-6044, [email protected]), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator (925-708-6175, Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

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