Clergy sex victims seek criminal charges against top Catholic officials
They beg victims witnesses and whistleblowers to “break your silence now”
Group issues special appeal to current and former church employees“
Search your conscience, be part of the solution, call law enforcement,” SNAP says
On local and international levels, victims want them to “protect kids, not predators”
Holding signs and childhood photos at sidewalk news conferences in over twenty cities across the country, leaders of a clergy sex abuse victims’ support group will
--discuss a detailed new formal complaint to the International Criminal Court prosecutor urging him to investigate high-level Vatican officials for crimes against humanity,
--urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to immediately contact law enforcement, and
--especially beg current and former church employees to “search their consciences ”
The filing is by an international, US-based support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) along with a New York City-based leading human rights organization called CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights).
Wednesday, September 14 in these cities at these times [call the SNAP national office at 312-455-1499 for details]:Albuquerque -- 11:00am
Baltimore -- 11:00am
Belleville, IL -- 10:30am
Boston -- 1:00pm
Chicago -- 11am
Denver -- 1:30pm
Houston -- 12:00pm
Los Angeles -- 11:15am
Milwaukee -- 10:30am
Newark -- 1:00pm
Philadelphia -- 2:00pm
Phoenix -- 1:00pm
Sacramento -- 2:30pm
San Antonio -- 10:00am
San Diego -- 11:15am
San Francisco -- 11:00am
Seattle -- 11:00am
Springfield, IL -- 2:00pm
St. Louis -- 1:00pm
Washington, DC -- 11:00am
Wilmington, DE -- 1:00pm
Youngstown, OH -- 3:30pm
Several clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters who belong to an international self help group called SNAP
Yesterday, representatives of SNAP and CCR filed an 80+ page formal request asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to investigate high-level Catholic Church officials for crimes against humanity. The detailed complaint - accompanied by 20,000 pages of evidence – charges that the church hierarchy tolerates and continues a widespread, on-going global practice of concealing rape and abuse. The complaint is posted at SNAPnetwork.org and CCRjustice.org. SNAP believes their filing contains sufficient proof that the prosecutor should act. But, for the sake of protecting the vulnerable and healing the wounded, SNAP is urging all clergy sex victims to step forward now. And the organization wants those who saw or suspected such crimes and cover ups – particularly as church employees – to summon the strength to call police and prosecutors with any information they may have, however old, small or seemingly insignificant, so that more child molesting clerics might be charged, convicted and imprisoned.
The jurisdiction of the ICC names rape, sexual assault, and torture as crimes against humanity. It also provides for individual criminal liability for those with superior responsibility over those who directly commit such crimes. Through these mechanisms, the complaint urges investigation and prosecution of high-level Vatican officials for their roles in the on-going protection of perpetrators, hiding of crimes and the enabling of rape, sexual assault, and torture of thousands of individuals around the world. If the ICC launches the investigation, this action could mark the first time that an international court asserts jurisdiction over the Vatican for crimes committed by its agents worldwide.
The four officials named as defendants bear, in the eyes of SNAP & CCR, greatest responsibility for ongoing, widespread and systematic sexual violence and cover up by church employees. They are --Pope Benedict XVI (both in his capacity as pontiff and former head of the CDFG, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a church entity that oversees pedophile priest reports)--Cardinal William Levada (current head of the CDF)--Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (the current Vatican Secretary of State, and --Cardinal Angelo Sodano (the Dean of the College of Cardinals and former Vatican Secretary of State).
In the formal filing, a few particularly egregious and recent troubling predator priest cases are highlighted including a Belgian cleric who molested in the Congo and now works with kids in Rwanda and an Indian cleric who raped a Minnesota girl and is now back in India. (His name is Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul).
Yesterday, outside the ICC headquarters (at the Hague in the Netherlands), a similar news conference was held. There, eight adults who were abused as children by priests in four nations delivered 10,000+ pages of evidence and documents to the ICC. The victims were from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. US victims included Megan Peterson of Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Rita Milla of Los Angeles, Phil Saviano of Boston ([email protected]), Peter Isely of Milwaukee ([email protected]) and Barbara Blaine of Chicago ([email protected]). The two principal human rights attorneys involved are Pamela Spees and Katherine Gallagher, both of CCR. They are both in Europe. Vince Warren is CCR’s director.