DC- Catholic officials meet behind closed doors re abuse

For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

Today, despite repeated pledges of “openness and transparency,” in a gathering closed to the public and to journalists, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is co-sponsoring a meeting that we suspect will largely focus on the church's on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis.

This week, the International Congress of Canon Law gathers at Catholic University in Washington DC to discuss “Crime and Punishment: Nature, Problems and Perspectives of Canonical Penal Law and Its Relation to Civil Law.”

According to the group's website, “The conference is an academic conference and is not open to the press.”

This is a key component of the crisis in a nutshell: Catholic officials meet in private with other Catholic officials to discuss how Catholic officials should deal with child molesting clerics (and perhaps, with complicit church supervisors). We hope the USCCB and the ICCL will quickly reconsider their decision to keep their deliberations private.

Catholic officials have held thousands of meetings about this crisis. But words and discussion won't fix it. Only decisive action will protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. What is needed is clear: those who commit and conceal clergy sex crimes must be quickly and publicly exposed, disciplined, and turned over to law enforcement. Catholic officials must post names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics on their websites. They must personally and promptly go to every parish where sex offender clerics worked, publicly name them, and beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered their crimes to call police and get help.

They must demote, not promote, their colleagues and employees who endanger kids by protecting predators, through acts of omission or commission. They must lobby for – not against – reforms to archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly secular statutes of limitations.

The event began today at 8.00 a.m. at Catholic University of America and runs through Sept. 21. Participants are apparently staying at the Double Tree Hotel, 8727 Colesville Road in Silver Spring.

(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 20,000 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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Becky Ianni of northern Virginia (703 801 6044, [email protected]), Dave Lorenz of Maryland (301-906-9161, [email protected])

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