December 2013 Newsletter

If at any time in any way, someone in SNAP has ever been helpful to you—please keep reading.

If at any time you have wished you could do something to stop what happened to you or someone you love—please keep reading.

Even if you cannot donate to SNAP—or can’t give as much as you’d like – please keep reading.

There are many ways to help—please keep reading!

Here’s another simple way you can help. In our 25 year history, we have never asked you to do this. But we’re at a crucial juncture, facing unusual opportunities and unusual threats. (Details below)

Please make three phone calls. Please ask three people you know—friends, relatives, and co-workers—to donate to SNAP.

If this feels awkward to you, please think about the kids we are protecting, the victims we are helping and the crimes we are exposing and preventing. Think about how good you will feel for standing up for kids who are in harm’s way today. Don’t take our word for it. Listen to author and sociologist Peter McDonough. Here’s what he says about us—and you—in his new book about groups pushing for reform:

“The change initiated by SNAP represents a breakthrough.”

“The impact of SNAP has been significant and irreversible.”

“The confrontational strategy adopted by SNAP (is) a game-changer.”

“Even a few of SNAP targets acknowledge the group’s contributions,” he writes, quoting a spokesman there as saying “Frankly, vigilant watchdogs like SNAP helped to provoke changes.”

In preparation for his book, “The Catholic Labyrinth: Power, Apathy and a Passion for Reform,” McDonough spent a decade studying organizations that work for change. “SNAP’s triumph,” he writes “has been to raise the costs of negligence and criminal behavior on the part of the church...” and “SNAP’s critical audacity has become common sense in unexpected quarters. The center of gravity of respectable opinion has shifted away from awe-struck loyalty (toward church officials) toward vigilant and prudential evaluation.”

McDonough's view of our effectiveness is echoed often by feedback we get from survivors and others. One recently said: "I want to thank everyone at SNAP for all the amazing work done all these years. I've said it before, and I'm saying it again: I don't know where we'd be without your hard work…” And another said: “You people at SNAP are life-savers. If it weren’t for you my brother would not be alive. Thank you for all you did for him. He is doing great now. Our family is very grateful.” 

They’re writing about – and praising – the organization that YOU belong to and support and that YOU helped create and help sustain.

So how can we be so effective yet so desperately need your help now?

Because, as McDonough notes, we “carry on a step ahead of extinction.”

We’re under attack now more than ever. We will soon enter our third year of having to deal with increasing subpoenas and depositions and other church defense maneuvers. These make our work harder and harder and frighten many people – victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, even journalists and attorneys and prosecutors – from reaching out for our help.

Their handball tactics — aimed at stopping us from exposing the harm they do and the perpetrators they protect — haven’t crippled us, but they are taking a huge toll – in funds and staff time. And they force us to spend more and more time gently coaxing those who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to overcome their fears and speak out and protect others. This is why we need your help to spread the word and support our efforts.

Despite these legal attacks, for those of us who have dedicated ourselves to helping kids and victims, there are real signs of hope out there. Some include: The upcoming prosecution of “enablers” at Penn State, the ‘civil window’ in Minnesota and Hawaii, and our pioneering work at the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to expose those who commit – AND conceal – heinous crimes against children. These have not only shifted the debate, they show that we are making a difference.

And there are very vivid and recent reminders of how much work remains for us to do (look at the current eruptions of the scandal – in Minnesota, New Jersey, and parts of Latin America – and elsewhere).

So for the safety of children and the healing of victims, please help us seize these opportunities. Please call just three of your friends, family or colleagues (or send a copy of this letter found here: and ask them to donate to SNAP at this crucial moment.  And if you can, please donate as generously as possible yourself. And you make your gift go farther by sharing this with three friends and telling them what an amazing group this is and that they should support SNAP.


Thank you.

David Clohessy

Executive Director

[email protected]


Barbara Dorris

Outreach Director

[email protected]


P.S. We humbly ask you to think about the difference between ‘social service’ groups and ‘social change’ groups when you consider making donations. ‘Social service’ organizations often attract tons of contributions – because they are “safe” and the impact is direct. They don’t create waves, generate controversy or challenge the corrupt—the very things that SNAP excels at and that is needed to create change in the church. ‘Social change’ organizations  (like SNAP) often struggle – because by tackling the root cause of wrongdoing, we DO create waves and generate controversy and challenge the corrupt.

So keep giving to the United Way or the Red Cross but please consider keeping SNAP and our members in your heart and be more generous as we keep on effectively battling the complicit powerful on behalf of the innocent powerless. By giving a bit more at this crucial time you will ensure our work continues as we press forward on the progress we’ve made. Thank you for taking whatever action you can today!

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  • Elizabeth Fahling
    followed this page 2014-05-18 06:28:16 -0500

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