GA- Catholic bishop loses & victim wins; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014

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

Atlanta's Catholic archbishop has lost his bid to stop a clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit on a technicality. Shame on him for even trying.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory tried to get a case tossed out over the victim's use of “Jane Doe,” rather than her actual name, in legal papers. This is a mean-spirited move designed only to help Catholic officials evade responsibility for heinous crimes. It is more befitting a cold-hearted CEO than a man who professes to be a caring shepherd.

In 2002, Gregory postured as a “reformer” when he headed the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as it enacted its first-ever nationwide church abuse policy (a policy we regarded then, and still regard now, as weak, vague and almost meaningless because it's virtually never enforced). 

The very least Catholic bishops can do is to fight victims, if they must, on the merits, not on the technicalities. 

We are grateful to the appeals court for not letting Gregory get away with such a callous, self-serving maneuver. And we are even more grateful to this brave victim for having the strength and courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing. We hope her bravery will encourage others who have been assaulted by priests, nuns, brothers, seminarians and bishops to follow in her footsteps.

And we hope that Atlanta Catholics stop donating to the archdiocese and start donating to institutions that protect kids, instead of endangering them, and groups that help victims instead of attacking victims. Atlanta Catholics should not passively let their archbishop use their contributions to hire lawyers who exploit technicalities to protect predators and re-victimize victims. 

(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 

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])


Showing 3 comments

  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-08-09 12:01:30 -0500
    I agree with both, Mr. Clohessy, and Mr. Frogg who has commented here. I think perhaps, that loss of their money and thus their shelter and thus their ability to contiinue their crimes, is the only thing that pedophile priests fear more than prison time. I believe that until this scourge in the church is completely stopped, that NONE of us should donate our hard earned money to the catholic church…ANYWHERE. And, that our government should not in any way, support the catholic church in it claiming tax exemptions (for being a religious, non-profit agency), when in fact they aid and abbet a global “ring” of active pedophile catholic priests and laity, who commit heinous crimes of sexual violence against humanity on a daily basis. The USA should stop allowing haven to the catholic church in the United States, particularly in the form of allowing the criminals in such church to take money from the government, as well as nearly always allowing these catholic heirarchy to prevent the successful lawful prosecution of catholic pedophile clergy. I think we need to fight this scourge “on all fronts”; both, individual but, perhaps more importantly, the entire catholic church heirachy.
  • Charles Frogg
    commented 2014-08-08 13:32:14 -0500
    At what point, do the American People abandon the effort to indict the individual, and indemnify the church? A religious institution can lose it’s tax exempt status for simply endorsing a political candidate. Why hasn’t the Roman Catholic Church lost it’s tax exempt status for contributing to the delinquency of a minor? Has this strategy been investigated yet? I sincerely believe that this would positively affect the amount of cooperation from Church leadership in a New York Minute!
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