Media Statements

We are SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are the largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others).

Diocese of Kalamazoo provides list of those “disqualified from working with kids,” survivors’ group wants more information posted

For immediate release: April 19, 2024

The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo recently released a list of names of those “disqualified from working with kids.” While information like this is always welcome, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hopes that additional information will be added to the list soon.

It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering alone and in silence. Seeing that they are not the only one helps victims heal, and could also encourage others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.

So, we are grateful that Bishop Edward Lohse finally published a list. However, traditionally the lists of Catholic dioceses have provided information about clergy, and sometimes other individuals, who have been “credibly accused” of the crimes of child sexual abuse and/or child pornography. The other categories for removal Bishop Lohse identified: continued violations of a child-protection policy after warnings, failing as a mandated reporter to report allegations of abuse of children, failing to act to prevent abuse that they knew to be happening, and physical abuse of children, are likely laudable additions that will help protect boys and girls from suffering childhood trauma.

Yet, we cannot help by worry that is all too easy for the parishioners and the public to assume that the clergy, or even the non-clergy on the list, did not commit life-changing and heinous crimes. Thus, we believe that it is extremely important for Bishop Lohse to identify which people fall into which of categories.

Agreement between the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the New York Attorney General reached; SNAP reacts

For immediate release: April 17, 2024

An independent monitor will oversee the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s handling of sexual abuse accusations under a settlement reached with the New York Attorney General. Although we hope that this solution will help to hold Church officials accountable, we worry that a deal like this may sound good on paper, but end up ineffective in reality.

The Attorney General’s office began investigating eight of New York’s Catholic dioceses in September, 2018. Today, AG Letitia James announced an agreement with Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan for independent oversight of abuse accusations in the Diocese.

Interventions by secular officials can provide a welcome change to “business as usual.” However, it is important to remember that the Catholic hierarchy has enabled, denied, ignored, and concealed heinous crimes against children for decades. Also, the Brooklyn Diocese, like all Catholic dioceses, is run by a man who truly answers only to the Pope. Church hierarchs are almost never defrocked, demoted, or even disciplined, no matter how poorly they handle abuse and cover-ups. Sadly, no agreement between an Attorney General and a Church official will ever change this unhealthy dynamic. 

SNAP to MO AG: Investigate boarding schools!

April 15, 2024

Dear Attorney General Bailey:

As Missouri’s top law enforcement official, we feel strongly that you can no longer ignore the growing crisis involving kids in the essentially unregulated, mostly for-profit, purportedly religious boarding ‘schools’ where dozens of vulnerable kids have been – and likely still are being – abused.

Crisis is not an exaggeration given the recent disturbing disclosures of known and suspected child sex crimes that have surfaced at facilities like Agape School in Stockton, Lighthouse Academy in Piedmont, Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in Humansville and Kanakuk Kamps in Branson.

Ample evidence already exists in the public record that these institutions lack oversight and sometimes attract predators who hurt kids and supervisors who ignore or hide suspicious or criminal acts.

Another Brownsville priest accused of child sexual abuse; SNAP again urges outreach

For immediate release, April 8, 2024

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, has been removed from ministry in the wake of an accusation of child sexual abuse. This is the second cleric in the Diocese, that we know of, to be accused this year. The other clergyman was arrested in February.

At the time of the arrest, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, urged the Bishop to do immediate outreach to beg other victims and witnesses to report to law enforcement. We renew our plea as this second case is being investigated by the Diocesan Review Board.

Brownsville Bishop Daniel E. Flores received notification on March 15th that Msgr. Gustavo Barrera had been accused of a child sex crime. The priest denied the claim, but submitted his resignation and retirement as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in McAllen, and the Bishop accepted this resignation on March 23rd. However, the accusation was not made public until April 3rd.

SNAP stands in solidarity with excommunicated father; says actions of Louisiana bishop will discourage victims from coming forward

For immediate release: March 25, 2024

A Louisiana man, who worked as a Catholic deacon and whose son was sexually assaulted by his priest as a child, has been excommunicated by his former bishop. As far as SNAP can tell, no perpetrator has ever faced this harsh ecclesiastical penalty. We call on the faithful who are appalled by this action to contact the bishop and express their dismay.

Scott Peyton’s excommunication from the Church on March 13, 2024, at the hands of Diocese of Lafayette Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, seems to us to be vindictive, unnecessary, and likely to have a chilling effect on those victims and their families who are also believers. While Scott had worked as a deacon in the Diocese alongside his son Oliver’s abuser, Fr. Michael Guidry, Scott had already stepped away from this position in December, telling the Bishop at the same time that he and his family had moved on to another faith community.

We cannot help but consider that the true motive for this excommunication was to discourage victims and their families who are also still practicing Catholics from coming forward in the future. Many of the faithful believe that those who are excommunicated die in a state of sin, and consequently are condemned to hell. Fear of incurring this same penalty would certainly be a powerful deterrent to those who still want to be a part of the Church to stay silent.

Bishop Deshotel was also behind the recently successful appeal to overturn the state’s three-year lookback window. That action too is likely to discourage all Catholic victims, not just those who wish to remain communicants, from coming forward.

Yet exposing hidden predators and their enablers will help to safeguard children today and in the future. Moreover, the publication of perpetrator names can also be the first step to healing for those still suffering alone and in silence from their abuse.  

While the Catholic Church claimed in 2002 to be turning over a new leaf, welcoming the reports of survivors and their families and promising not to hide perpetrators, Bishop Deshotel’s intimidation tactics and hypocrisy gives the lie to those claims, in our opinion. We think it is long past time to push back.

As Scott’s case illustrates, even the children of those who work hard to support the mission of the Church can be subjected to the trauma of child sexual abuse, which has life-long consequences. Moreover, while the abusers apparently continue to enjoy protection from Catholic officials, those who speak truth to power seem likely to find themselves punished.

If you too find this state of affairs intolerable, please let Bishop Deshotel know how you feel. Let him know in no uncertain terms that his tactics will not prevent anyone from speaking out to protect children.

Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel

1408 Carmel Drive
Lafayette LA 70501

[email protected]

CONTACT: Curtis Garrison, SNAP Louisiana and ([email protected]214-808-2878), Melanie Sakoda, Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578),  Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

Louisiana Supreme Court strikes down lookback window for CSA survivors; SNAP urges action in response

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2024 

On March 22, 2024, the Louisiana Supreme Court, in a 4-3 split decision, overturned the three-year window that allowed child sex abuse victims to sue their abusers and the institutions that shielded the perpetrators, even if the statute of limitations had run out on their claims. The majority of the high court said that the lookback law was “unconstitutional.” SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, calls on all Louisiana survivors, their family members, and those who support them, to raise their voices in protest.

Our hearts go out to the devastated victims, many of whom have waited for decades to expose their abusers as well as the groups that protected the perpetrators. Delayed disclosure of child sexual abuse is the rule. Trauma-informed experts say more survivors disclose between the ages of 50-70 compared to any other age group. When archaic laws limiting victims’ access to the courts are overturned or lifted for a time, communities are safer. Knowledge about who the hidden predators and their enablers are not only helps to safeguard today’s children, the exposure of perpetrator names can also be the first step to healing for those still suffering alone and in silence.  

The Louisiana Supreme court justices overturned a law passed by a unanimous legislature, and signed by then governor John Bel Edwards, who was supported by then attorney general and current governor Jeff Landry. All of these Louisiana officials viewed the window as constitutional. The will of the people of the state was thwarted by four men. We wonder if their actions might be considered “exceptional circumstances” that would allow for their removal or impeachment?

Four Louisiana supreme court justices – James Genovese, Scott Crichton, Jeff Hughes and Piper Griffin – agreed that the “lookback window” law was unconstitutional. The majority opinion, written by Justice Genovese, said reviving old sexual abuse claims violated the “due-process rights” of accused abusers and their enablers. The other three Justices, William Crain, Jay McCallum and John Weimer, the Court’s Chief Justice, disagreed. Justice Crain wrote in the minority opinion that “[T]he forum for this debate is the legislature, not this court. The legislature had that debate and – without a single dissenting vote – abolished the procedural bar and restored plaintiffs’ right to sue.”

It seems sad to us that there does not seem to have been any discussion of whether or not the constitution might also value the lives of innocent Louisiana children over “due process.” Whether or not overruling 200 elected officials are “exceptional circumstances,” we have set up a petition people can express their displeasure with this unconscionable decision to ignore the rights of boys and girls to grow up without experiencing the life-long trauma of child sexual abuse.

If nothing else, we would like to make our anger over this ruling heard loud and clear. Please sign our petition [need link to petition], and then share your support with your contacts, and on social media. Stand with us and shout out that it is more important to protect children, then to shield those who abuse them or allow them to be assaulted from the consequences of their actions.

CONTACT: Curtis Garrison, SNAP Louisiana and ([email protected], 214-808-2878), Melanie Sakoda, Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578),  Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

Papal Visit To Papua New Guinea Highlights Catholic Church’s Child Sexual Abuse Scandal

The upcoming visit to Papua New Guinea by Pope Francis highlights the practice of Catholic Church leaders sending child sexual predators to work among vulnerable people in the developing world, according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP Oceania).

SNAP was referring to the upcoming papal visit to PNG in August this year, and a report by New Zealand’s Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, “Stolen Lives, Marked Souls,” and the Final Report of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The New Zealand inquiry into the Order of the Brothers of St John of God at Marylands School and Hebron Trust, Christchurch, recognised that members of St John of God were sent from Australia and New Zealand to Papua New Guinea. “Stolen Lives, Marked Souls,” July 2023 stated: “The practice of regularly relocating brothers, whether because of abuse or for other reasons, contributed to much higher levels of offending than would otherwise have been the case.”

Diocese of Nashville sat on accusations against child rapist; SNAP says parishioners should be angry

For immediate release: March 21, 2024

Once again, Catholic officials appear to have been caught endangering children. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), believes that the faithful should be concerned that such behavior apparently still continues despite the promises of 2002.

In February of 2022, Michael Lewis pleaded guilty to four counts of statutory rape for assaulting a student at St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Murfreesboro. The assaults began in 2014 when Lewis was the 36-year-old director of religious studies at the school and the girl, “Jane Doe,” was a 13-year-old eighth grader. The abuse continued until the fall of 2016.  Lewis was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his crimes.

Disturbingly, documents recently unsealed in the lawsuit filed by Jane Doe against the Diocese of Nashville appear to show that the Diocese was warned as early as 2008 that Lewis posed a risk to young girls. SNAP thinks that prudent people should ask “If Nashville Catholic officials hid accusations against a layman in 2008, what information about abusive clergy might they be sitting on?”

Sacramento Catholic bishop will file for bankruptcy on April 1; to SNAP this is no joke

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2024

This weekend, parishioners in the Diocese of Sacramento learned that their bishop would file for bankruptcy on April 1st.  SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, sadly acknowledges that this is no joke, and again urges Bishop Jaime Soto to reconsider this scorched earth legal tactic.

Bankruptcy is not the only way to achieve fair recoverys in all of the lawsuits against the Diocese. In the last window, universal agreements were reached between the Church and survivors and their attorneys, without the draconian consequences that bankruptcy will bring along with it.

Victims group seeks help from area ministers

Victims group seeks help from area ministers


SNAP to church leaders: ‘Help us help the wounded’


Organization writes 25+ congregations in ‘outreach effort’


‘We can’t be complacent now; much remains to be done,’ it says


Group plans two local meetings – one private, one open - in the weeks ahead


A support group for abuse victims is writing to more than two dozen churches in Wayne County asking them for help in finding and consoling anyone who’s been hurt at Lighthouse Christian Academy, where three officials have recently been arrested.


It also plans to hold two meetings in the Piedmont area in the weeks ahead.


“Now is not the time to be complacent,” SNAP’s letter reads. It wants “to find and help the 'lost sheep' - anyone who was hurt at Lighthouse, recently or in years past. . .so they won’t have to “suffer in shame, silence and self-blame.”


The group is urging ministers to preach about the Lighthouse scandal from the pulpit, give out and post leaflets about the situation to their members and urge anyone with knowledge or suspicions about the facility to contact law enforcement. 


In the weeks ahead, SNAP plans to hold two meetings in Wayne County. “One will be a private, confidential support group meeting for anyone who was violated as a child anywhere,” the letter notes. “The other will be an open, public discussion and Q & A session about the Lighthouse/ABM Ministries scandal.”


SNAP is seeking meeting space at a local church.


SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant