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).

SNAP Agrees With Victims Receiving Compensation from Sisters of Charity of St Augustine

(For Immediate Release March 8, 2023) 

Restitution for dozens of child abuse victims from a former home for kids in Parma is starting to arrive in mailboxes. Unfortunately, the payment is very different than what was initially spelled out by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine for those who suffered at the Parmadale Children’s Village of St. Vincent de Paul decades ago.

Most individuals recognize that tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of boys and girls, have been sexually assaulted by priests and other male clergy. Regrettably, many individuals remain unaware that hundreds or thousands of nuns have also sexually abused children and have done so for decades.

Consider this: who has had greater exposure to Catholic children for as long as Catholic nuns? Who made up the majority of teachers at parochial schools and still do so today? Elizabeth Ann Seton, recognized in the Catholic Church as the first native-born U.S. saint, started the Sisters of Charity, an order that opened separate parochial schools for families of poor and wealthy girls, in the early 1800s. Some consider these the first Catholic parochial schools in the U.S. The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine have been around since 1850.

The ongoing scandal involving sexual assault in schools committed by ordained or professed religious begs a question that is never satisfactorily addressed: what about the nuns who, at least until the mid-1960s, were significantly more prevalent than priests or religious brothers in classrooms and boarding schools and had power over vulnerable children?  

Quiet Arrest of Cathedral Employee has SNAP Calling for Outreach

(For Immediate Release March 7, 2023)

A highly placed lay employee at the Diocese of Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light was arrested by Walnut Creek police on January 6, 2023, on suspicion of possessing and sharing child pornography. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is appalled that, as far as we can determine, no outreach was done in the community or with the public in the ensuing 2 months.

Jeremiah York worked as the assistant to the Rector of the Cathedral. Until he was removed from that position in January, we believe that he may have had access to children at the parish. Hundreds of boys and girls attend the Cathedral's CCD and related programs. York is also a photographer with photo credits showing Oakland Bishop, Michael Barber, performing various rites that included children.

While we are dismayed that an accused child pornographer had a job in the Cathedral, the Bishop's own church, we are worried that his relationship to Bishop Barber and the Cathedral Rector may have given him a perfect cover for accessing children. What good Catholic would suspect that the man who is a friend of the bishop and the assistant to the priest in charge of their church would not be safe to be around boys and girls?


As a cardinal, Pope John Paul covered up child molestation, according to a report; SNAP Responds

For Immediate Release March 6, 2023

Canonized Pope John Paul II reportedly knew of child abuse before heading to Rome. His papacy started in 1978. The issue of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests was first publicized in 1985 when a Louisiana priest pleaded guilty to 11 counts of molestation of boys. It was again brought to national attention in 2002 following a series of publications by The Boston Globe. We now know that the most senior clerics in the Catholic Church shielded molesting priests, as many survivors of clergy abuse feared 24 years before the "Spotlight" scandal made their suspicions public. Since then, tens of thousands of victims have come forward, and thousands of perpetrators have been identified.

Pope John Paul II was ordained as a priest in 1946. The fact that abuse by Catholic clergy is now being examined from 1950 to the present, basically throughout his entire priesthood and beyond, is not a coincidence. It should not be shocking that the Pope moved abusers around while he was a cardinal. It was done by Pope Benedict, and we worry that Pope Francis may have done this as well. We already know that Pope Francis unquestionably supports his clergy. You only need to consider his criticism of Chilean victims who approached him. The facts and the secular press obliged him to retract his accusations of slander against them. Pope Francis' egregious clericalism revealed a fundamental predisposition that solely promotes the Vatican's objectives.

SNAP Grateful as Assumption University Publicly Stands Behind Survivors of Clergy Abuse

For immediate release: March 6, 2023

In the last week, SNAP was notified about some decisions being made and actions being taken at a Catholic university in Massachusetts. This week, we are celebrating those decisions as an example of how other Catholic institutions across the globe should be handling issues related to clergy sexual abuse.

SNAP was recently informed by officials at Assumption University that a priest – unaffiliated with the university – who had been accused of sexually abusing a child and who was listed in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was also a significant donor to the college, an Augustinian university located in Worcester, MA. University officials at Assumption decided – even before speaking with SNAP – that rather than keep the money themselves or return it to the accused perpetrator, the gift would best be used to advance the cause of healing and justice for survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania. To that end, Assumption University has donated the entirety of this cleric's donations to SNAP in order to fund programs that will provide support opportunities for survivors of clergy sexual abuse throughout Pennsylvania.

Through their actions, Assumption University officials are setting an example for Catholic institutions around the world. They are demonstrating an earnest and thoughtful way to go beyond platitudes and take serious and significant action to help survivors heal. The University, its president, and its board of trustees deserve kudos and recognition for the thoughtful and survivor-focused way that they have managed the situation in which they found themselves.

The reality of this situation is that Assumption did not need to give this money to survivors. They easily could have kept quiet about the origin of these funds and they could have continued quietly taking money without questioning the intent or actions of the person behind those donations. But rather than enforce the status quo in the darkness, President Greg Weiner and the leadership of Assumption University have instead decided to lead in the sunlight.

It is important to recognize that this course of action was not foisted upon Assumption by legal proceedings or settlements. It was simply the moral certitude of Assumption University leaders that helped them make the choice to take an accused perpetrator’s money and give it to the abused. To say that this course of action is uncommon would be putting it lightly.

By taking the money donated by this man and giving it directly to survivors to help support programs that will help them heal, Assumption University has shown itself to be a leader in our movement. We are grateful to President Weiner and Assumption University for their actions, and especially their leadership. We hope that their example will compel other Catholic institutions around the world to find ways to partner with and fund survivor-centered organizations so that survivors are able to get the help and hope they need.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578),  Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is



SNAP Applauds Survivors and Advocates Who Testified Today in Maryland General Assembly House Judiciary Hearing

(For Immediate Release March 2, 2023) 

The Maryland General Assembly House Judiciary committee heard testimony from survivors of child sexual abuse in support of HB0001 – sponsored by Delegate C. T. Wilson -altering the definition of "sexual abuse" for purposes relating to civil actions for child sexual abuse to include any act that involves an adult allowing or encouraging a child to engage in certain activities; repealing the statute of limitations in certain civil actions relating to child sexual abuse; repealing a statute of repose for certain civil actions relating to child sexual abuse; providing for the retroactive application of the Act under certain circumstances; etc. This bill gives those who were previously barred by these archaic laws an opportunity to seek justice.

27 U.S. jurisdictions have window or revival laws now in place. We hope, with this hearing today, Maryland becomes that much closer to becoming the next state to take the steps to reform these laws.

This bill is a monumental step forward and brings much-needed reform to the archaic laws that prevent survivors from coming forward and allow abusers to escape justice and hurt more children and vulnerable adults. We are grateful to not only Delegate Wilson and his colleagues in the assembly, but the dedicated survivors and advocates who have worked for decades to create this opportunity for reform.

In our view, justice for victims who have been time-barred starts with access to civil proceedings. The numerous victims whose testimonies were heard in the general assembly deserve our admiration. It is the responsibility of lawmakers to bring people who have been kept silent for too long to justice. Children and communities will be safer if these laws are changed, and institutions that have recycled or hidden known predators will be held accountable. No child should be endangered by known predators, thus this bill merits strong bipartisan support. Legislators in Maryland have the chance to take action by passing HB0001.

We hope that the consideration and passage of this bill will encourage victims of sexual violence, no matter their age or where their abuse occurred, to come forward and make a report to law enforcement. And we hope that those who may have reported in the past but were ignored or fell victim to archaic, predator-friendly laws will find the strength to go through the process one more time in order to find healing and protect children in Maryland.

CONTACT: David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Becky Ianni, Virginia and DC SNAP leader ([email protected], (703) 801-6044)  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)



SNAP Responds to Release of Report by Maryland Attorney General Office

(For Immediate Release February 28, 2023)

We are incredibly appreciative that Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert Taylor Jr. has decided to allow the public to see a redacted copy of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office report on the history of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. While this is a victory for transparency, we hope that at some point in the future, the entire report will become available.

Judge Taylor ordered that the names of those who had not been previously identified publicly and who were accused of abusing children, covering up abuse, silencing victims, or otherwise helping to hide and enable abuse, were to be redacted from the public report. The judge said that those 208 people were entitled to be notified they were in the report and given a chance to review the portion of the report that addresses their involvement.

As frustrating as it may be to not see this crucial information, survivors know even without viewing a page of the report that it will likely show widespread sexual abuse of children and a systematic coverup by leaders of the Catholic Church.

We are well aware that going up against this institution is difficult due to its immense wealth and power. We applaud the Attorney General's efforts to secure the public disclosure of most of the investigative report. Once more, the rule of law has gained a partial victory despite pushback from an "anonymous group" of 16 of those named in the report whose legal fees were paid, at least in part, by the Catholic Church.

We are relieved to know that the horrifying experiences of the survivors who spoke openly with investigators and who worried that their efforts would be in vain, will now be made public. We believe disclosing the extent to which the Church went to shield information, and documenting the immense pain that the victims underwent as a result, will do much to ensure that these crimes never occur within the Catholic community in Maryland again.

CONTACT: David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Becky Ianni, Virginia and DC SNAP leader ([email protected], (703) 801-6044)  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) 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 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is



SNAP Responds to Motion to Dismiss Case Against Former Cardinal McCarrick

(For Immediate Release February 28, 2023) 

Lawyers for former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the criminal charges against him.  McCarrick is accused of sexually assaulting a boy decades ago. His attorneys claim that the 92-year-old once-powerful American prelate has dementia and is not competent to stand trial.

McCarrick is the first current or former U.S. Catholic cardinal to face criminal charges for child sex offenses. He entered a not-guilty plea in the case in September 2021.

Our hearts ache for McCarrick's victim and we stand in solidarity with him as this case drags on. We are glad that the prosecution is hiring its own expert to conduct a second opinion on competency. Like the lawyer representing this survivor, Mitchell Garabedian, we are suspicious of the incompetency claim. Regardless of the final decision in this case, we will always believe the testimony of this victim.

Everyone, including those accused of child sexual abuse, is entitled to due process. However, we are skeptical that someone who held one of the most powerful positions in the Catholic Church not that long ago is now unable to assist in his own defense. Given our experience, we suspect that this tactic has more to do with protecting the reputation of the institution from what would be revealed at trial.

We urge anyone who sees McCarrick acting like a competent adult to immediately contact the prosecutor so that the survivor's truth will be allowed to come to light.

Contact:  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) 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 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is


Diocese of Sacramento Contemplates Bankruptcy; SNAP reacts

(For Immediate Release February 28, 2023) 

The Diocese of Sacramento is considering bankruptcy. In our opinion, bishops' bankruptcies are usually about keeping secrets first, then protecting assets. Regardless of what Bishop Jaime Soto may say, we humbly request that all Catholics, law enforcement officials, and elected officials continue to put the victims of these heinous crimes first. They deserve justice and compensation since they have endured a lifetime of suffering.

We know that when courageous survivors come forward with their claims, secrets are going to be made public. That is when Catholic dioceses begin looking to the bankruptcy court for protection. For their bravery and moral character, these long-suffering victims deserve praise. They were let down by a group that was supposed to foster their spirituality, moral development, and well-being. Survivors are helping to make the community safer for future generations by speaking out and sharing their stories. Yet until all the information on these crimes comes to light, children cannot be kept safe.

It is a reality that for many years the Catholic Church ignored cases of clergy sexually abusing and raping children. These facts are increasingly beyond dispute. What people were led to believe was a house of worship was often a place where boys and girls were groomed and molested. These perpetrator clerics joined the Church because they knew they would have access to children, receive a salary, have a place to live, and could count on their bishop to assist them in avoiding prosecution. There are simply too many abusers in the priesthood to draw any other inference.

SNAP Responds to Attempts to Shield Assets in the Diocese of San Diego.

(For Immediate Release February 23, 2023)

In one of the least shocking stories we have seen in 2023, a Catholic diocese that recently announced its intention to file for bankruptcy to escape culpability for decades of enabling childhood sexual abuse has been accused in a separate lawsuit of shielding assets to artificially lower their appraisal value and pay out less money to those survivors. Something this disturbing should be shocking behavior from supposed faith leaders, but in reality, this move is all too common.

The Diocese of San Diego – which is currently being sued by more than 400 people who were raped or abused by San Diego clergy, brothers, nuns, and other staffers – has been accused in a new lawsuit of transferring nearly three hundred pieces of property in order to conceal the true assets of the Diocese. This move is one that many Catholic dioceses around the country have taken; recent examples include Albuquerque, Camden, Milwaukee, and Santa Fe. This is merely the latest example of Catholic leaders abusing bankruptcy laws for their own benefit, a darkly ironic statement given they are in this position in the first place for wantonly ignoring and enabling the sexual abuse of children.

We are tired of reading this same headline and bemoaning the same legal problem that experts have been pointing out for years. We are tired of seeing survivors finally getting a shot at justice before the rug is pulled out from under them, and they are once again forced into silence due to the rules of bankruptcy proceedings. We are frustrated seeing more old, white men hoarding money like Smaug the dragon instead of accepting responsibility for their myriad crimes and compensating the victims of those crimes as they deserve.

We cannot help but recognize the fact that the Catholic leadership has used increasingly creative methods to protect their money and reputations, whether through the creation and sale of insurance companies, applying for tax-free PPP loans without needing them, or the raiding of funds earmarked for the impoverished. In these ways, the Church double-dips the American taxpayer; first by paying no taxes of their own, second by abusing taxpayer-funded programs that were not meant for them, and third by shifting the economic burden created by the child sexual abuse they enabled to others. According to a study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the total economic burden from child sex crimes is approximately $9.3 billion per year and includes costs associated with health care, child welfare, special education, violence and crime, suicide, and survivor productivity losses. Child USA puts the lifetime economic impact of one case of child sexual abuse at $850,000.00, so given current Catholic victim counts in the US (link?), that means this burden is nearly $21 billion and growing by the day.

It is high time that the rules of the bankruptcy court are amended so that dioceses and archdioceses in the world’s richest institution can stop falsely claiming indigence when they really only care about silencing victims and ensuring their stories do not reach the faithful and the public. For too long, our federal legislators have sat on the sidelines while men in positions of power abuse that power to the detriment of children, parents, and communities nationwide. This is an issue that must be addressed federally, and it must be addressed now.

Contact: Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009), 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 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is


Bankruptcy Plan Approved for Diocese of Harrisburg; SNAP Responds

(For Immediate Release February 15, 2023) 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg received court approval of a bankruptcy plan that establishes an $18.25 million trust to pay clergy abuse victims and puts in place stipulated child protection protocols. Nearly three years after they first filed for bankruptcy, church officials from the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA have released details on their plan to compensate survivors. Unsurprisingly, this plan is clearly more about protecting assets and secrets than it is providing restorative justice to adults who were traumatized as children by church employees.

The simple fact is that monetary reparations for a lifetime of bearing the pain of abuse is pittance in the grand scheme of things, especially given the vast wealth of the church. There is no way to make up for the lifelong suffering brought on by sexual assault, and the sham that is Harrisburg church officials claiming indigence only adds to that suffering.

Critically, church officials should be made to update their list of abusers to include the new names learned during the bankruptcy process. In a similar vein, they ought to be providing local law police with all information related to sex offenses, regardless of the abuser's status. Finally, they should use all resources at their disposal – include diocesan websites and parish bulletins – to ensure that parishioners are aware of these updates and to encourage survivors to come forward and report to police.


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