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).

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleads not guilty; SNAP is not surprised

Disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick appeared in court for an arraignment Friday morning at a court outside Boston using a walker. He entered a not guilty plea to charges filed a month ago, accusing him of sexually assaulting a teenage boy almost 50 years ago in Massachusetts. The judge ordered him to post a $5,000 bail and barred him from contacting the accuser, as well as anyone under the age of 18. The former Cardinal was also ordered to turn over his passport and was barred from traveling outside the United States.

It is no surprise to us that McCarrick apparently believes in his own innocence. In 2019, Slate Daily Magazine quoted the former Cardinal as  saying that he is “not as bad as they paint me.” The former Cardinal also said that he is the target of "enemies," and goes to confession every week. “I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of,” he told Slate.
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Dedham District Court, September 3, 2021. (WBZ-TV)

The Catholic Church’s Highest-Ranking Member Ever to be Criminally Charged will be Arraigned Tomorrow

Disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is due in court tomorrow where he will be arraigned on charges of sexually abusing a minor. This is a landmark moment in the fight against clergy abuse and we hope that this news will inspire vigilance among parishioners and change among church leaders.

For the first time, a high-ranking church official will stand trial on charges directly related to the abuse of children. While several priests have seen the inside of criminal courts in the past, to date the only prelate convicted of criminal charges has been former Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn who was convicted of misdemeanor failure to report. The case against McCarrick represents a large step forward in the efforts to hold church officials accountable for abuse and cover-up.

Laicized Priest found to be a credentialed Marriage and Family Therapist; SNAP reacts

SNAP has recently learned that a former priest, Andrew Gabriel Encinas, who worked in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is now listed as a Marriage and Family therapist in Pomona, CA. Encinas is named on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles website as a cleric with “substantiated” allegations of sexual misconduct with a child followed by removal from the clerical state.    

Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio is cleared of charges by the Vatican, SNAP responds.

SNAP applauds a courageous Catholic survivor, demands that her abuser be included on Diocesan lists

Along with three other survivors, Rose Wiseman accused Fr. Joaquin Resma of child sexual abuse in a lawsuit. That case was settled out of court, but another one has recently been filed alleging abuse by the priest. Rose's parish, Our Lady of Health in Las Cruces, New Mexico, belonged to the Diocese of El Paso at the time, but became a part of the Diocese of Las Cruces in 1982. Fr. Resma is not included on the lists of "credibly accused" clergy from either Diocese.

A New Hampshire Catholic bishop is the subject of a Church investigation into child sexual abuse; SNAP responds

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has initiated a Church investigation into allegations that New Hampshire Bishop Peter Libasci groped an altar boy decades ago. The accusations stem from a lawsuit filed against Bishop Libasci in New York under the Child Victims Act. The complaint says that the victim was a 12-13-year-old boy in the mid-1980s when then-Father Libasci worked as a parish priest in Long Island.

Iowa churches are asked to stop Boy Scout Troop charters; SNAP denounces Methodist Bishop’s remarks.

Two Diocese of Sacramento priests recently accused of child sexual abuse; SNAP urges public outreach

On August 17th and August 25th, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento announced on its website that Fr. Daniel Madigan and Fr. Maurice O’Brien, both retired, had been accused of child sexual abuse and had their priestly faculties removed "pending the outcome of a formal investigation."
We applaud the Diocese for posting this information on their website, notifying law enforcement, and alerting parishioners in all the places where the clerics worked in Sacramento. However, we believe that the public should also be notified when new allegations are received.
The simple truth is that the majority of survivors are no longer active members of the Catholic Church, nor is Diocesan "News" a place where a victim looking for information about a perpetrator is likely to look.
We recommend that Bishop Jaime Soto make future announcements of new allegations to the media, and also include a section on their excellent list of "credibly accused" clergy for such accusations. We believe that any prelate who truly wants to help survivors heal and to protect today’s children would do nothing less.

CONTACT: Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento Area Leader, ([email protected], 530-908-3676 ), 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)

(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

Buffalo is bad, but not unique; SNAP breaks it down

According to an analysis by The Buffalo News, Child Victims Act lawsuits accused 230 local Catholic clergy of sexually abusing vulnerable and unsuspecting children over the past 75 years. The complaints covered nearly every parish in the Diocese. Since 1950, more than 2,300 priests have been assigned to the Buffalo Diocese. By our accounting, that indicates that about 10% of the ordained in the Diocese were abusive. That is nearly double what the Catholic Church acknowledged in 2004

Ex youth pastor faces multiple charges of pornography and child sexual abuse, SNAP calls for church outreach

Mark William Heotzler was a youth pastor at Grace Chapel Community Church in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, from May 2014 to April of 2019. He is accused of a total of 53child sex crimes from between 2015 and 2021, including making sexual advances towards minors and sending inappropriate images by text and through social media to individuals under the age of 18. The criminal complaint alleges that Heotlzler made sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy. The former youth pastor is already a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania, following a guilty plea on March 4 to unlawful obscene contact with a minor. He is currently in jail on that charge.

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