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 Letter to Christophe Cardinal Pierre - Papal Nuncio

Oct. 19, 2023
His Eminence Christophe Cardinal Pierre
Papal Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008


Dear Cardinal Pierre:


"The Diocese of Springfield’s handling of child sex abuse allegations is a story of failed leadership—leadership that allowed clerics to sexually abuse children in the diocese for decades. Through it all, men leading the diocese for 50 years chose to protect the reputation of the church and its clerics, rather than attempt to ensure the physical and mental well-being of its children.”
“As a result, children of the diocese suffered through decades of child sex abuse, the impact of which continues to this day."
So wrote Illinois’ highest ranking law enforcement professional, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, following a nearly five-year investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups across the state.
Into this horrific situation stepped Bishop Thomas Paprocki twelve years ago. He knew Springfield had been a troubled diocese. (In fact, one of his predecessors, Bishop Daniel Ryan, was a child molester himself, as Paprocki himself was aware.)
So one would reasonably have expected Paprocki to be especially diligent, sensitive and proactive about abuse.
His experience should have also enabled him to better deal with abuse.


SNAP weighs in on USCCB meeting in Baltimore

For Immediate Release November 13, 2023

When all US Catholic bishops meet in Baltimore, we urge them to discuss the church's ongoing clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis. Ignoring this still-widespread and deeply hurtful criminal scandal leads to further complacency which enables more predators to assault more kids.
While the Catholic hierarchy's internal panels, procedures, policies and protocols on abuse are inherently flawed and rarely effective, not talking about this crisis is the wrong approach.


Specifically, at a bare minimum, we urge the bishops to at least discuss the possibility of:
---establishing a whistleblowers fund to help church employees who experience retaliation after reporting known or suspected child sex crimes to church officials, and
---fighting for, not against, reforms of secular abuse laws to give victims of childhood sexual violence more time to expose those who commit or conceal child sex crimes in court.


We also urge them to vote AGAINST elevating San Francisco's archbishop to a committee chairmanship.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone remains one of only about a dozen prelates who stubbornly, recklessly and callously refuse to disclose and post on their website the names of credibly accused child molesting clerics. On that basis alone, he should be denied any more positions of respect or responsibility in the church.
(He's one of two candidates to become head of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Bishop Daniel E. Thomas of the Diocese of Toledo is running against him.)
https://www.usccb.org/news/2023/us-bishops-meet-nov-13-16-baltimore-assembly-be-live-streamed

 

CONTACT: David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Teresa Lancaster, SNAP Member ([email protected], 410- 703- 9122),  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578

 

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


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is once again tone deaf to the cry of the poor: they have ignored survivors’ cries for justice

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is once again tone deaf to the cry of the poor: they have ignored survivors’ cries for justice

 

The Bishops' Conference ignores two primary findings of the recent Synod which concluded on October 28th

 

The USCCB sits on their hands while Archbishop William Lori re-victimizes survivors by filing for bankruptcy, not to protect Church assets, but to avoid the scandal of civil litigation

 

WHAT: At a sidewalk news conference, abuse survivors and advocates who are part of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, will demand that the USCCB follow the findings of the recent Synod which recommends a new approach to the child abuse crisis and also to have “regular reviews of the bishop’s performance with reference to …safeguarding against all possible kinds of abuse.” They will call on the USCCB to take these recommendations seriously, as well as to review the conduct of Archbishop Lori. Specifically, to look into how the Archbishop has handled the abuses newly revealed by the Maryland Attorney General and how he has revictimized survivors by filing for bankruptcy. The Archdiocese of Baltimore (AOB) has not shown any financial insolvency due to child abuse cases being filed.  SNAP will also call, once again, for the Archbishop to attend each of the bankruptcy hearings where survivors are given a chance to tell their stories in an atmosphere where they feel protected by the court, rather than in the Archbishop’s inner sanctum where survivors feel intimidated by the trappings of ecclesiastical power.

 

WHEN: Tuesday 11/14/23 at 1:30 PM

 

WHERE:  Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, 700 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21202

 

WHO: Abuse survivors and advocates, including Maryland SNAP Leader David Lorenz and Maryland SNAP member Teresa Lancaster


SNAP Supports Michigan House Bills 4482-4487

For Immediate Release, November 8, 2023

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the oldest and largest support group for victims of abuse in religious settings. We are 100% in support of any legislation that extends or eliminates the criminal or civil SOL for child sex crimes. Science shows that delayed disclosure of abuse is normal, and allowing survivors more time to come forward not only helps them to heal, it can also help protect today's children by exposing hidden predators.


Survivors respond to recent Archdiocesan comments to KTVU

For Immediate Release, November 8, 2023

Survivors and advocates have written to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, responding to recent Archdiocesan comments about the bankruptcy letter we sent to the Archbishop last week. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has supplied additional supporting documentation for our November 1, 2023, letter to the Archbishop.

A copy of the letter sent earlier today by email can be found here.


Survivors challenge Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's need to resort to bankruptcy

For Immediate Release, November 1, 2023

Survivors and advocates have written to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, asking him to reconsider bankruptcy. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has researched the real estate portfolio of the Archdiocese, and believes that it has ample non-essential assets to care for those survivors who filed lawsuits in the recently closed civil window without resorting to this extreme measure. 

A copy of the letter sent earlier today by email is linked below, as are the attachments to the letter.

CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP Board of Directors Treasurer ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175),   Joey Piscitelli, SNAP Northern California ([email protected], 925-262-3699), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)

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

Letter to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone 11-1-2023

SFAD Real Estate Schedule of Values - Unaudited

SFAD Parishes with More than 7 Accused

SFAD & Offshoots Compared to PA Grand Jury Report


Former Connecticut State Representative reports sexual, psychological, and physical abuse by two Greek Orthodox bishops

He also accuses one of the hierarchs of financial improprieties

For immediate release: November 1, 2023

John Metsopoulos is coming forward to report sexual harassment, as well as physical and psychological abuse, by Metropolitan Athenagoras Aneste (George Angelo Aneste), Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Mexico and Central America. John also accuses Metropolitan Athenagoras of financial improprieties. In addition, John accuses the now deceased Metropolitan of Chicago, Iakovos Garmatis (Michael Garmatis) of sexually assaulting him when he was a child in Connecticut. The accusations against Metropolitan Athenagoras occurred from 2017-2019, and the abuse by Metropolitan Garmatis in 1970. Parts of this outcry have been up on the SNAP website for almost a year.


Independent commission estimates that there are more than 400,000 victims of abuse within the Catholic Church in Spain; SNAP urges governmental action

For Immediate Release: October 27, 2023

In March 2022, Spain's parliament overwhelmingly approved the creation of an independent commission to investigate accusations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. At a news conference called today to present the findings of that report, the country's national ombudsman estimated that more than 400,000 children have been sexually assaulted in the Catholic Church in Spain since 1940, more than 200,000 by clergy. The commission was also critical of the Church, calling its response to cases of child abuse involving the clergy “insufficient,” and recommended the creation of a state fund to pay reparations to survivors. 

Once again, an independent investigation has examined the response of the Catholic Church to accusations of child sex abuse and found that response woefully inadequate. We believe that this again illustrates that the Catholic abuse scandal, the result of unconscionable decisions made by those in positions of leadership, cannot be resolved within the Church. The Spanish government must step in and not only manage any reparations but also begin regulating the Catholic Church. In fact, every nation in the world should start to assess how it can supervise a religion that has failed to monitor itself, and that apparently values their clergy, its secrets, and its assets over the lives of innocent children. We applaud the brave victims who came forward to share their tragic experiences with the commission. They join a huge network of survivors who are trying to protect others from similar atrocities.

Every week more Catholic priests are arrested or outed as perpetrators. And it seems like every week, we learn that clergy accused of child sexual abuse are allowed to remain in ministry. As investigation after investigation piles up, we see more and more the failure of Church leadership - cardinals, bishops, high-level chancery members -- to protect defenseless boys and girls. The rot appears to go all the way to the top in every diocese and religious order in the world. 
It is long past time for "God's house" to be washed clean.

 

CONTACT: Marc Artzrouni, SNAP Europe, ([email protected], +33 - 6 95 73 65 92), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director (267-261-0578 [email protected]), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President  (814-341-8386, [email protected])


Fr. Marko Rupnik incardinated; survivors group labels this "madness"

For immediate release: October 25, 2023
 
We call this decision absolute madness. The Church has complete control over who does and who does not work as a Catholic clergyman. A conviction for a penal offense has never been required for removal from ministry.
 
The incardination of Fr. Marko Rupnik is to us a telltale sign that while the Church continues to say they have changed, their actions belie it. It also reinforces that we need to continue our fight for justice and accountability. Catholic officials are once again protecting a prominent priest instead of supporting the brave survivors who came forward, as well as preventing future victims.
False accusations of sexual abuse are rare, multiple false accusations are even rarer. It appears that Fr. Rupnik has at least 24 accusations leveled against him. We also know that the priest had been briefly excommunicated in 2020 for using the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he had engaged in sexual activity. To us, Fr. Rupnik is a dangerous predator, likely made even bolder by the fact that his actions have resulted in no permanent consequences. We simply do not understand why any bishop would put the women in his diocese in harm's way like this. 
 
We strongly suspect that this will discourage many survivors, particularly those abused as adults, from coming forward to the Church. It is also a slap in the face to all the brave women who did speak out against Fr. Rupnik, and will add to the burden of pain they already carry.
 
If the Diocese of Koper refuses to protect their faithful without a criminal conviction, then we encourage any victims of Fr. Rupnik to report directly to law enforcement. We have always found that reporting abuse to Catholic officials should be a last resort, as accusations are universally handled more appropriately outside of Church channels.

CONTACT:  Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578),  Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)

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

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Philadelphia priest pleads guilty to sexually abusing 13-year-old altar server, victim calls the abuse a “nightmare”

For immediate release: October 23, 2023
 
A Catholic priest from Philadelphia was convicted today of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl in 2014. The victim described the assault as a "nightmare" in court. We applaud this brave survivor for reporting the cleric despite her suffering. Her bravery has helped to ensure that Catholic children and the public are safer. We hope that the cleric will receive the stiffest sentence possible for his crime.
 
Fr. Armand Garcia pleaded guilty to corruption of a minor and unlawful contact with a minor stemming from the assault on this now-25-year-old woman. The priest was initially charged with rape, but agreed to a plea bargain taking that charge off of the table. The victim was an altar server at the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in the Andorra neighborhood at the time of the crime. The survivor had known the clergyman since she was 13 and he was a friend of her father’s. She reported the assault in 2017, when Fr. Garcia was transferred to St. Martin of Tours in Summerdale while she was away at college.
Again, we cannot praise this young woman enough for stepping forward at such an young age, despite the grievous harm she suffered as a result of her rape. Clergy sex abuse results in life-long injuries. As this victim testified, the assault caused her deep and permanent harm, hampering her ability to trust friends, family, and potential romantic partners, as well as interfering with her ability to pursue a nursing career. We can only hope that her persistence in pursuing criminal charges will be rewarded with the maximum sentence for this dangerous priest. Children are always safest when perpetrators are incarcerated.
We also note that Fr. Garcia was only ordained in 2005, and the rape occurred in 2014. This puts the lie to the Church's constant refrain that abuse is now a thing of the past. According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the cleric had also passed a background check and attended child protection training programs. However, as this case illustrates, parents still need to be aware of what the signs of sexual abuse are, and be vigilant in delving into changes in behavior that can indicate that their child may have suffered an assault. Believing survivors and getting them immediate help are the best things parents can do to mitigate the damage of clergy sexual abuse.
We want everyone who was abused in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia or elsewhere to know that they do not need to suffer alone and in silence. They should not be afraid to stand up and tell their truth. There are people who will believe them and support them.

CONTACT:  Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578),  Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)

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


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