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 Santa Rosa Files for Bankruptcy; SNAP Responds

(For Immediate Release March 14, 2023) 

Yet another Roman Catholic Diocese has filed for bankruptcy, shielding itself from true accountability and abusing court rules to keep the public and parishioners in the dark about the true scope of clergy abuse in their area.

Yesterday, the Diocese of Santa Rosa, CA, filed for bankruptcy in a move that, in our opinion, aims to keep the public from understanding the extent of clergy sexual abuse that has taken place inside its boundaries. It is difficult to believe that the Diocese is as impoverished as it claims, especially given that Church officials bragged in their latest annual report about their “biggest year ever” in terms of fundraising.

California’s Child Victims Act aimed to give survivors access to the truth and a route to justice, but this proposed bankruptcy strategy would restrict a victim's ability to obtain compensation and, more importantly, would bar them from obtaining the Bishop's confidential records which would reveal the scope of previous and present cover-ups. Given that bankruptcy court has been abused along these same lines by numerous Catholic jurisdictions over the past several years, it’s hard to believe it is being used in good faith in Santa Rosa.



SNAP Responds to Jesuits Canada list of Credibly Accused

(For Immediate Release March 13, 2023) 

A list of Jesuits who have been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children from 1950 to the present has been made public by the Jesuits of Canada. According to Fr. Erik Oland, the head of the Jesuit Order in Canada, the list is the outcome of an investigation that started in 2020 and was carried out with the assistance of an independent investigator. All but three of the 27 persons on that list are deceased.

It is difficult for us to believe that an “exhaustive file review” would have shown that only 27 Jesuits were found to be perpetrators. While we do not have a total for the number of Jesuits who worked in Canada during the period of time examined in the investigation,  according to the Jesuits of Canada website, by the early 1960s Jesuit numbers were around 1270. In independent governmental investigations around the globe, the rate of abusive clergy has regularly been shown to be close to 10%. Yet the Canadian Jesuits are claiming an abuse rate that is slightly more than 2% of the clerics working in just a portion of the time covered. Such an outlier appears to us to be implausible at best.


Child Victims Act Clears A Hurdle in Maryland; SNAP Applauds Lawmakers

(For Immediate Release March 13, 2023) 

In Annapolis, Maryland, the Child Victims Act of 2023 was unanimously approved by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee this past Friday. This is just a first step; the bill still needs to pass both the House and the full Senate.

We stand in ovation for lawmakers in Maryland who have given the nod for the Child Victims Act to move forward to the Senate floor. Our thanks to Sen. William C. Smith Jr. and Del. C.T. Wilson for putting victims first. We encourage leaders to now bring the bill up for a vote. This bill is an important step in recognizing the realities of childhood sexual abuse. Delayed disclosure is the norm, not the exception, and so amending laws to be more in line with reporting trends allows more survivors to seek justice. This helps to prevent future cases of abuse by getting information about perpetrators and enablers into the hands of police, prosecutors, and the public.

Society is made safer every time a survivor comes forward to share their experience. We are aware that many abusers are still alive and unreported, endangering the communities in which they reside. The Child Victims Act of 2023 will aid in fixing that issue, enabling survivors to come forward and fostering safer, more educated communities.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Becky Ianni, Virginia and DC SNAP leader ([email protected], (703) 801-6044)  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




Notorious Abuser Added to Diocese of Steubenville List, SNAP Calls for Secular Intervention

Years after being removed from active ministry and decades after he was first reported as an abuser, Church officials from the Diocese of Steubenville have finally deigned to add Msgr. Mark Froehlich to their list of "credibly accused" priests. This action - far too little and far too late - is still an important step forward in ensuring parents and the public are able to keep their children and loved ones away from a dangerous serial perpetrator.

SNAP Europe: John Paul II, Still a Saint?

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)



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