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).

Catholic officials from the Archdiocese of New York remain silent about the removal of Fr. Thomas Devery; SNAP calls for transparency


New Hampshire Catholic Bishop Accused of Child Sexual Abuse; SNAP Expresses Concern

The Catholic leader of the Diocese of Manchester in New Hampshire has been accused of abusing a 12-13-year-old boy in a recently filed lawsuit. SNAP, the Survivors Network is very concerned because it appears that the prelate remains in ministry. The survivors' group is also worried about what it might mean for other accusations made in the Diocese if the Bishop is himself an abuser.

We are grateful to the New York Child Victim Act. Bishop Peter Libasci is accused of abusing a young boy on numerous occasions in 1983 and 1984 while he was working at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church and School in Deer Park, New York, as a priest. That parish belongs to the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Without its "window to justice," the allegations against Bishop Libasci might never have come to light.


Michigan Attorney General continues working to prosecute clergy abusers; SNAP applauds her work

We are thrilled to learn that one of the most aggressive and effective attorneys general in the US will be taking a former Oakland County Catholic priest to trial for sexually assaulting a youth decades ago. Investigation and intervention from secular authorities is the best way to root out ongoing abuse, discover historical cases, and bring healing and prevention to communities.


Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Deals Major Blow to Survivors of Childhood Abuse, SNAP Reacts

We are very disappointed in the 5-2 decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which ended plaintiff Renee Rice's pursuit of justice. Her strength and conviction to hold the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown responsible for covering up and enabling sexual abuse speaks volumes. It inspires others to continue their path to justice.  Rice alleges abuse at the hands of the alleged abuser, Fr. Charles F. Bodziak; in the 1970s, Rice was then the church organist at St. Leo's church in Altoona, Pa.


Former Professor at Virginia Catholic College Arrested for Child Solicitation

William R. Luckey was arrested on June 25 and charged with solicitation of a 10 year old girl and two counts of taking indecent liberties with the child. Professor Luckey taught for almost 30 years at Christendom College in Virginia, a Catholic institution recommended by the conservative Cardinal Newman Society.


In Bankruptcy Proceedings, Norwich Catholic Leaders Move for All Records to be Sealed, SNAP Worries that Important Information on Abuse Will Be Concealed

A mere day after a Connecticut Catholic Diocese filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of lawsuits for child sexual abuse and cover-up, attorneys for the Church have gone even further and filed a motion to ensure that all information, financial and otherwise, in this case is sealed and redacted. To us, this motion is a clear and public example of Catholic officials using bankruptcy court as a means to protect their secrets, not just their money.


General Secretary of the USCCB resigns before a media report on sexual misconduct

(Clarification Addendum added July 30, 2021  

First, let us clarify that we here at SNAP know that the clergy abuse scandal is not about "homosexuality," although there are some who hold that view. Abuse is not about sex, it is about power and control.

Priests, especially Catholic ones, are put on a pedestal. When a cleric has sex with a parishioner or someone they are counseling, even an adult, there is an imbalance of power and the sex cannot be considered truly consensual. We have seen how much damage this can do to the survivor, and we know of those who have taken their own life in their pain.

Moreover, and perhaps more relevant to this situation, when a Catholic cleric is not honoring his vow of celibacy, he has a secret that must remain hidden to protect his career. However, within the brotherhood of the priesthood, very little is truly secret. One of the systemic problems in the Church is that many clergy cannot report on the smaller number who are preying on children, because they risk their own failing being exposed and losing their vocation.

So, the question for us becomes, when someone is in a position such as Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill was, did he cover up for those who knew his secret? )

 

Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB), today announced the resignation of Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill from his post as the general secretary of the conference. The resignation came ahead of a media report alleging that Msgr. Burrill frequented gay bars and private homes using a popular “hookup” app on his mobile device.


Pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island faces a second allegation of child sexual abuse; SNAP responds

In a letter to parishioners dated July 16th, 2021, Fr. Thomas Devery, Pastor of Our Lady of the Sea on Staten Island, informed the faithful that a second lawsuit under New York's Child Victim Act had been filed against him again alleging that he had sexually abused a minor decades ago. Fr. Devery further wrote that "in keeping with the policy" of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, he will be "stepping aside" from his assignment to the parish while this new accusation is investigated and resolved.


Archdiocese of New York again named in lawsuit over alleged abuse at Mt. Loretto; SNAP calls for secular investigations of such facilities throughout the US

A resident of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto in Staten Island three decades ago has accused three adults, including a priest, of sexually abusing him in a recently filed lawsuit. In the wake of the tragedies that have been uncovered in the past months in Canadian residential schools, we call for secular investigations in each state that had Catholic Church or government oversight at such institutions. Sadly, many children who were placed in such situations were orphaned, wards of the court, or from troubled families. They deserve justice!


Catholic priest pleads guilty to sex trafficking and possession of child porn; SNAP calls on the Diocese to do outreach

A Catholic priest from the Diocese of Cleveland pleaded guilty to the sex trafficking of a minor and child pornography. He will be sentenced in November and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. However, his victims still need to be helped. SNAP calls on the Diocese to do outreach to parishioners.


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