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).

Mobile priest runs off to Italy with a recent high school grad; SNAP wants answers from his Archbishop

For immediate release: August 21, 2023

 Last week disturbing reports revealed that a 30 -year-old Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Mobile fled to Europe with an 18-year-old teen, saying that Jesus told them that they should leave and not return to Alabama. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wonders why it took so long for the Archbishop to act in this case, and why he had not released more information about the scandal to the faithful and the public.

 McGill-Toolen High School in Mobile admitted that Fr. Alex Crow sat in on classes and took confessions there in 2021, the same year that he was ordained.  Earlier this summer, Fr. Crow traveled to Europe with a just-turned 18-year-old graduate of McGill-Toolen, and Mobile law enforcement released two letters the cleric wrote that suggests that Fr. Crow’s relationship with the teen was inappropriate, including a Valentine’s Day love letter to the teen.

Despite reports that parents had complained about Fr. Crow to the Archdiocese, including insisting that the clergyman stay away from another girl, Archbishop Thomas John Rodi appears to have done nothing in response. Fr. Crow was still able to go with a group of students to Italy in June. It was only after the clergyman and the 18-year-old did not return to Alabama that Archdiocese announced that he exhibited behavior “unbecoming of a priest” and that he “may no longer exercise ministry as a priest.” It is extremely disappointing that the Archbishop was not open about what had transpired, and that he did not mention or express any concern for the teen.

 


A large settlement reached in clergy abuse case in Philadelphia- SNAP applauds the brave victim

 

(For Immediate Release August 9, 2023) 

 

A victim of a notorious predator priest who had a very long career in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has reached a settlement with church officials for $3.5 million. The courageous survivor, whose identity remains confidential, has been commended for his bravery in disclosing his suffering, seeking justice in court, and enduring a lengthy litigation process.

The size of this settlement reflects the overwhelming evidence that Catholic officials possess, revealing their repeated and callous disregard for the safety of children. Fearing the exposure of incriminating information in court or in the public domain, they have resorted to compensating victims and their insurers have followed suit.

Media reports indicate that in March 2011, Father John Close was among 21 priests placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior with minors. These suspensions followed the release of the second grand jury report, which identified over 30 priests in active ministry accused of sexual misconduct.

 


Notorious Catholic predator priest is free, living in Orlando; SNAP urges outreach

(For Immediate Release August 9, 2023) 

One of Florida’s most prolific Catholic clergy abusers has been released from prison and is living in a residential neighborhood. A national support group for clergy sex abuse victims is asking two bishops to warn local parents, parishioners, and the public about him.

 Fr. Neil Augustine (Gus) Doherty is now living in Orlando, according to the Florida sex offender registry. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is sending a letter to Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Orlando Bishop John Noonan, urging them to use their “vast resources” to alert the local community that a potentially dangerous serial predator now walks free in their streets.

More than two dozen men have come forward to date, accusing Fr. Doherty of molesting them as children, sometimes after drugging them. In 2013, the priest pleaded no contest to lewd assault/sexual battery of a victim under the age of 16 and was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.

The Miami Catholic hierarchy, where Fr. Doherty was ordained in 1969, was warned of the priest's behavior as early as 1971, but kept him in active ministry until 2002 (Florida Attorney General’s Report, page 17). Fr. Doherty’s assignment history can be found here.


New Orleans Archbishop ignored review board findings; SNAP not shocked at the revelation

For immediate release: August 8, 2023

In an explosive report from The Guardian, it was revealed that in six cases the Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, ignored the findings of his own review board. In each of those six cases, the review board found the clergymen to be "credibly accused," but Archbishop Aymond not only disregarded this finding, he also concealed this information from parishioners and the public, despite pledges of "transparency."

We wish we could say that we are surprised at this revelation, but we are not. All too often Catholic hierarchs wax eloquently on how clergy crimes and cover-ups are a thing of the past, only to have outside investigations reveal something entirely different. We applaud The Guardian for exposing this ugly truth in New Orleans. As long as bishops continue to conceal the crimes of clerics, no one should feel complacent that their parish and their priest is safe. 

We hope that the faithful in New Orleans are watching and paying attention. We wonder how much longer they will continue to tolerate an institution that has time and again shown itself to be unworthy of their trust. Innocent lives will continue to be at risk as long as criminals continue to be concealed and protected. Children will continue to suffer unnecessarily as long as "zero tolerance" is nothing more than a myth. 

What else can be said? The Archdiocese of New Orleans is indeed bankrupt, morally bankrupt.

Contact: Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Iterim 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)


San Francisco Archdiocese threatening bankruptcy; SNAP reacts

For immediate release: August 4, 2023

On August 4, 2023, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco issued a letter to parishioners in response to questions from The San Francisco Chronicle. The Archbishop wrote to the faithful, “After much contemplation and prayer, I wish to inform you that a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization is very likely.

Everything about the bankruptcies of Catholic dioceses strikes us as wrong. It is all about protecting secrets first, and second, to reduce just compensation to the victims they have created. From one coast to the other, the same ruse is being used. First, minimize and cover-up child sex crimes, while keeping abusers in ministry. Then, fight against changes to the civil statute of limitations which would expose those crimes. Finally, when secular laws provide a window to justice, go to federal bankruptcy courts and pretend that they are out of money.


Accused child molester is now running a Catholic school

(For Immediate Release August 4, 2023) 

A new Catholic school president has been hired in the Kansas City Kansas Archdiocese despite his having been sued as an abuser in Arizona.

Is it possible he's innocent? Yes. Is it likely he's innocent? Doubtful. Has his selection and appointment been handled appropriately? Clearly not.

Phil Baniewicz is the new head of Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park KS. Archbishop Joseph Naumann and his staff have not been honest with parents and the public about the serious allegations against Baniewicz. And tragically, this type of continuing secrecy is what hurts victims, demoralizes Catholics and enables sex crimes against kids to keep happening.


Pope Francis lands in Portugal; SNAP responds

(For Immediate Release August 2, 2023) 

Pope Francis has arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, where he will address one of the country's most devastating issues: sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. The gravity of the situation was palpable as senior bishops listened to heart-wrenching stories shared by victims during a panel discussion last February.

In a shocking revelation, specialists recently disclosed on live television that a staggering 4,815 boys and girls, primarily aged between 10 and 14, have been victims of sexual assault by ordained, professed, and employed religious of the Portuguese Catholic Church since 1950. This announcement contradicted previous claims by high-ranking members of the church, who downplayed the extent of the abuse.

The response from the Portuguese Catholic Church has been criticized as inadequate and lacking urgency. Their slow and hesitant reaction prompted survivors to form Portugal's first advocacy group, demanding financial compensation on behalf of the victims. This further tarnished the church's reputation, which has already been marred by these heinous acts.

 


Retired Bishop marries in a civil ceremony; SNAP Reacts

(For Immediate Release August 1, 2023) 

Disgraced Albany Bishop Hubbard marries in a civil ceremony.

In a bizarre turn of events, Bishop Hubbard, a prominent figure in the Catholic Church, has announced he is now married despite ongoing civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. “I have fallen in love with a wonderful woman who has helped and cared for me and who believes in me,” Bishop Hubbard, 84, said in the statement. Hubbard's ecclesiastical career, spanning, saw him serve as a priest for 60 years and a bishop for 46 years.

Hubbard’s decision comes after a failed attempt to seek a reversion to the "lay state" or a release from his ecclesiastical responsibilities through a formal appeal to the Vatican.

We are skeptical of Hubbard's motives; his latest move is another attempt to conceal secrets and deceive the public.  "It is astonishing to us the depth of selfishness cowards run to when their back is in the corner," said Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President. "We also cannot help but think of the countless number of victims who'd like relief or to retire and have closure from their lifetime of pain and suffering. Sadly, those who have endured the most harm will never be able to resign from that weight,” said Dougherty.

We stand with the courageous individuals who have come forward to expose Hubbard's alleged misconduct, emphasizing the importance of accountability and transparency within the Catholic Church. Their actions have provided a sense of security to Albany's Catholic community, which has been deeply affected by these revelations.

As the legal proceedings continue, the focus remains on supporting the survivors and ensuring that justice is served. We urge the public to stand with the victims and demand a thorough investigation into the allegations against Hubbard.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected] 267-261-0578 Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President, (814-341-8386 [email protected])

(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)


CATHOLIC PRIESTS’ RITUALISTIC ABUSE CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF SEXUAL OFFENDING

Nationwide New Zealand 27 July 2023
CATHOLIC PRIESTS’ RITUALISTIC ABUSE CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF SEXUAL OFFENDING
The Catholic Church in New Zealand has indicated that ritualistic abuse is not sexual abuse. However, victims of ritualistic abuse in Christchurch’s Catholic Diocese reported sexual offending within those rituals.
In August 2021, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Aotearoa New Zealand, received complaints of prolonged exorcisms and religious confessions involving sexual deviancy committed by the Christchurch-based Transalpine Redemptorists.
Dr Christopher Longhurst, National Leader of SNAP Aotearoa and a Catholic theologian stated that “a professed spiritual motivation does not prevent the abuse of children and vulnerable people. Rather, it can hide the offender’s actual motives.”
After receiving the first allegations of abuse by the Christchurch Catholic priests, SNAP contacted Archbishop Paul Martin SM, then Catholic bishop of Christchurch. However, Bishop Martin did not address the complaints.

SNAP Mourns the loss of Sinéad O'Connor

(For Immediate Release July 26, 2023)

It is with great sorrow that we have received news of the passing of Sinéad O'Connor, a renowned vocalist, activist, and composer.  Despite the extensive knowledge about Sinéad O'Connor's life, her achievements extend beyond her musical contributions and vocal activism against social injustices. Furthermore, she played a significant role in providing valuable inspiration and strong impetus for individuals engaged in advocating for the welfare of children and combatting institutional abuse, as well as addressing issues of secrecy and concealment.

‘Sinead O’Connor wore the anguish of victims of clergy abuse, and it seems as though she knew in 1992 the horrors that hadn’t yet been revealed. Ultimately, she relieved the pain of tens of thousands of victims with rebellion. We at SNAP mourn with the world.’ Mike McDonnell, Interim Executive Director-SNAP

We are still in awe of the significant power she held while also harboring profound emotional distress. Her journey was characterized by solitude, obscurity, and challenges, a path that is often shunned by individuals but ultimately leads to the process of healing.

Sinéad played a crucial role in tending to the injured, safeguarding the susceptible, and pursuing truth and justice, but she has now passed away. However, should individuals who are dedicated to protecting children neglect to acknowledge and honor her brave, devoted, and contentious standing, and heighten endeavors to eradicate disgusting child sexual offenses, the depth of this tragedy will only grow graver.

Sinéad O'Connor's passing is a tremendous loss for the music industry and the global community. Her voice, both literal and metaphorical, will be sorely missed. As we mourn her untimely departure, let us remember her as a trailblazer, a visionary, and a true champion for the voiceless.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Sinéad O'Connor's family, friends, and fans during this difficult time. May her legacy continue to inspire and ignite change in the world.

 

CONTACT:  Mike McDonnell, Interim Executive Director ([email protected] 267-261-0578) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President, (814-341-8386 [email protected])

 (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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