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 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) 

                                                                                    ###


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)


SNAP Applauds Brave Victim in Recent Settlement

(For Immediate Release October 13, 2023) 

Claude Leboeuf, a SNAP Leader in Rhode Island, recently received a settlement from the Catholic Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. With the help of his attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, Claude was able to prevail despite the fact that the statute of limitations in his case had expired. Claude, who is now 70, had repressed his memories of being abused at the age of 8 by the Rev. James Porter. The Falls River priest pleaded guilty in 1993 to assaulting 28 other children in the Diocese.
 
We applaud Claude's bravery, and we hope that his example will encourage other, still-silent victims to come forward to family, friends, therapists, groups like ours, or law enforcement, to seek counsel and to pursue justice. Claude demonstrates that it is never too late for a victim of sexual assault to speak out, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. Not every survivor will have Claude's level of success, but we believe that when a victim shares their truth it is an important step on the road to healing, which is invaluable. 
 
Claude's case is also a perfect example of delayed disclosure, a common phenomenon in cases of childhood sexual abuse. The average age at which a survivor comes forward is 52. Essentially, this means that the criminal and civil laws in many states across the country do not reflect this reality and need to be changed. We hope that the bill currently in committee in Massachusetts will be successful. Today's children are safer when survivors have the opportunity to expose perpetrators and the institutions that protect the abusers.
 
Childhood sexual abuse can have a wide range of effects that continue into adulthood. Many survivors experience lifelong problems. We hope that others can find their strength and courage, just as Claude did. Communities are safer because of valiant warriors like Claude. 

CONTACT:  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175) 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)

                                                                                               ###


SNAP applauds the three brave victims in a new class action lawsuit against the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington DC

SNAP applauds the three brave victims in a new class action lawsuit against the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington DC

(For Immediate Release October 2, 2023) 

A class action lawsuit was filed jointly today by the law firms of Schochor, Staton, Goldberg and Cardea, P.A. and Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland against the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington DC. These two leading civil litigations firms were able to proceed with this action because the Maryland Child Victims Act went into effect on October 1st.

SNAP is grateful to the attorneys for moving forward with this case, which features the testimonies of three adults abused as children in the Archdiocese. We are in awe of the bravery of these survivors in speaking out and sharing their individual stories, despite having suffered a wide variety of serious physical, emotional, and financial injuries.

The lawsuit accuses the Archdiocese of engaging in a pattern of conduct that permitted Catholic boys and girls in its churches and school to suffer sexual abuse for decades. The Archdiocese has acknowledged having 34 “credibly accused” clergy. Bishop-Accountability.org, the independent watchdog group that has been tracking the Catholic abuse scandal for 20 years, puts the number of abusers in Washington DC at 45.  

Based on our information and experience, we believe that despite the 2002 promise of openness and transparency by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that much information about these crimes remains hidden. We hope this civil action will help shine a light into those dark places in this Archdiocese.

We also hope that victims who have been suffering alone and in silence will find courage from the stories set forth in the complaint to speak out themselves. There are people who will believe them and support them.

The press release from the law firms can be seen here>>https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/schochor-staton-goldberg-and-cardea-pa-and-janet-janet--suggs-llc-file-class-action-lawsuit-against-archdiocese-of-washington-301944633.html

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 Interim Executive Director [email protected], 267-261-0578)  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 SNAPnetwork.org)

                                                                                ###

 


SNAP stands in solidarity with ECA: Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández must go

For immediate release: September 29, 2023

At a press conference yesterday, End Clergy Abuse (ECA) and clergy abuse survivors and advocates representing 25 countries from around the world called on Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández as head of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) and to rescind his elevation to Cardinal. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, joins our allies at ECA in their call for the Pope to rescind the appointment and elevation of Archbishop Fernández.

Among the responsibilities of the the DDF is the handling of sexual abuse accusations brought against clergy. In fact, this responsibility constitutes 80% of its work. Yet earlier this year, Archbishop  Fernández admitted that he made "mistakes" in handling a 2019 case of a priest accused of sexually abusing children. On this basis, we too urgently call for Pope Francis to replace the Archbishop on the DDF, and to reconsider his selection as Cardinal. 


SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant