MO - Sex abuse victims to protest outside nuns’ conference

As hundreds of American Catholic nuns meeting this week in St. Louis, clergy sex abuse victims will protest outside urging them to address the under-reported issue of clergy sex crimes and cover ups by nuns. 

A nationwide self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is upset with the main organization of nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). SNAP says the LCWR “refuses to take any real steps to heal the wounded or protect the vulnerable.”

“It’s stunning, really, to see nuns moving more timidly and slowly on child sex crimes and cover ups than bishops,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s outreach director. “Abuse by nuns is certainly more common than anyone suspects, and inaction by nuns’ groups contributes to this secrecy.”

For at least eight years, SNAP has repeatedly prodded the sisters’ organization to
--let childhood sexual victims to speak at the nun’s conference,
--actively reach out to victims of nun abuse, and
--post the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting nuns on church websites.

SNAP’s first protest will be tomorrow, Monday, August 6,from 8:45 p.m. until 10:15 p.m. outside the Millennium Hotel, 200 S. Fourth (between Clark & Walnut) in downtown St. Louis

“The scandal of child molesting nuns takes a backseat to abuse by priests, remaining dangerously in the shadows,” said Steve Theisen of Iowa SNAP who was sexually victimized by a nun as a child. “More and more, we’re hearing from men and women who were molested, as young kids and vulnerable adults, by nuns across the country. Yet nun officials have done little to determine just how widespread such crimes and cover ups are or take effective steps to stop them in the future.”

“It’s ironic that the LCWR makes the same excuses for inaction now what bishops used 20 years ago,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director. “They make essentially bureaucratic claims like ‘our structure doesn’t permit us to do more’ and their meetings are not ‘the best venue’ to address these issues. It’s very disheartening.”

The LCWR is also under fire from top Catholic officials.

In April of this year, the Vatican announced that they were instituting a “reform effort” for the LCWR, in an effort to bring the group in line with traditional Vatican views on issues such as birth control and women’s ordination.

“We sympathize with the nuns, because we abuse victims have also been treated harshly and attacked by bishops,” said Dorris. “But that’s no excuse for doing little or nothing to help suffering adults get better or help vulnerable kids be safer.”

The LCWR has more than 1,500 members, roughly 900 of whom are expected at this meeting. It represents about 95% of the 68,000 women religious in the US. Few of these religious communities of women answer to the local bishops; instead the majority of these orders report to an obscure Vatican office.

Showing 13 comments

  • @StanDerlatka mentioned @ link to this page. 2012-08-12 06:28:26 -0500
    MO - Sex abuse victims to protest outside nuns’ conference via @SNAPNetwork
  • @Majic_Angel tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-10 11:56:39 -0500
    MO - Sex abuse victims to protest outside nuns’ conference
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    MO - Sex abuse victims to protest outside nuns’ conference via @SNAPNetwork
  • Ann Thompson
    commented 2012-08-07 21:18:36 -0500
    Abuse is Abuse…

    No matter who does it to you… It is about time we bring the nuns… who abused and sexual abused us children… in the catholic church orphanages… worldwide to account… look one nun I know… while her case was on in England… her lawyers told the court that she was dead… she was not… she was over her in New Zealand… she was in many of the catholic orphanages… and she was wanted in 5 to 6 countries… for abusing… and sexual abusing girls… We blamed ourselves… for the thrashings… and whippings.. that the nuns gave us… thinking all the time… that we had the devil in us… and the sins of our mothers… in us as well.

    How could we every see… these pure holy nuns… as most saw them… from outside the red brick walls… of the orphanages worldwide… we were children in their care… and we believed every word they told us… of what we were… even today… I still doubt myself… our hair was shaved off… cold baths every day… because I wet my bed… force feed… and the nuns… making me eat my vomit… my head put down the toilet… locked in the cellar… for days on end… with the rats… and having to go to the toilet… on the floor… down there…

    we have to be so strong… to meet with nuns… they know what to say to people… and will only say… what the people want to hear… nothing else… you will notice… that it has taken us longer to face up to the nuns… because to most people… the nuns would never do any wrong… sexual abuse little children… boys and girls… young men… and young women… Nuns abused and sexual abused us children… and we must be the voice… for the men and women… who can not come forward… to tell their story… Ann Free Spirit
  • @LHuizenga tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-07 14:37:32 -0500
    Wonder how the media will cover this: SNAP to protest LCWR meeting: @MZHemingway @GetReligion @firstthingsmag @fatherz
  • David Clohessy
    followed this page 2012-08-07 12:45:35 -0500
  • Dennis Malone
    commented 2012-08-07 10:43:59 -0500

    Use of the Magnificant in the way you do earns you the ‘Ugh’ award.
  • Ann Thompson
    commented 2012-08-06 21:18:24 -0500
    No they well not listen to us… because they know… we have always told the truth… see… did I not tell you… how nuns… will never come face to face with us… their names… should also be on record… for sexual abusing children in their… so call care… how they shamed us for years… in front of the other children… and we could do nothing… to defend ourselves… against them…

    I would just stand there… and not say a word… that is why they gave me the names… Stubborn Shirley…. this is why… I can not stand the name… my mother gave me…. and also a Simpleton… I could not move… if I had moved away… they would of added more thrashings… I could not stop them… nor could I say… anything while they whipped me…

    I would put my mind… some where else… and mostly… think of Jesus… on the cross… I offered my body… unto Jesus… it was all I could think of… He was my little brother… and it was that… which use to hurt me more… than anything else… I was… giving Jesus more pain… than He could ever handle… it was the only way… I could survived…

    the nuns… took every thing away from me… and mostly my mind… that is why… I am still fighting… to get back… to be me…myself… WHO AM I??… I am a lost Soul… and I do not fit in… with any one… I am so lost… without a mind of my own… I so want to find myself… how do I do that… where do I begin… they have so much to answer to…

    why were the nuns… so hateful to us children… we were so defenseless… we could not even… go to the toilet… without being abused… in that little room… gosh… it just keeps coming back… no mater what I think about… there is always a word… which you hear… or say… takes you back… to that hell… that is why I say… I still live in hell… on this earth… today…
    Ann Free Spirit
  • Al Henneberry
    commented 2012-08-06 20:14:17 -0500
    The Magnificat of the Nuns on the Bus

    My soul proclaims the greatness of the earth mother,
    and my spirit rejoices in the media’s adoration.
    For C-Span, CNN, and the New York Times have looked with favor on sister celebrities.

    Henceforth, all generations will call us blessed crying, “We’re All Nuns now!”
    For the Huffington Post has done great things for us
    And we’ve sold lots of t-shirts.

    The goddess Gaia pours out blessings on all who march for the wetlands
    in every generation.

    She has shown the strength of her arm at the School of the Americas
    and has scattered the patriarchal old men in Rome who dare to correct us.

    She has filled Youtube with videos about us
    and thousands like us on Facebook and Twitter.

    She has come to the help of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
    remembering her promise to promote women’s ordination, the new age, and global warming,
    the promise she made to our mothers, women who play mass pretending to be priests forever.

    Glory be to Gaia, Sophia, and Astarte,
    As it was when we first lost our faith, is now when we’ve lost our minds, and will be forever in hell if we don’t repent.

  • @sexandcelibacy tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-06 17:44:20 -0500
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  • David Clohessy
    published this page in Official SNAP Media Statements 2012-08-06 08:33:58 -0500

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