MO- Victims challenge Carlson to debate

For immediate release: Wednesday, June 11, 2014       

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, [email protected])

We raised three concerns about Archbishop Robert Carlson's recent deposition. Today, through his public relations staff, Carlson ignores two of our concerns.

He ignores the fact that he admits never once calling police about abuse in 24 years as a Catholic official. And he ignores a fellow bishop's sworn testimony that Carlson urged him to pretend memory loss if he was deposed.

In his new statement, Carlson quibbles with media coverage of one answer he gave under oath.

We hope Catholics and citizens will look at and read Carlson's full deposition and make up their minds about Carlson's honesty based on what he admitted and said under oath, not what he's claiming under fire.

Carlson should understand that saying things don’t make them true. Proof is required. And the best proof is one's personal actions. His actions show that he has acted and still acts recklessly, callously and deceitfully in clergy sex cases, while saying almost all of the right things in public.

Carlson says that in 1980, he wrote “This behavior cannot be tolerated” in a memo referencing a priest’s abusive actions.

So? I can write “Domestic violence cannot be tolerated” all day long. But if I refuse to call police when my buddies beat their wives, I'm dead wrong.

Carlson says he's a “leader” in the church on abuse. So? Where's the evidence?

One bishop has lobbied against archaic, predator-friendly abuse laws. Not him.

Some bishops have put SNAP members on their local abuse review boards. Not him.

Some bishops have released victims from their gag orders. Not him.

Some bishops have publicly denounced their complicit colleagues. Not him.

Thirty bishops have posted predators' names on their websites. Not him.

We could go on and on and on. We see no evidence whatsoever that he's any kind of “leader” in the church on abuse. We challenge him to produce such evidence. 

And we challenge him to a public debate or discussion about his records on clergy child sex abuse and cover up cases. 

Carlson SHOULD be a leader. He's dealt with abuse cases earlier and longer than perhaps 90% of his brother bishops. That's because victims in Minnesota were among the very first in the U.S. to step forward, expose predators, protect kids and file lawsuits in the U.S. 

So Carlson has had more opportunities to reform the tired, predictable, hurtful and self-destructive patterns that nearly every bishop has followed in abuse and cover-up cases: deny, dodge, minimize, blame, and hide behind lawyers and public relations experts while exploiting every legal technicality possible to deny victims their day in court and keep their cover ups covered up. 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])


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