New Report Released into Archdiocese of New York, SNAP Responds
The Archdiocese of New York today released the results of an “independent” investigation into their policies and procedures. While this report is ostensibly an attempt at transparency, it really feels like another move by church officials to handle allegations of abuse in house.
It is good that Judge Jones feels confident in her assessment and we truly hope that she did receive full access to personnel files, including those within the “bishops archives.” However, just last year in Buffalo another church official in New York claimed to have released all his information, too, and it was only thanks to a brave whistleblower that we learned that this was not the case. We hope that this is not the case in New York City.
In terms of Judge Jones’ recommendations, it is distressing to learn that reports of “sexual abuse from non-consenting adults” – carefully sanitized language for the crime of rape – or allegations of abuse by church staff or volunteers are not already included in the Archdiocese’s reporting requirements. These are obvious crimes that should be reported, and it is disappointing that it took a legal review by a judge in 2019 to make this plain. To us, someone who is in “full compliance” with the charter would already have gone the extra mile to include these crimes underneath the “zero-tolerance” umbrella.
We are glad that the judge has found that all allegations of child sexual abuse are promptly reported to the appropriate district attorney. Law enforcement professionals are better able to determine the validity of a claim than untrained laity. This is why we encourage all victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to report to police first, before going to the Church. Internal processes are no replacement for investigations by police and prosecutors.
According to the “best of Judge Jones’ knowledge,” Cardinal Dolan has been transparent with her efforts. We believe that if this transparency is genuine, Cardinal Dolan should be equally interested in working alongside New York Attorney General Letitia James and should allow her office to undertake an investigation as well, this time aided by subpoena power and the ability to compel testimony under oath. We hope that Cardinal Dolan – alongside the public and parishioners – will reach out to A.G. James and express interest in an investigation today.
CONTACT: Brian Toale, SNAP Manhattan (firstname.lastname@example.org, 646-657-9278), Janet Klinger, SNAP Plainview (email@example.com, 516-749-3798), Mary McKenna, SNAP Bellmore (firstname.lastname@example.org, 516-781-2192), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, email@example.com)
(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)