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SNAP Media Events

Thurs. 5/16, 1pm KC MO presser-New abuse suit filed v. Christian boarding school

Unprecedented abuse suit filed vs. Christian boarding school

Case charges ‘faith-based’ institution ‘brainwashed’ vulnerable teen

It’s filed under new federal law that’s “a big help to sex trafficking victims

Prominent survivor who sued her parents to speak; they face felony charges

SNAP: “But time is running out for MO lawmakers to safeguard children

Group wants more & tougher regulation of controversial ‘faith-based’ facilities

Legislative session ends Friday; No progress yet on protecting kids,’ they say

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child abuse victims will

---disclose and praise a new, barely-noticed federal law that will help abuse and trafficking victims,  

---announce the filing of an unusual civil child sex abuse suit against a Christian boarding school,

---blast Missouri’s attorney general for “doing virtually nothing” to protect boarding school kids and

---beg lawmakers to do so in the waning hours of the legislative session.

WHEN

Thursday May 16 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk just south of the Charles E. Whittaker US Federal Courthouse, 400 E. 9th St., corner of Oak, (in Ilus Davis Park) in Kansas City, MO

WHO

Two-three abuse victims including

--A nationally-known survivor, activist and whistleblower who sued her parents for abusing kids at a Christian reform school who has been profiled in national media including Dateline, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Dr. Oz and an Amazon Prime documentary and numerous media outlets), and

--a St. Louis man who for 30 years headed SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests


Boarding school abuse victims news conf – 11:15am, Wed 5/15 in Jeff City MO

Prominent boarding school abuse victim speaks out

She sued her parents; They now face 100+ felony charges

Now, she blasts AG for “insulting letter & endangering kids

Group to Bailey: "Hold zoom meeting with suffering survivors"

In last minute plea, they call on lawmakers to strengthen child safety laws

WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference, a nationally-known survivor, activist and whistleblower will discuss

--startling new revelations that a Missouri sheriff dealt with at least 15 run-away teens – including two just last Saturday – from a Christian boarding school over the past three years,

-- the upcoming criminal trial of her parents on 100+ felony abuse charges stemming from their years-long severe mistreatment of kids at their boarding school, and

-- her just-resolved unusual civil lawsuit against her mom and dad.

Holding signs and childhood photos, she and other abuse survivors will also reveal a “terse and insulting” letter they recently received from Missouri’s attorney general, and hand-deliver a harshly critical letter to him urging him to

--“stop making excuses and start taking action against these controversial, private, largely unregulated ‘faith-based’ boarding schools," and

--hold a Zoom call soon with dozens of victims to "hear their pain and hopefully become more motivated to protect youngsters in these settings.”

In the waning days of the legislative sessions, they will also beg lawmakers to enact measures to

--impose stricter regulations on these "private, secretive and troubling so-called ‘reform schools’" and

--reform Missouri’s ‘archaic and arbitrary’ laws that protect child predators and their supervisors.

WHEN

Wednesday, May 15 at 11:15 a.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside the Missouri Attorney General's office, 207 W. High Street (between Broadway and Washington) in Jefferson City

WHO

A nationally-known survivor and activist who helped persuade prosecutors to file charges against her parents for abusing kids at their reform school and a St. Louis child sex abuse victim who for 30 years headed SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)


Tues 5/14/2024 Springfield MO news conference

Victims of boarding school abuse speak out

They allege ‘horrific mistreatment’ at Stockton ‘school

Crucial criminal trial against two owners is set to  start this fall

Survivors beg MO AG to act on growing scandal & meet them on Zoom

Group also asks lawmakers to reform MO's ‘hurtful’ child sex suit deadline


WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child abuse victims and their supporters will

--urge ‘witnesses, whistleblowers and other victims’ of abuse at a now-shuttered southwest Missouri ‘faith-based’ boarding school to contact law enforcement soon, before a crucial criminal trial begins this fall,

--speak publicly for the first time about the horrific experiences (including sexual, physical, emotional and educational abuse) they suffered at two controversial and barely regulated similar facilities in southern Missouri,

--blast Attorney General Andrew Bailey for essentially ignoring a letter they hand-delivered to his office last month which urged him to take three steps to protect kids at these institutions, and

--beg him to meet with and listen to them in a Zoom meeting so he’ll understand their pain.

They will also

--prod lawmakers, in the waning days of this legislative session (which ends Friday) to reform Missouri’s ‘archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly’ statute of limitations on child sexual abuse, and

----urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse at any facilities like these to contact “independent sources of help, like police, prosecutors, therapists, attorneys, loved ones and support groups.”

WHEN

Tuesday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside the federal courthouse at 222 S. John Q. Hammons Pkwy (between Broadway and Washington) in Springfield MO

WHO

Three women who were sent to these facilities as youngsters and were severely mistreated at a southwest Missouri ‘faith-based’ boarding school.

One is Amanda Householder, a nationally-known survivor, activist and whistleblower who, in a highly unusual move, sued her parents for severely abusing purportedly ‘troubled kids’ at the two now-shuttered Christian reform schools they ran for years. The couple face a trial this fall on 100+ felony charges. (Amanda’s experiences have been profiled on Dateline, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Dr. Oz and an Amazon Prime documentary and numerous media outlets.)

Joining them will be a St. Louis child sex abuse victim (and Drury College grad) who for 30 years headed SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests


Boarding school abuse victims presser in St. Louis MONDAY May 13

High profile victim settles unusual lawsuit vs. her parents

She also starts new group for boarding school survivors

She & others blast Missouri politicians including legislators

AG ‘ignored our plea’ last month & should ‘do Zoom call with us,’ they say

Activists also target St. Chas. politician who ‘is trying to take us backwards

SNAP: He seeks ‘special, dangerous privileges’ for these controversial facilities

WHAT

A nationally-known survivor, activist and whistleblower will

--disclose the settlement of her highly unusual civil lawsuit against her parents and

--discuss the upcoming criminal trial of her mom and dad on 100+ felony charges stemming from their severe and years-long abuse of kids at a now-shuttered Christian boarding school south of St. Louis.

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, she and other survivors of abuse in religious settings will also

--announce the formation of a new non-profit support & advocacy group for adults who suffered sexual, physical, emotional, and educational abuse in ‘faith-based’ boarding/reform schools,

--disclose what they call a ‘callous & insulting’ recent letter from Missouri’s Attorney General,

--hand deliver a letter urging the AG to hold a Zoom call with other abuse victims, and

--blast a St. Charles state representative who’s pushing a bill that they say increases the risk of abuse by reducing the recently-enacted ‘bare-bones’ state oversight of these mostly for-profit facilities.

WHEN

Monday, May 13 at 11:15 a.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside MO AG Andrew Bailey’s office in the Wainwright Building, 709 Chestnut Street (corner of 7th) in downtown St. Louis


WHO

Three-four abuse victims including Amanda Householder (whose experiences have been profiled on Dateline, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Dr. Oz, and an Amazon Prime documentary), two local men, one who’s a Protestant victim and whistleblower and another who for 30 years headed SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)


Abuse victims to hold 4 news conferences in MO next week

Abuse victims launch four day, four city MO "outreach effort"

They start group for those hurt in Christian boarding schools

“AG & other officials must act now to protect vulnerable kids,” they say

Two survivors of childhood abuse will crisscross Missouri next week in what they’re calling "an outreach and education effort" to "help expose crimes against kids" in Christian boarding schools and prod officials to take immediate steps to "prevent more devastating harm to extremely vulnerable girls and boys."

They are:

--Amanda Householder of California, a nationally-known survivor, activist, and whistleblower who, in a highly unusual civil lawsuit, sued her parents for severely abusing purportedly ‘troubled kids’ at the two now-shuttered Christian reform/boarding schools they ran in southern Missouri for years. The couple face a trial this fall on 100+ felony charges. (Amanda’s experiences have been profiled on Dateline, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Dr. Oz and an Amazon Prime documentary and numerous media outlets), and

--David Clohessy of St. Louis, the former long-time national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. (As a youngster, he and three of his brothers were sexually violated by a mid-Missouri priest.)

The events kick off on Monday, May 13 in St. Louis. The two, sometimes joined by other survivors and supporters, will also hold news conferences in Springfield on Tuesday, Jefferson City on Wednesday and Kansas City on Thursday.


UPDATED: SNAP press event Monday, April 22, 2024, at 10:00 am. in San Juan, Texas

SNAP & CALL TO ACTION stand with RGV survivors of clergy sexual abuse

The two groups urge all victims to come forward and find help

Remember: law enforcement reports can help ensure what you endured never happens to another

Statement from Brownsville Diocese survivor will also be shared at press event

Victim encourages others to share their truth: “We all deserve support”

WHAT: Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and a Catholic advocacy group, Call to Action, will read a statement by a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in the RGV. The groups will also provide context as to why victims should be believed, and why they often delay coming forward.

WHEN: Monday, April 22, 2024, at 10:00 am.

WHERE: Outside the Basilica de San Juan, 400 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd, San Juan, Texas. We will be meeting on the public sidewalk on the west side of the Basilica. Enter the address 700 Oblate Street for GPS directions.

WHO: 3-5 victims, advocates and supporters, including David Saavedra, a McAllen counselor and advocate with Call to Action, and Patti Koo, SNAP San Antonio leader and survivor of adult abuse in McAllen, Texas, by a clergy/counselor.

WHY: We are gathering to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse and to educate the public on the importance of believing and supporting survivors, especially in a culture that often prizes a Church’s or a family’s “reputation” over the safety and well-being of its members. Not believing or supporting victims re-traumatizes them and hinders both their coming forward and their healing. We will stand in support of survivors. We believe them and we thank them for speaking out to ensure the safety of others. Victims deserve to live a full life, as they often speak of their childhoods being stolen by the one who abused them. If you, or someone you know has been abused by clergy or others, please reach out to SNAP and other support services. Survivors are also encouraged to report any abuse to law enforcement directly, instead of relying on the Diocese to pass along their truth. 


Abuse victims presser MONDAY 11:15 am (4/15) in Jeff City MO

Victims beg MO AG to intervene in growing scandal

Four Christian boarding schools now face abuse reports

SNAP to Bailey: “Investigate, warn parents & prod local prosecutors

Group also asks lawmakers to reform MO's 'predator-friendly statute of limitations'

WHAT
At a sidewalk news conference - with signs and childhood photos - child sex abuse victims and their supporters will

--hand-deliver a letter to Missouri's attorney general – signed by seven victims - urging him to investigate and warn the public about recent reports of abuse at largely unregulated ‘faith-based’ boarding schools in Missouri,

--urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse there to come forward, and

--beg lawmakers to reform Missouri’s ‘archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly’ statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.

They will also testify at a legislative hearing in the afternoon and ask legislators to reform outdated child safety laws and give more abuse victims the chance to expose their predators in court.

WHEN
Monday, April 15 at 11:15 a.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Missouri Attorney General's office, 207 W. High Street (between Broadway and Washington) in Jefferson City


Clergy abuse victims leafletting & news conf Wed 3/20 @ 1:00 p.m. in Alton

 

Victims to leaflet church where accused priest was ousted

 

With little attention, cleric was suspended 6 months ago

 

A 2nd predator priest, now deceased, also worked there

 

SNAP: ‘Bishop must do outreach to seek others in pain

 

WHAT

Six months ago, a priest was quietly suspended after being accused of sexually abusing a child. Clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hold a brief sidewalk news conference and then leaflet around a Catholic parish and school where he worked and reportedly molested.

WHEN

Wednesday, March 20 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE

Outside Immaculate Conception-St. Mary's Church, 519 East 4th Street in Alton, IL (618 465 4284)


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Media Statements

Watchdog groups respond to new revelations of two accused sexual predators in Cleveland parishes

Watchdog groups respond to new revelations of two accused sexual predators in Cleveland parishes
 
They ask: How many other sex offenders are active in the diocese?
 
In a letter to Bishop Malesic, they express concern about his “carelessness” and urge him to take immediate action
 
For Immediate Release, May 10, 2024
 
In the wake of revelations yesterday that two accused sexual predators are helping to lead Mass in Cleveland parishes, two watchdog groups are calling on Bishop Edward Malesic to act immediately to identify and remove all other diocesan personnel who might pose a risk to children and young people.
 
Calling the news “alarming,” a co-director of BishopAccountability.org and a longtime Ohio leader of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are urging Malesic to take “personal responsibility” for ensuring that only adults with clean records work at his parishes, schools, hospitals, and summer camps.
 
In the last 24 hours, the public has learned of two accused sexual abusers serving in leadership posts in Cleveland parishes.
 
  • A Cleveland news station revealed yesterday that at St. Thomas More in Brooklyn OH, the man leading the parish in song on many Sundays for the last year is, shockingly, listed on the state’s sex offender registry. He recently served a year in prison for attempted sexual contact with a child.
    Exclusive: Sex offender allowed to help lead CLE Catholic church masses, Channel 5 News, 5/9/2024

  • And a national Catholic newspaper reported Thursday that Rev. Jeffrey Weaver, a priest accused by a diocesan official in the 1990s of sexually exploiting a teenager, has been presiding at the Latin Mass at St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish in Cleveland.

    Cleveland priest at center of Vatican II altar damage previously accused of abuse, National Catholic Reporter, 5/9/2024

Catholic priest arrested in Texas; SNAP reacts

Credit: Garland Police Department

For Immediate Release:  May 7, 2024

Police in Garland, Texas, said today in a news release that they had arrested a priest from the Catholic Diocese of Dallas on two felony counts of indecency with a child. We are grateful that law enforcement has charged the clergyman. However, we are concerned that there may be other victims and we urge the Diocese to do outreach. 

The Diocese of Dallas said that it was made aware last week of accusations that Fr. Ricardo Reyes Mata inappropriately touched a juvenile girl at a residence in Garland. According to the Diocese’s statement, Church officials immediately filed a report with Child Protective Services and law enforcement. Fr. Mata was also removed from public ministry.

We commend the Diocese for this appropriate response. However, we also believe that this arrest shows us once again that the persistent claims from Church officials that the abuse scandal is a thing of the past are simply not true. Each month we read, on average, of at least two news reports about the arrest of Catholic clerics or staffers for sexual abuse or misconduct. This disturbing news from Texas reaffirms that clergy sexual abuse is still very much a thing of the present.

Moreover, Fr. Mata was only ordained in 2022. The priest was appointed Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas in July of 2023. He also worked as the Parochial Vicar of St. Jude Parish in Allen and was the Chaplain at Bishop Dunne High School.

We feel it is incumbent upon Bishop Edward J. Burns to announce this arrest in every place that Fr. Mata was assigned either as a cleric or a seminarian, and to beg anyone who may have experienced, witnessed, or suspected abuse to contact the Garland Police Department at 972-485-4840.

It can take victims decades to acknowledge their abuse and find the courage to come forward. However, the fact that one survivor has already been identified, may help to shorten this process.

In the meantime, it is important to recognize that rules and regulations do not protect children, and that there is no effective protocol to screen for potential offenders. Parishioners and the public need to be aware of these facts, and remain alert for signs that a child is being groomed or harmed.

CONTACT: Melanie Sakoda, Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


Diocese of Kalamazoo provides list of those “disqualified from working with kids,” survivors’ group wants more information posted

For immediate release: April 19, 2024

The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo recently released a list of names of those “disqualified from working with kids.” While information like this is always welcome, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hopes that additional information will be added to the list soon.

It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering alone and in silence. Seeing that they are not the only one helps victims heal, and could also encourage others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.

So, we are grateful that Bishop Edward Lohse finally published a list. However, traditionally the lists of Catholic dioceses have provided information about clergy, and sometimes other individuals, who have been “credibly accused” of the crimes of child sexual abuse and/or child pornography. The other categories for removal Bishop Lohse identified: continued violations of a child-protection policy after warnings, failing as a mandated reporter to report allegations of abuse of children, failing to act to prevent abuse that they knew to be happening, and physical abuse of children, are likely laudable additions that will help protect boys and girls from suffering childhood trauma.

Yet, we cannot help by worry that is all too easy for the parishioners and the public to assume that the clergy, or even the non-clergy on the list, did not commit life-changing and heinous crimes. Thus, we believe that it is extremely important for Bishop Lohse to identify which people fall into which of categories.


Agreement between the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the New York Attorney General reached; SNAP reacts

For immediate release: April 17, 2024

An independent monitor will oversee the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s handling of sexual abuse accusations under a settlement reached with the New York Attorney General. Although we hope that this solution will help to hold Church officials accountable, we worry that a deal like this may sound good on paper, but end up ineffective in reality.

The Attorney General’s office began investigating eight of New York’s Catholic dioceses in September, 2018. Today, AG Letitia James announced an agreement with Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan for independent oversight of abuse accusations in the Diocese.

Interventions by secular officials can provide a welcome change to “business as usual.” However, it is important to remember that the Catholic hierarchy has enabled, denied, ignored, and concealed heinous crimes against children for decades. Also, the Brooklyn Diocese, like all Catholic dioceses, is run by a man who truly answers only to the Pope. Church hierarchs are almost never defrocked, demoted, or even disciplined, no matter how poorly they handle abuse and cover-ups. Sadly, no agreement between an Attorney General and a Church official will ever change this unhealthy dynamic. 


SNAP to MO AG: Investigate boarding schools!

April 15, 2024

Dear Attorney General Bailey:

As Missouri’s top law enforcement official, we feel strongly that you can no longer ignore the growing crisis involving kids in the essentially unregulated, mostly for-profit, purportedly religious boarding ‘schools’ where dozens of vulnerable kids have been – and likely still are being – abused.

Crisis is not an exaggeration given the recent disturbing disclosures of known and suspected child sex crimes that have surfaced at facilities like Agape School in Stockton, Lighthouse Academy in Piedmont, Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in Humansville and Kanakuk Kamps in Branson.

Ample evidence already exists in the public record that these institutions lack oversight and sometimes attract predators who hurt kids and supervisors who ignore or hide suspicious or criminal acts.


Another Brownsville priest accused of child sexual abuse; SNAP again urges outreach

For immediate release, April 8, 2024

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, has been removed from ministry in the wake of an accusation of child sexual abuse. This is the second cleric in the Diocese, that we know of, to be accused this year. The other clergyman was arrested in February.

At the time of the arrest, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, urged the Bishop to do immediate outreach to beg other victims and witnesses to report to law enforcement. We renew our plea as this second case is being investigated by the Diocesan Review Board.

Brownsville Bishop Daniel E. Flores received notification on March 15th that Msgr. Gustavo Barrera had been accused of a child sex crime. The priest denied the claim, but submitted his resignation and retirement as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in McAllen, and the Bishop accepted this resignation on March 23rd. However, the accusation was not made public until April 3rd.


SNAP stands in solidarity with excommunicated father; says actions of Louisiana bishop will discourage victims from coming forward

For immediate release: March 25, 2024

A Louisiana man, who worked as a Catholic deacon and whose son was sexually assaulted by his priest as a child, has been excommunicated by his former bishop. As far as SNAP can tell, no perpetrator has ever faced this harsh ecclesiastical penalty. We call on the faithful who are appalled by this action to contact the bishop and express their dismay.

Scott Peyton’s excommunication from the Church on March 13, 2024, at the hands of Diocese of Lafayette Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, seems to us to be vindictive, unnecessary, and likely to have a chilling effect on those victims and their families who are also believers. While Scott had worked as a deacon in the Diocese alongside his son Oliver’s abuser, Fr. Michael Guidry, Scott had already stepped away from this position in December, telling the Bishop at the same time that he and his family had moved on to another faith community.

We cannot help but consider that the true motive for this excommunication was to discourage victims and their families who are also still practicing Catholics from coming forward in the future. Many of the faithful believe that those who are excommunicated die in a state of sin, and consequently are condemned to hell. Fear of incurring this same penalty would certainly be a powerful deterrent to those who still want to be a part of the Church to stay silent.

Bishop Deshotel was also behind the recently successful appeal to overturn the state’s three-year lookback window. That action too is likely to discourage all Catholic victims, not just those who wish to remain communicants, from coming forward.

Yet exposing hidden predators and their enablers will help to safeguard children today and in the future. Moreover, the publication of perpetrator names can also be the first step to healing for those still suffering alone and in silence from their abuse.  

While the Catholic Church claimed in 2002 to be turning over a new leaf, welcoming the reports of survivors and their families and promising not to hide perpetrators, Bishop Deshotel’s intimidation tactics and hypocrisy gives the lie to those claims, in our opinion. We think it is long past time to push back.

As Scott’s case illustrates, even the children of those who work hard to support the mission of the Church can be subjected to the trauma of child sexual abuse, which has life-long consequences. Moreover, while the abusers apparently continue to enjoy protection from Catholic officials, those who speak truth to power seem likely to find themselves punished.

If you too find this state of affairs intolerable, please let Bishop Deshotel know how you feel. Let him know in no uncertain terms that his tactics will not prevent anyone from speaking out to protect children.

Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel

1408 Carmel Drive
Lafayette LA 70501
337-261-5614

[email protected]

CONTACT: Curtis Garrison, SNAP Louisiana and SOSCSA.org ([email protected]214-808-2878), Melanie Sakoda, Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP 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 more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


Louisiana Supreme Court strikes down lookback window for CSA survivors; SNAP urges action in response

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2024 

On March 22, 2024, the Louisiana Supreme Court, in a 4-3 split decision, overturned the three-year window that allowed child sex abuse victims to sue their abusers and the institutions that shielded the perpetrators, even if the statute of limitations had run out on their claims. The majority of the high court said that the lookback law was “unconstitutional.” SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, calls on all Louisiana survivors, their family members, and those who support them, to raise their voices in protest.

Our hearts go out to the devastated victims, many of whom have waited for decades to expose their abusers as well as the groups that protected the perpetrators. Delayed disclosure of child sexual abuse is the rule. Trauma-informed experts say more survivors disclose between the ages of 50-70 compared to any other age group. When archaic laws limiting victims’ access to the courts are overturned or lifted for a time, communities are safer. Knowledge about who the hidden predators and their enablers are not only helps to safeguard today’s children, the exposure of perpetrator names can also be the first step to healing for those still suffering alone and in silence.  

The Louisiana Supreme court justices overturned a law passed by a unanimous legislature, and signed by then governor John Bel Edwards, who was supported by then attorney general and current governor Jeff Landry. All of these Louisiana officials viewed the window as constitutional. The will of the people of the state was thwarted by four men. We wonder if their actions might be considered “exceptional circumstances” that would allow for their removal or impeachment?

Four Louisiana supreme court justices – James Genovese, Scott Crichton, Jeff Hughes and Piper Griffin – agreed that the “lookback window” law was unconstitutional. The majority opinion, written by Justice Genovese, said reviving old sexual abuse claims violated the “due-process rights” of accused abusers and their enablers. The other three Justices, William Crain, Jay McCallum and John Weimer, the Court’s Chief Justice, disagreed. Justice Crain wrote in the minority opinion that “[T]he forum for this debate is the legislature, not this court. The legislature had that debate and – without a single dissenting vote – abolished the procedural bar and restored plaintiffs’ right to sue.”

It seems sad to us that there does not seem to have been any discussion of whether or not the constitution might also value the lives of innocent Louisiana children over “due process.” Whether or not overruling 200 elected officials are “exceptional circumstances,” we have set up a petition people can express their displeasure with this unconscionable decision to ignore the rights of boys and girls to grow up without experiencing the life-long trauma of child sexual abuse.

If nothing else, we would like to make our anger over this ruling heard loud and clear. Please sign our petition [need link to petition], and then share your support with your contacts, and on social media. Stand with us and shout out that it is more important to protect children, then to shield those who abuse them or allow them to be assaulted from the consequences of their actions.

CONTACT: Curtis Garrison, SNAP Louisiana and SOSCSA.org ([email protected], 214-808-2878), Melanie Sakoda, Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP 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 more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


Papal Visit To Papua New Guinea Highlights Catholic Church’s Child Sexual Abuse Scandal

The upcoming visit to Papua New Guinea by Pope Francis highlights the practice of Catholic Church leaders sending child sexual predators to work among vulnerable people in the developing world, according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP Oceania).

SNAP was referring to the upcoming papal visit to PNG in August this year, and a report by New Zealand’s Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, “Stolen Lives, Marked Souls,” and the Final Report of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The New Zealand inquiry into the Order of the Brothers of St John of God at Marylands School and Hebron Trust, Christchurch, recognised that members of St John of God were sent from Australia and New Zealand to Papua New Guinea. “Stolen Lives, Marked Souls,” July 2023 stated: “The practice of regularly relocating brothers, whether because of abuse or for other reasons, contributed to much higher levels of offending than would otherwise have been the case.”


Diocese of Nashville sat on accusations against child rapist; SNAP says parishioners should be angry

For immediate release: March 21, 2024

Once again, Catholic officials appear to have been caught endangering children. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), believes that the faithful should be concerned that such behavior apparently still continues despite the promises of 2002.

In February of 2022, Michael Lewis pleaded guilty to four counts of statutory rape for assaulting a student at St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Murfreesboro. The assaults began in 2014 when Lewis was the 36-year-old director of religious studies at the school and the girl, “Jane Doe,” was a 13-year-old eighth grader. The abuse continued until the fall of 2016.  Lewis was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his crimes.

Disturbingly, documents recently unsealed in the lawsuit filed by Jane Doe against the Diocese of Nashville appear to show that the Diocese was warned as early as 2008 that Lewis posed a risk to young girls. SNAP thinks that prudent people should ask “If Nashville Catholic officials hid accusations against a layman in 2008, what information about abusive clergy might they be sitting on?”


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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).

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