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SNAP Shares Letter to Archbishop Cordileone and list of 312 accused clergymen, brothers and laity with connections to the Archdiocese of San Francisco

September 29, 2022 SNAP Communication Manager- Mike McDonnell SNAP's researched list of accused- ***Click here to view the list of 312 clergymen, brothers, and laity accused of abuse and who have a connection to the Archdiocese of San Francisco*** SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, will be hand delivering a letter to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, again urging him to release a list of those accused of sexual abuse in his archdiocese -- including those names still concealed in the Archdioceses' secret archives -- as most of his peers have done. At the same time, the gathered survivors and advocates will hand him their own list of 312 clergymen, brothers, and laity who have been publicly accused of abuse and who have a connection to the Archdiocese.   Archbishop Cordileone never responded to earlier suggestions from the survivors' group for him to release his own list. For example, in early 2021, SNAP wrote concerning the lack of a San Francisco list, "Archbishop Cordileone has affirmed that victims need compassion and that the San Francisco Archdiocese stands willing to help them, but he has consistently refused to take this simple step that will both help survivors and their families heal as well as keep today's children safe." SNAP did extensive research to identify the 312 perpetrators on their list through information from media reports, civil lawsuits, criminal proceedings, and the Catholic Church itself. This task could have been completed with greater ease and with more detail by Archdiocesan officials. However, while the Dallas Charter promised the faithful openness and transparency, the survivors' group maintains that it has seen little of either from the Archdiocese, which is why they embarked on this project. SNAP hopes that their list of accused will spur Archbishop Cordileone to release his own list. The group also hopes that the Archdiocesan effort will include work histories and photos of the accused, as well as details on when each and every allegation was received and what actions Church officials took in response. SNAP believes that such a list would truly be a step towards openness and transparency. But whether or not the Archbishop finally takes action, SNAP wants survivors of abuse in the Archdiocese to find comfort in their list, and perhaps even be inspired to come forward and report their own assaults directly to law enforcement. At the press conference, the survivors and advocates will also address why these lists are important to survivor healing and public safety, the closing California civil window for child sex abuse victims, the California civil window opening in 2023 for survivors of abuse as adults, as well as sharing the insights discerned through the development of their own list. In addition, SNAP will have a Catholic whistle-blower priest who was recently defrocked for supporting survivors to address those gathered. CONTACT:  Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP Northern California ([email protected], 925-262-3699), Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento ([email protected], 530-908-3676), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)                                                                                               ###

SNAP Media Events

SNAP will share a list of 312 men publicly accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of San Francisco

(For Immediate Release September 28, 2022) 

 

At a sidewalk press conference outside the Cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco, SNAP will share a list of 312 men publicly accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese

The survivors and advocates gathered will then walk the names and a letter over to the office of the Archbishop

San Francisco is one of the few dioceses in the country who have yet to release their own names, and SNAP wants the Archbishop to remedy this

 

WHEN

Thursday, September 29, 2022, 1:00 pm

WHERE

On the public sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, 1111 Gough Street (on the Geary Street side of the complex)

WHO

Five to six survivors of clergy abuse, supporters, and advocates who are affiliated with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

WHY

The Archdiocese of San Francisco is one of the few dioceses in the United States that has yet to release its own list of accused. SNAP wants Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to remedy this and hopes that their letter to him, along with their list of 312 men who have been accused of abuse, will finally spur the Archbishop to take this important action.

DETAILS

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, will be hand delivering a letter to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, again urging him to release a list of those accused of sexual abuse in his archdiocese -- including those names still concealed in the Archdioceses' secret archives -- as most of his peers have done. At the same time, the gathered survivors and advocates will hand him their own list of 312 clergymen, brothers, and laity who have been publicly accused of abuse and who have a connection to the Archdiocese.  

 

Archbishop Cordileone never responded to earlier suggestions from the survivors' group for him to release his own list. For example, in early 2021, SNAP wrote concerning the lack of a San Francisco list, "Archbishop Cordileone has affirmed that victims need compassion and that the San Francisco Archdiocese stands willing to help them, but he has consistently refused to take this simple step that will both help survivors and their families heal as well as keep today's children safe."

SNAP did extensive research to identify the 312 perpetrators on their list through information from media reports, civil lawsuits, criminal proceedings, and the Catholic Church itself. This task could have been completed with greater ease and with more detail by Archdiocesan officials. However, while the Dallas Charter promised the faithful openness and transparency, the survivors' group maintains that it has seen little of either from the Archdiocese, which is why they embarked on this project.

SNAP hopes that their list of accused will spur Archbishop Cordileone to release his own list. The group also hopes that the Archdiocesan effort will include work histories and photos of the accused, as well as details on when each and every allegation was received and what actions Church officials took in response. SNAP believes that such a list would truly be a step towards openness and transparency.

But whether or not the Archbishop finally takes action, SNAP wants survivors of abuse in the Archdiocese to find comfort in their list, and perhaps even be inspired to come forward and report their own assaults directly to law enforcement.

At the press conference, the survivors and advocates will also address why these lists are important to survivor healing and public safety, the closing California civil window for child sex abuse victims, the California civil window opening in 2023 for survivors of abuse as adults, as well as sharing the insights discerned through the development of their own list. In addition, SNAP will have a Catholic whistle-blower priest who was recently defrocked for supporting survivors to address those gathered.


CONTACT:  Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP Northern California ([email protected], 925-262-3699), Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento ([email protected], 530-908-3676), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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A public funeral for Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza rubs salt into the wounds of local victims

(For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 28, 2022)


Survivors cannot forget the Archbishop’s poor handling of sexual abuse allegations against clergy


WHEN

Thursday, September 29, 2022, 1:00pm

WHERE

On the public sidewalk outside the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston, Texas

WHO

Several members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, victims of abuse from other Texas institutions, and supporters

WHY

 At a sidewalk news conference in front of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, survivors, and supporters will remind the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston that a public funeral with full honors for Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza rubs salt into the already painful wounds of those who suffered clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese. Archbishop Fiorenza disregarded and minimized some of the worst crimes of sexual assault committed against children when he was at the helm of the Archdiocese.

DETAILS

Survivors of clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are appalled that Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza is being given a public funeral with full honors. The victims say that the Archbishop covered up clergy sex crimes during his tenure as leader of the Archdiocese and that this rite rubs salt into their already painful wounds. 

For instance, in 1992 Archbishop Fiorenza sent Father Manuel La Rosa Lopez for “examination” following a young boy’s accusation of sexual abuse. Under the Archbishop's watch, Father Lopez was returned to ministry the following year and worked for another 26 years. The priest was finally convicted and sentenced to prison in 2020. As far as SNAP can tell, Father Lopez has yet to be defrocked.

In another mishandled case, in 2003, the Archbishop wrote to a victim of Father John Keller saying the priest denied the abuse “but acknowledged he ‘crossed a proper boundary by holding you in a manner inappropriate for a priest.’" Years later, the Archdiocese turned over two complaints against the priest to law enforcement. After being allowed by Archbishop Fiorenza to continue in ministry for another 16 years, Father Keller has not been returned to ministry since the two complaints were turned over to Houston police in 2019.


CONTACT
Eduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Houston and Board Member ([email protected], 832-641-6319), Mike McDonnell, Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(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)


Abuse of Children in Protestant mission schools in Nigeria, West Africa

(For Immediate Release August 15, 2022) 

MEDIA ADVISORY – PRESS CONFERENCE – CHARLOTTE NC

RE: Abuse of Children in Protestant mission schools in Nigeria, West Africa

Abuse victims case is tossed out

But group hopes they will appeal soon

They also seek a federal DOJ investigation

Lawsuit targets Charlotte-based religious organization

It sends hundreds of Protestant missionaries all across the world

Handout given with pictures of victims & pictures of abusers named

Using chalk, victims will also write names of four predators on sidewalk

WHAT
Holding signs & enlarged childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and advocates will disclose that a Charlotte judge has just tossed out a civil suit against a Charlotte-based Protestant religious group. It was brought by six adults who were sexually violated as youngsters overseas by missionaries who are from - and in some cases, still live in - the US and Canada.

The victims will
--hand out pictures of at least four proven, admitted and/or credibly accused child molesting missionaries,
--call on the DOJ to launch a federal investigation into the missionary group (like the DOJ did last week with the Southern Baptist Convention) and

And they will urge 
--the victim plaintiffs to appeal the new decision against them,
--everyone who has seen, suspected or suffered sex crimes by US and Canadian missionaries to "come forward, get help, call law enforcement, expose child predators and deter church cover ups and contact independent and effective self-help organizations like theirs

WHEN
Monday, Aug. 15 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside of the Charles R. Jonas courthouse, 401 West Trade Street in downtown Charlotte NC 

WHO 
Three-four victims of clergy sexual abuse at the hands of clergy &/or religious officials who belong to SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and Missionary Kids Safety Net (MKSN). Both are 30 year old Chicago-based non-profits that work to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

WHY
The lawsuit was reported by Sara Coello of the Charlotte Observer on 8/1/22.

The primary defendant in the civil case is an interdenominational group called SIM USA.  Some of the alleged abuse happened at two Nigerian schools affiliated with SIM USA – Kent Academy in Miango and Hillcrest Academy in Jos. 

Lawyers for SIM USA claim that these schools are "separate," and "independently operated," which the victims dispute.

The ruling against the victims was handed down late last week by Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin.

The victims are represented by attorneys Boz Tchividijian of DeLand FL (386 682 5540, [email protected]), Peter Janci of Portland OR (888 407 0224, [email protected]) and the Lanier Law Group of North Carolina.


CONTACT 
Abuse victim Letta Cartlige 303 505 9141, Pastor Rich Darr of Missionary Kid Safety Net 815-370-4703, [email protected], David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]

 


Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has been investigating institutional child sexual abuse for almost 4 years

(For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 2, 2022)


Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has been investigating institutional child sexual abuse for
almost 4 years


Survivors call for the indictment of individuals who have abused children or covered up cases of
child abuse


Call for the release of the report before the new AG and lead investigator are replaced


Call for openness and transparency on the part of the OAG


WHEN

Tuesday, August 2, 2022, at 11:00 AM

WHERE

On the public sidewalk outside Maryland OAG office in Baltimore
(200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202)

WHO


Several members of the international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of
those Abused by Priests, victims of abuse from other Maryland institutions, and supporters.

WHY


At a sidewalk news conference in front of the Maryland AG’s office, survivors, and supporters
will call on the Maryland Attorney General, Brian Frosh and the lead investigator, Elizabeth
Embry, to hand down promised indictments concerning child sexual abuse in order to rid the
cities and towns of Maryland of abusers and their enablers. This will protect the children of
Maryland from further abuse. In addition, we will request that, prior to leaving their current
positions at the beginning of the year, Mr. Frosh and Ms. Embry release, at a minimum, a
preliminary report on their 4-year investigation into institutional abuse.

DETAILS


Nearly 4 years ago, following the release of the scathing PA grand jury report on abuse by the
Catholic Church, we sat down with representatives of the OAG’s office to brief them on the
workings of the Catholic dioceses represented in Maryland and to show them the level of abuse
known through public documentation at that time. The OAG promised that they would
thoroughly investigate this issue by contacting survivors and/or their families. They did inform
us at the time that their investigation would be silent. But that was 4 years ago and it took the
PA grand jury half that time to perform their investigation with more than twice as many
dioceses! They have contacted countless numbers of survivors over those 4 years and in the last
year have promised survivors that indictments would be coming in months. Other states have
been carrying on similar investigations and when they have enough evidence to indict an abuser,
they do so in order to make their state safer. We are afraid that the Maryland OAG is stringing
survivors along with no incentive to complete the investigation, allowing known abusers to run
free, and not calling institutions to account for covering up. See the recent article about two
survivors who have been interviewed by the OAG and are frustrated at the silence.

CONTACT
David Lorenz of Bowie, MD. SNAP Maryland Leader ( [email protected] , 301-906-9161,
Becky Ianni, SNAP DC Leader ( [email protected] , 703-801-6044), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP
Survivor Support Coordinator ( [email protected] , 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell,
SNAP Communications Manager ( [email protected] , 267- 261-0578), Zach Hiner,
SNAP Executive Director ( [email protected] , 517-974-9009


Survivors and Advocates Gather to bring attention to the Dark Chapters of Abuse within the Catholic Church

What: Demonstrators will demand that Catholic establishment use their power and influence to DO THE RIGHT THING!
● Demand full and complete list of ALL the names of accused clergy and laity from non-compliant diocese.
● Develop a National Database of abusive priests, foriegn and domestic, through the USCCB.
● Enforce a zero-tolerance policy for clergy and staff.
● Release records pertaining to abuse and cover-up.
● Comply with Attorneys Generals’ Investigations throughout the US.
● Hold bishops accountable.
● Protect whistleblowers.

Who: Survivors of clergy abuse and allies.

When: Saturday morning, July 30th, from 8:30a-10a, as top donors, political supporters, and clergy arrive for the day’s events.

Where: Outside Napa Institute Annual Conference, Napa, California.

 
CONTACT: Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento ([email protected], 530-908-3676), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Dan McNevin, SNAP Treasurer ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Joelle Casteix, SNAP California Media Contact ([email protected], 949-322-7434), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) 


Clergy Abuse Survivors Gather as Powerful New Documentary on Abuse within the Catholic Church Premieres

Media Advisory

(For Immediate Release June 16, 2022) 

Clergy Abuse Survivors Gather as Powerful New Documentary on Abuse within the Catholic Church Premieres

THE NEW RATLINE Exposes Ongoing Abuse and Cover-up in the United States and Abroad

“Immigrant women and children are being abused and silenced by the Catholic Church,” says SNAP

 

WHAT: Holding signs, childhood photos, and posters at a sidewalk press conference, survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their advocates will:

  • Share information regarding the case of Fr. Jesus Suarez and other cases of clergy abuse and cover-up that are contemporary with the cases explored in THE NEW RATLINE,
  • Draw attention to today’s premiere, and
  • Recognize the brave survivors and advocates who helped make this important documentary possible.

WHO: Several members of survivor support and advocacy group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Houston-area man who helped with the research for the film and other local California survivors of clergy abuse.

WHEN: Survivors and advocates will gather at 2 PM and the Press Conference will begin at 3 PM on Friday, June 17

WHERE: Outside the TCL Chinese Theater, 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood CA 90028

WHY: A powerful new documentary on clergy abuse and cover-up called THE NEW RATLINE is premiering at the Dances with Films festival, and survivors of clergy abuse and advocates are gathering to draw attention to the film, its premiere, and most importantly, the stories that the film details.

From Dogtooth productions, THE NEW RATLINE is “a relentless search into one of our generation’s greatest cover-ups” and tells the story of Fr. Jesus Suarez, a priest from Colombia who is accused of sexually abusing young girls in his home country before being brought to the US – apparently with the full knowledge of local Church leadership – where his crimes were brought to light. After Fr. Suarez fled, investigative journalist John Carlos Frey went to find him and hopefully bring his victims some sense of justice. THE NEW RATLINE is the story of those efforts.

“We are honored to have been able to work with John on this important film that tells a modern story of a problem that so many people think ended long ago,” said Eduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Board Member. “If we want to truly put a stop to this problem, we need more people to take the time to learn that it is still happening and that they can be a part of the solution.”

CONTACT: Eduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Houston ([email protected], 361-571-7106), John Carlos Frey ([email protected]), Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento Area Leader, ([email protected], 530-908-3676), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have upwards of 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org


Three-four adults who were sexually abused as kids and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

5th accuser names priest as predator in the 2000s

He's just filed a new civil abuse & cover-up lawsuit

Cleric IS ON THE JOB RIGHT NOW & never been suspended

SNAP: "Nowhere in the US have we seen such recklessness"

Victims beg archbishop “for kids' safety, oust the priest now”

Churchgoers should "stop donating & insist on explanations"

WHAT
Wearing masks and socially distancing while holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
---announce that fifth accuser has stepped forward to naming a currently-serving local pastor as a child molester,
---provide copies of a new child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the priest who is still a pastor now,
---beg St. Louis’ archbishop to immediately suspend the cleric, &
---beg Catholics to stop donating "until the archdiocese explains why they're violating church policy by never even suspending the cleric."

WHEN
Thursday, Feb. 10 at 1:15 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the “new” cathedral, 4431 Lindell Blvd, (corner of Newstead) in the Central West End in St. Louis

WHO
Three-four adults who were sexually abused as kids and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

SNAP and Child USAdvocacy will provide testimony to Nebraska State Legislature Judiciary Committee

 

(For Immediate Release January 20, 2022) 

Critical legislation that will better protect Nebraskan children and provide support for victims of sexual abuse will be heard during a meeting of the Nebraska State Judiciary Committee on Friday, January 21, 2022.

Sponsored by Sen. Rich Pahls, LB 833 is a bill that will repeal the statute of limitations for third parties in cases of sexual assault of a child.  To understand why this legislation is so important, look no further than this recent report by Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson, which detailed the stories of 258 victims of Child Sexual Assault committed by church officials alone. The saddest fact is that none of these cases could be prosecuted due to statute of limitations concerns. Even though the average age at which a survivor of child sexual assault comes forward is 52 years old, the Nebraska statute of limitations currently bars civil cases from being brought after a victim is 33 years old.

Fortunately, over the past three years, more than thirty states have reformed their statutes of limitation in cases of child sex crimes to be better in line with medical facts like delayed disclosure. Now, Nebraskans will have an opportunity of their own to start these important changes.

Kathryn Robb, Esq. of Child USAdvocacy, Debbie Dappen, local SNAP Leader and Shaun Dougherty, Board President from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) will be available to the media and can explain the importance of child sexual assault legislation in Nebraska along with and the broader national trend of repealing statutes of limitation on child sexual assault. Each individual can be available in the morning preceding the hearing. 

CONTACT:

Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (814-341-8386), [email protected], Debbie Dappen, SNAP Leader, [email protected], Kathryn Robb, Esq. (www.childusadvocacy.org), (781-856-7207),  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected] Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(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)


More Posts

Media Statements

Pastor of Holy Cross Parish and School in Garrett Park, Maryland Removed Due To Allegations Of Sexual Abuse

(For Immediate Release October 4, 2022)

 

According to a release by church officials, a Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Washington has been placed on leave following an accusation of sexual abuse of minors that is reported to have occurred in another diocese decades ago.  

As listed on the parish website, Cardinal Wuerl named Father Robert P. Buchmeier to work at Holy Cross Parish and School, Garrett Park, Maryland in 2015. Buchmeier also worked at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Clinton; St. Bernardine of Siena Parish, Suitland; Christ the King Parish, Silver Spring; St. Mary Parish, Bryantown; and St. John the Evangelist Parish, Clinton. Other work assignments include St. Nicholas Parish, Laurel, from 1998 to 2005; St. Columba Parish, Oxon Hill, from 2005 to 2011; and Sacred Heart Parish in La Plata from 2011. Buchmeier was ordained in 1991 after studying at John XXIII seminary for delayed vocations in Weston, Massachusetts.

Sadly, we are shocked at how quickly church officials point out that the allegation is from decades ago as if they are already dismissing the complaint. The average age for a survivor to come forward is 52. As time marches on, we will likely see more victims of clergy, religious and institutional abuse from the 1990s and 2000s, as they are finally ready to speak out. The standard narrative for diocesan statements often includes that the -clergy abuse crisis- is a thing of the past. We know that it is very much a thing of the present and the future, those victims who have yet to disclose their abuse, also hold the name of their abuser.

We now urge those with rank in Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. dioceses and employers of Buchmeier, since his vocation was delayed, to employ every resource at their disposal to notify the community, parents, and parishioners about the claims, as well as to encourage potential victims or witnesses to come forward and make a report to police and call the Alexandria Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division at 703-746-4444. We know that informed communities are safer communities, and we hope church officials take these steps immediately. 

Contact: David Lorenz, Maryland SNAP Leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161) Becky Ianni, Virginia State Leader SNAP (703-801-6044, [email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)  Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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Allegations Surface Against Chicago Area Priest

(For Immediate Release October 3, 2022)

 

Another allegation of sexual abuse has been levied against a Chicago area priest. We call for transparency from the Archdiocese of Chicago and hope that this news will encourage other survivors of sexual violence to come forward to seek healing and justice.

According to reports, a retired priest named Fr. John Clemens has been accused of sexual abuse in an incident from approximately 50 years ago. While news media covering this story have used that time frame to cast aspersions on the allegation, the reality is that this lapse in time from incident to report is well within the norm based on the scientific fact of delayed disclosure. It can take survivors decades to come forward and report abuse, and we believe this claim should be taken seriously and investigated fully.

To that point, we call on Church leaders in the Archdiocese of Chicago to clarify to whom they reported the allegation. In their statement, Catholic officials say they have reported the allegation to civil authorities, and based on their track record, we believe this likely means they reported the allegation to the Department of Children and Family Services. This is a creative dodge used by the Archdiocese to claim they reported abuse, but in reality, does nothing because DCFS does not investigate historical cases of abuse. This allegation should have been reported to the local police and district attorney’s office, and we call on Cardinal Blase Cupich to be clearer with his words regarding where and when this allegation was reported.

Finally, regardless of what actions the Church has taken, we know that the best way for survivors to heal and protect other children is to make their own reports to law enforcement. We hope that this story will encourage any still-suffering survivors in the Chicagoland area to talk with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist so that they can start healing and find ways to break their silence.

 

​CONTACT Larry Antonsen, SNAP Leader Chicago ([email protected], 773-255-3382) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)  Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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Pope Francis appoints ten new members to the Pontifical Commission for Minors

 (For Immediate Release October 3, 2022) 

 

Pope Francis has appointed ten new members to the Pontifical Commission for minors. The seven women and three men join the nine other members who have been reappointed, as well as one member who was appointed for a three-year term last year. However, despite these new appointments and the inclusion of the Commission in the Curia, survivors see little change in the way victims are treated by the Catholic Church.

We would be more impressed if the Church opened its books and publicly identified those who prey on children and adults. Removing all perpetrators from ministry permanently and handing all information on these cases over to secular authorities would have a greater effect on the scandal, in our opinion.

True reform would also include the Church doing more to assist survivors. Funding for counseling and other critical services should be made available to victims rather than paying lobbyists who advocate for keeping the courthouse doors closed to survivors. 

It is critical to remember that the Catholic Church has landed at this juncture as a result of gutsy survivors speaking out, organizations mobilizing and supporting victims, great reporters communicating the truth, and investigative government agencies identifying criminal acts. Without the efforts of civil society, Church officials might have continued unabated recycling abusers and moving them to unsuspecting populations. 

For more than 30 years, survivors have pounded on the Church's door, requesting help for survivors as well as the ouster of predators, as well as the individuals who defend them. It is past time for Catholic officials to understand this message. 

 

CONTACT Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)  Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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Nobel winning Timorese Bishop Belo Reprimanded Quietly

(For Immediate Release October 1, 2022) 

 

The Vatican disclosed on Thursday that it quietly reprimanded East Timor bishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Carlos Ximenes Belo two years ago in response to allegations that he sexually molested youngsters in East Timor decades ago. The Vatican's reaction came in response to inquiries from reporters following an article published this week in the Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer. Sadly, we find this easy to believe. And if it's true, we also see this as very troubling.

We admire the victims' bravery in stepping forward. Fighting influential organizations takes willpower and guts. This situation exemplifies the disparity between rhetoric and decisive action of Vatican officials. We consider it a red signal when someone says something happened and then quietly sweeps it under the rug with retirement plans. Vatican officials have the ability but not the desire to make the required changes. Transparency and accountability appear to remain elusive at every level of the Catholic church throughout the world.

We are not surprised by this revelation about Bishop Belo. Our concern is a glaring one and an inexcusable one. We learn from many allegations of sexual abuse against children that there are often more victims. In this tragedy, the Vatican set Belo free to have access to potentially more victims.  Bishop after bishop and church officials claim, repeatedly, “we just didn’t know.” For us, we just don’t believe anything from them and join the UN and our friends at Bishop Accountability in a call for a full investigation.

The choice is simple. We can generally assume that Catholic officials lack the knowledge to do what’s right in clergy sex abuse and cover-up cases. That’s what many Catholics and citizens have done for decades, especially when the accused wrongdoer had supporters in their backyards. Or we can generally assume that Catholic officials wish to continue a track of self-preservation and allow surprise news to manifest itself daily.

We urge anyone with information regarding Belo to report their information to secular authorities. 

CONTACT:   Mike McDonnell, Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(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)

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Support groups for clergy sex abuse victims openly ask Coptic Bishops for an explanation

(For Immediate Release September 28, 2022)

Coptic Survivor and SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wrote to two Coptic bishops yesterday. The advocates want the prelates to explain the exact nature of the complaints behind the removal of a Maryland priest from ministry in 2013. The advocates have heard that the complaints involved the sexual abuse of children and targeted adults. They are concerned because the cleric is now pastoring at a church in South Carolina.

Fr. Guirguis Ghobrial, AKA Fr. George Gobrail, was removed from ministry at St. Mary Coptic Church in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2013 following “complaints." The exact nature of those “complaints” was not explained in the announcement removing the priest from St. Mary “to preserve the confidentiality and the dignity of the priesthood.” However, Coptic Survivor has been told that the complaints accused Fr. Guirguis of sexual abuse.

Fr. Guirguis is now in ministry at Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church in Greenville, South Carolina. However, members of the faithful in that parish had heard that Maryland complaints involved sexual abuse and were also alarmed by certain actions taken by Fr. Guirguis in their church. They reached out to Bishop Peter, head of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky, and Bishop Youssef of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, who investigated the Maryland complaints. The church members did not receive any response from Bishop Peter, and Bishop Youssef merely said that “I trust the wisdom of Bishop Peter.”

Coptic Survivor and SNAP are now openly giving the two bishops an opportunity to supply clarification about the exact nature of the Maryland complaints so that members of the South Carolina parish can be assured that Fr. Guirguis does not present a risk to church members or to the public.

The complete text of the letter, sent by email on September 28, 2022, to Bishop Peter of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky and Bishop Youssef of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States is attached as a PDF.

Fr. Guirguis Ghobrial, AKA Fr. George Gobrail

 

Fr. Guirguis Ghobrial Timeline:

 

August 1957: Fr. Guirguis born in Cairo, Egypt

 

1970’s/80’s: During college, Fr. Guirguis worked in the youth and elementary ministry at St. George and St. Sarabamon Church in Cairo

 

1986: Fr. Guirguis married on October 7, and was ordained a priest less than 2 months later on December 5, 1986; his son was born in 1987

 

Aug 10, 1995: Fr. Guirguis assigned by Pope Shenouda to work at St.Mary’s Church in Savage, MD, as the first/head priest to work in this parish

 

July 4, 2012: Fr. Guirguis is elevated to the high rank of priesthood - “Hegomen” 

 

Jan/Feb 2013: Pope Tawadros receives “complaints” about Fr. Guirguis; Pope Tawadros assigns Bishop Thomas to investigate in Virginia along with Bishop Youssef and Fr. Botros Samy 

 

Apr 14, 2013: Letter written by Bishop Youssef distributed to church members (see attached); indicates “after thorough investigation and making sure that those complaints are correct, His Holiness [Pope Tawadros] has made a decision to terminate all the pastoral and priestly service of Fr. Guirguis Ghobrial.” 

 

May 2015: Photos of Fr. Guirguis working in Louisville, Kentucky

 

Sept 2015: Fr. Guirguis assigned to work at Archangel Michael Coptic Church in Greenville, South Carolina.

 

Sept 2017: Fr. Guirguis was last seen in Greenville around this time

 

Oct 2017/Nov 2018: Reports that Fr. Guirguis was moving around and working in Bishop Peter’s Diocese of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky, and traveled to Egypt   

 

Nov 2018/May 2021: Photos of Fr. Guirguis working in Louisville, Kentucky

 

Jun 2021/Jun 2022: Reports of Fr. Guirguis in Egypt 

 

Jun/Jul 2022: Fr. Guirguis returns to work as a priest at Archangel Michael church in Greenville, SC; but his name has been changed from “Fr. Guirguis Ghobrial” to “Fr. George Gobrail.” Concerned church members reach out to Bishop Youssef and Bishop Peter

 

Miscellaneous Info:

  • Studied at the Coptic Seminary in Cairo
  • Master’s Degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from Loyola University-Maryland
  • Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies (Old Testament) from Lancaster Bible College-Pennsylvania
  • Reportedly working on a degree in Strategic Leadership at Lancaster Bible College
  • Member of SBL (Society of Biblical Literature)
  • Founder and president of Christ Ambassadors Mission, a non-profit organization

Contact: Sally Zakhari, Founder and CEO of Coptic Survivor President of Coptic Survivor, SNAP Leader (+1(407) 758-4874, [email protected])  Melanie Jula Sakoda SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator, SNAP Orthodox Leader (+1(925) 708-6175, [email protected])

 


SNAP wants the truth to be known before mourners gather for a retired Archbishop’s funeral

(For Immediate Release September 27, 2022) 

Retired Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston passed away. Due to his history of cover-ups of clergy sexual abuse, we hope that church leaders would forego a pompous funeral service in order to convey sympathy to abuse victims and churchgoers who were misled by Fiorenza. Humility is suggested unless the church hierarchy wants to aggravate already grave wounds.

The bishop, a past president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was among the church officials who supported the tough-talk approach during the bishops' summit in Dallas in June 2002, now known as the ‘Dallas Charter.’ He told the Houston Chronicle the day it passed that it was "It was as powerful as we had planned. In effect, I believe it is zero-tolerance."

In reality, our scorecard shows that Bishop Fiorenza has long kept silent about clergy sex crimes, misdeeds, and cover-ups.  In 2003, for instance, Fiorenza dismissed sexual abuse allegations against Fr. John Keller by saying, ‘Questioned by the diocese, Father Keller denied abusing the youth but acknowledged he "crossed a proper boundary by holding you in a manner inappropriate for a priest," Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza even wrote to the victim. In 2019, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced that it had turned over two complaints to Houston police regarding Prince of Peace Priest John Keller, who is presently being investigated. Keller is still listed as a priest in the Archdiocese as pending investigation. In our opinion, Keller has enjoyed enough freedom from the consequences of his actions and so too has Bishop Fiorenza.

Another mishandled case, Fiorenza, dates back to his days as a diocesan administrator. In 2001, he promised the parents of a child victim that Fr. Manuel La Rosa- would be pulled from duty to seek counseling. He had been accused of assaulting an altar boy about a decade before. With Fiorenza's approval, the priest later returned to ministry at another parish.  La Rosa too enjoyed years of freedom enabled by church officials. If the priest went to trial on numerous counts of indecency with a child, prosecutors in Montgomery County identified Bishop Fiorenza as a prospective witness. Instead, LA Rosa accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to ten years in prison. It is astounding that La Rosa is still a priest.

Like practically all of his colleagues in the United States, this departed bishop deserves little or no appreciation. They shielded predators. They put youngsters in danger. They kept crimes from being discovered by authorities. Praising them now may provide a little delight to a few of their relatives. However, it will cause even more pain for those who have already significantly endured. In lieu of flowers, we suggest contributions to survivors who were hurt during Fiorenza's reign or to organizations that support them. 

 

CONTACT:  Eduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Houston and Board Member ([email protected], 832-641-6319), Mike McDonnell, Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(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)

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SNAP calls for controversial Christian Boarding School to Close

(For Immediate Release September 27, 2022)

In a court hearing today, closed to the public, a judge will consider rejecting a lawsuit seeking to close a controversial Christian boarding school where horrific child abuse - sexual, physical, and emotional - has long taken place and been ignored or concealed.

The action is brought by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt against the Stockton-based Agape Boarding School. Schmidt wants the facility to be closed. For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, we at SNAP agree. 

Over just the past four months, Missouri investigators have substantiated ten cases of physical abuse at the Stockton-based 'reform'' school. Civil lawsuits have also been filed against the facility.

One victim and advocate said that "hundreds" have been victimized at Agape over the years. Some have described "being physically restrained, sexually abused, starved as a form of punishment, and taken off prescribed medications while reassured that 'God will fix them.'

School officials claim that since they recently fired one high-profile abuser, there's no compelling need to shut its doors. That is a narrow, self-serving and dangerous claim, We believe that abuse at Agape has been widespread, horrific, and deeply hidden for years and that the dismissal of one or even several staffers won't end the risk to children.

The case is before Cedar County Circuit Court Judge David Munton.

Finally, during the last Missouri legislative session, lawmakers could have but did not pass a measure that would give the attorney general broader powers to punish, oversee and rein in these largely 'under the radar' facilities where so many youngsters have been so severely hurt. 

We call on Missouri legislators to enact this measure as quickly as possible and on Missouri's attorney general to make use of it to ensure that kids are safer now and, in the future.

CONTACT: David G. Clohessy, SNAP Missouri, ( 314-566-9790, [email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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Catholic priest who worked in Atlanta recently found to be "credibly accused" elsewhere: SNAP urges outreach

For Immediate Release: September 26, 2022

On September 22, 2022, the Diocese of Sacramento added Fr. Roberto Jaramillo to its list of clergy who have been "credibly accused" of child sex abuse. The priest also worked in the Archdiocese of Atlanta between 2005 and 2008, when Cardinal Wilton Gregory headed the Archdiocese. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is concerned that Fr. Jaramillo may have victimized locally as well and begs Archbishop Gregory John Hartmayer to appeal to any survivors, witnesses, and whistleblowers to make a report directly to law enforcement.

Fr. Jaramillo is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a female child between 1996 and 1999, and he is the subject of a felony arrest warrant on those charges. The Diocese of Sacramento is also aware of two additional allegations against the priest. He was accused of kissing a juvenile boy in 1999, and he was accused of sexually abusing an adult man in 2001.

While in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Fr. Jaramillo worked in at least two parishes. He was a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta and later a parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Americas Mission in Lilburn. The priest returned to his home diocese in Columbia in 2008. 

The survivors' group greatly fears that the three reported incidents in California were not isolated cases. In addition to urging the Archbishop to reach out to those who may have been hurt locally, SNAP also wants Fr. Jaramillo added to the Archdioceses' list of the "credibly accused." The group also suggests that the list be more prominently featured on the Archdiocese's homepage, to help victims who may be wondering if anyone else has reported their abuser. 

CONTACT: Georgiana Pryzbylek, SNAP Atlanta ([email protected],404-406-3034), Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento ([email protected], 530-908-3676)  Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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SNAP Applauds the Passage of an Adult Survivors Bill in California

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For Immediate Release: September 26, 2022

Last week Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 2777 into law. In addition to extending the civil statute of limitations for sexual assaults against adults, The Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act also opens a window to justice for survivors of sexual assault who were attacked as adults. The length of the window depends on when the abuse occurred. It is a 1-year window for abuse at any time and a 3-year window for survivors who were abused on or after January 1, 2009.

SNAP commends California lawmakers for changing the existing statute and for opening this civil window. This is a huge victory for survivors’ rights in the state. There can be no justice without truth, and unless someone raises their voice to speak the truth, there will be no justice.

"We believe all survivors deserve to have their day in court and hope that other states will follow in New Jersey, New York, and California’s footsteps and pass their own version of this important legislation," said SNAP Leader Dorothy Small, who was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest as an adult.

We hope that the passage of California Assembly Bill 2777 will encourage victims of sexual violence, no matter their age or where their abuse occurred, to come forward and seek the justice they deserve. We also hope that those who may have reported in the past but were ignored or fell victim to archaic, predator-friendly laws will find the strength to go through the process one more time to find healing and accountability. 

CONTACT:  Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento ([email protected], 530-908-3676), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) 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 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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Diocese of Sacramento Finally Adds Priest With An Arrest Warrant to Credibly Accused List

(For Immediate Release September 23, 2022) 

The Diocese of Sacramento today added Roberto Jaramillo, a priest who worked in Sacramento and Roseville between 1995 and 2005, to its listing of clergy who have been credibly accused of child sex abuse. Jaramillo, aged 70, is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a girl between 1996 and 1999. In 2005, Jaramillo left the Diocese of Sacramento to work for the Archdiocese of Atlanta before returning to Colombia in 2008.

A third party brought concerns of the 1996 rape and abuse to the diocese's notice in 2021. To investigate the problem, the diocese alerted police authorities and according to a statement by the diocese, they purportedly made many attempts to reach and interview the victim.

The diocese had additional claims against Jaramillo. Jaramillo was accused of kissing a young boy in 1999. Jaramillo disputed the claim, and investigations conducted at the time by both the diocese and local law enforcement found insufficient evidence to justify further action. More allegations surfaced against Jaramillo with claims that he sexually abused an adult man in 2001. This surfaced according to an allegation received by the diocese in 2020.

Sadly, we are not surprised to learn that the diocesan review board, just this week, agreed to add Jaramillo's name to the list of those credibly accused, there is an arrest warrant now issued for him.  The Diocese of Sacramento states that in August 2022, the case involving the young girl from 1996 was being investigated by the Sacramento Police Department. The diocese shared its findings with investigators and was able to gather enough evidence to submit the case to the diocese's Independent Review Board.

The Diocese of Sacramento, in our viewpoint, wants to appear aggressive in tackling the pandemic situation of clerical abuse, yet it only required the review board a short time in late summer to determine that this priest was an abuser previously identified in the 1990s.

We know this is not an isolated case, but rather another failure to safeguard children and adults from an abuser reported to the diocese. The Diocese failed twice to remove Jaramillo and disclose all evidence of suspected crimes received. The Archdiocese of Atlanta also had this wanted man working in their faith community. Are there victims there? We suspect so. How many other people in the Sacramento Diocese are like Jaramillo? How many others have been "investigated" and then left in positions of power? How many suspected abusive clerics have fled the country?

To report information on Roberto Jaramillo to investigators: Detective Matthew Wollman, Sexual Abuse and Child Abuse, Sacramento Police Department (916) 808 – 1223 [email protected]

-CONTACT: Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento ([email protected], 530-908-3676)  Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578)

(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)

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