PA- Penn State alums should donate to abuse groups

For immediate release: Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790  [email protected])

Penn State alums plan to raise $300,000 for a new statue of Joe Paterno. We oppose this callous move. But if they proceed, we challenge them to raise an additional $300,000 and donate it to groups that prevent child abuse and help victims.

This statue will deter victims, witnesses and whistleblowers in child sex cases from protecting kids by reporting abuse. It will reinforce the often-justified pessimism that adult wrongdoers matter more than wounded kids. It will increase their fear that even if they speak up, powerful and popular grownups will usually escape being exposed or punished for ignoring or concealing child sex crimes.

We've explained this in detail here: 

Those who donate will be putting the reputation of a deceased wrongdoer ahead of the healing of child rape victims. They will do precisely what hundreds of Catholic officials and other complicit church staff have done for decades: be putting more value on the reputation of an institution than on the safety of kids and the healing of victims.

They can however, make this hurtful decision a bit less hurtful by donating to agencies that protect children, help victims and prevent crimes. This WILL safeguard kids.

So our message to these pro-Paterno Penn State alums (like Ted J. Sebastianelli, 814-777-8045, [email protected]) is: If you insist on this callous campaign, please at least DO something to protect the vulnerable and lessen the pain you are causing. Since your efforts will, we believe, actually hurt both those at risk and those already wounded, please take some tangible steps to ameliorate the suffering you are exacerbating.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

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

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