PA- SNAP to Penn State professors: teach students about abuse

For immediate release: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach  Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003,

We're disappointed in Penn State students who demonstrated Monday night in support of Joe Paterno.

We're more disappointed in Penn State officials – especially president Eric Barron - who refuse to teach students how to behave when children are sexually assaulted. We're also disappointed in Senator George Mitchell who says the school has made progress toward “fostering an ethical culture.”

Today, we call on university faculty to do what the school's administrator hasn't done and isn't doing - teach students how to act in ways that do not intimidate victims of rape and abuse.

(Here are 21 common sense steps toward making an institution safer for kids and victims: )

Much of this is quite simple. It's about:

– a powerful person committed horrible crimes against kids

– powerful people knew about or suspected the crimes

– they had the ability to stop the crimes but did nothing

– powerful people are often not held accountable for their misdeeds

– only public outcry forced those powerful people to take action

– as public attention fades, those powerful people quietly – and successfully – pressure others to scale back the consequences that have been imposed on them.

The fact that thousands of students demonstrated to put the statue back is proof that the university's “education program” – praised by Senator Mitchell – has not been successful.

If that many people are somehow still ignoring the pain of abuse victims and are willing to believe Paterno is a virtual saint, then obviously much more “education” needs to be done to make the institution more respectful of victims of rape and child sexual violence.

In fact, we can't help but wonder how many kids on the campus have been abused? Has the university put in place a program to help them come forward and get help? University officials have obviously not taught the kids to be sensitive to this issue. 

And keep in mind that just a few short years ago – numerous university officials did little or nothing to stop Jerry Sandusky's crimes.

We hope Sandusky's victims and their families don't feel deeply re-victimized by recent developments at Penn State. We suspect they are and we suspect that hundreds of other child sex abuse victims are too.

(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 20,000 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,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,

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