PA--Victims blast Penn State players over Paterno statue

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,314 645 5915 home,

Shame on the Penn State alums who put their idolatry of one coach over the safety of kids and the healing of victims. University officials should never restore the Paterno statue and these ex-players should move on.

“Your horror means nothing.” That’s the message these naïve and callous ex-athletes are sending to child sex abuse victims. “Don’t report abuse because adults will side with adult wrongdoers and shun suffering kids.” That’s the message these men are sending to teenagers who’ve been raped and ponder disclosing their pain.

Adults can make it easier or harder for victims of sexual violence to report predators and protect others. These Penn State graduates are making it harder. They should be ashamed and those who taught them should be ashamed.

In our youth, many of us idolized teachers, coaches, ministers and mentors. Later in life, with more maturity, we learned more about them and had to painfully realize that our childhood heroes were, in fact, flawed. With time and perspective and more life experiences, we believe these well-meaning but sorely misguided former football players will come to understand how wrong it is to seek the return of Joe Paterno’s statue.

When they do, for the sake of vulnerable kids and wounded victims, we hope these ex-players will publicly renounce the hurtful actions they’re taking now.

Finally, tens of thousands have worked at or graduated from Penn State. It’s a little embarrassing that alums can’t manage to find and rally around more accomplished individuals and push for recognition for them.

No matter what university officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in colleges, churches or institutions – especially at Penn State – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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,, Barbara Blaine (


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