SNAP Legal Action

The landing page for all information related to the SNAP and CCR filing in the International Criminal Court which names Pope Benedict and other church officials in a lawsuit alleging systemic human rights violations. Here you will find important documents and fact sheets, and will also be able to show your support for abuse survivors.

Welcome to the landing page for all things related to the SNAP and CCR lawsuit filed against Vatican officials and Pope Benedict for human rights violations. Below you will find informative documents and links to other important websites.

SNAP and CCR file supplemental evidence on April 11, 2012

  • Read the supplemental filing here

Editorials by SNAP Leadership on the ICC filing:

  • Op-ed by David Clohessy, SNAP Director, in the Star-Tribune: Read it here.
  • Op-ed by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President. in the Guardian: Read it here.

Documents, News, and Fact Sheets:

  1. Press release
  2. Press advisory for DC and NYC
  3. Facts of the case
  4. Complete text of the filing communication to the ICC
  5. Statements by SNAP Leaders
  6. Biographies of SNAP and CCR members involved
  7. List of cities on the Europe tour and times of events
  8. ICC Letter from Prosecution 
  9. "Abuse Victims ask Court to Prosecute the Vatican"- New York Times
  10. "Hague Court Declines Inquiry into Church Abuse Cover-up"- New York Times

Links for more information:

What experts on law and religion are saying:

  • "The legal situation is not yet clear," but that the dossier submitted "re-opens the question over a cover-up in the 1980s and 1990s. The problem remains that the Vatican has not opened its archives and has not even launched an international investigation into its dioceses around the world." - Marco Politi, Vatican Expert and commentator for Il Fatto Quotidiano. Taken from the Montreal Gazette. 
  • "It is a very slim avenue, but it's an avenue nonetheless," - Lorraine Smith, International Bar Association. Taken from Reuters. 
  • "You get a great deal of publicity," "And you put new pressure on the national courts, letting them know that if they don't prosecute there are alternatives." - William Burke White, Deputy Dean and Professer of Law at UPenn. Taken from the Bellingham Herald.
  •  "At least since 2001-2002, [Pope Benedict] has at least had primary responsibility for these cases," "It's unlikely that the court will take this up, but they won't be able to dismiss it easily. They may have to open up a preliminary investigation." - Laurie Goodstein, Religion correspondent for the New York Times. Taken from PRI.
  • "Jurisdiction is a hurdle. "The court has handled war crimes, but the argument can be made that the abuse of children is as tragic and heinous as anything. It's a crime against humanity." - Mike Pfau, Seattle attorney. Taken from the Seattle Times.
  • The complaint to the ICC "suddenly reframes the issue in the public consciousness." - Tim Kosnoff, Seattle attorney. Taken from the Seattle Times.
  • "The ICC filing marks the most substantive effort yet to hold the pope and Vatican accountable in an international court for sexual abuse by priests." - Nathan Koppel, WSJ contributor. Taken from the Wall Street Journal.
  • "The Holy See is a sovereign, which like all other sovereigns, must be accountable for violations of human rights.  SNAP's action under the ICC is timely and appropriate.  If successful, it will secure more protection for children not just against the Holy See, but all sovereigns." - Marci A. Hamilton, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Yeshiva University


Media Statements

Priest Charged with Kidnapping Thanks to Michigan AG Investigation

Another Michigan priest is being charged with child sex crimes because of the outstanding work of Attorney General Dana Nessel and her team. We commend her and the staff for all their hard work in reviewing the files from the Diocese of Kalamazoo. We hope this story inspires others who may be suffering in silence to come forward, make a report to the AG, and start healing.

Vatican Refuses to Take Action on Cardinal Pell, SNAP Responds

Days after the conviction for sexually abusing two boys was upheld, Pope Francis and the Vatican refuse to take steps to defrock or otherwise discipline Australia’s top catholic official. This is an embarrassing move by Vatican officials and only further underscores how out of touch they are when it comes to cases of clergy sexual abuse.

Priest Accused of Abuse in New York Also Worked in Columbus

A priest who has just been accused of abusing a New York child also worked in Columbus. For the safety of children and healing of survivors, Ohio Catholic officials must now alert their flock and share with law enforcement here any information they may have on the alleged offender.

Diocese of Burlington Releases Names of 40 Abusive Priests

The Diocese of Burlington, VT has released the names of proven, admitted and publicly accused child molesting clerics today. This is a long overdue step towards transparency, and there is still more work to do.

Much More Work Needed at Hanna Boys Center, Survivors Say

Hanna Boys Center officials say they will finally seek out those who were molested at the facility. Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa should do likewise, using church bulletins, pulpit announcements and parish websites.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Former Bishop Bransfield is Settled

A sexual assault lawsuit against the former Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston WV has been settled. We hope this outcome brings some healing to the survivor and will encourage other victims of Catholic clergy to come forward, find support, and help prevent future cases of abuse by exposing perpetrators.

Cardinal George Pell Loses Appeal, Will Continue to Serve Sentence

Former Bishop of Buffalo and Nashville Accused of Covering Up Abuse in New York Lawsuit

A former bishop from Nashville and Buffalo has been accused of actively covering up abuse by more than twenty plaintiffs who just filed a lawsuit in New York. We hope that this lawsuit will encourage others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse to come forward to authorities and make a report.

North Dakota Priest Under Investigation for Abuse, SNAP Urges Outreach by Church Officials

A Catholic priest may face criminal child sex abuse charges in North Dakota. We call on church officials to use all their resources to encourage anyone with knowledge about these allegations to call law enforcement immediately.

Priest from Dominican Order Accused of Abuse in New York

A priest of the Dominican Order has been accused of abusing an eight-year-old boy in a just named lawsuit. We applaud the survivor in this case for coming forward and hope that his example inspires others who may been suffering in silence to come forward and make a report of their abuse.

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