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

Archbishop Cordileone Conducts Exorcism to Drive Out Evil, but Refuses to Act to Drive Out Clergy Abuse

The Archbishop of San Francisco recently performed an exorcism at an historic California mission where a statue representing Saint Junipero Serra was toppled during a protest in support of indigenous people.

Moody Bible Institute Called Out by Parents, Alumni, and Students for Covering-up Sexual Abuse

A prominent religious school in Chicago has been the subject of an open letter and petition, signed by more than 1,700 people, demanding a change in how staff at the school handle allegations of sexual abuse. We applaud these brave survivors and advocates for speaking truth to power and stand in support of them as they work to create a safer environment, one that is free of abuse and cover-up.

Richmond Diocese Ends Compensation Program with No New Disclosures, SNAP Calls for Transparency

The Diocese of Richmond have announced they have closed their compensation program. We hope that the survivors who participated found some measure of healing in the process and call on Richmond Catholic officials to come clean with the public about the true scope of clergy abuse in their diocese.

Notorious defrocked KC predator priest is accused again

The Kansas City Catholic diocese admits another credible report of abuse by a notorious, serial, now-defrocked predator priest, Thomas M. Reardon. Now, Bishop James Johnston should break with his long-standing pattern of ‘bare minimum behavior’ and act like a real shepherd by essentially doing ‘contact tracing’ and vigorously seeking out others who Reardon assaulted.

Seven Names to be Added to Archdiocese of New Orleans List of Accused

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is bowing under pressure and will be adding the names of 7 religious order priests who worked and abused in New Orleans to their list of accused priests. This is a long overdue move that speaks to need for intervention from secular law enforcement to get to the bottom of what has really gone on in New Orleans.

Diocese of Springfield MA to Get New Bishop, SNAP Calls for Action

A Catholic diocese in Massachusetts is getting a new bishop. We hope that its new prelate will make the protection of children and the vulnerable his highest priority and we suggest immediate steps he can take when he is formally installed as bishop.

Bankruptcy Judge Closes Loophole Used by Archdiocese of Santa Fe, SNAP Applauds Decision

The Message Sent by Pope Francis Meeting with Cardinal Pell

Yesterday, Pope Francis took time out of his day to meet and pray with Australia’s Cardinal George Pell. We believe this ostensibly simple meeting between two men sends the disturbing message that the highest officials in the Catholic Church still have a lot to learn about the realities of child sexual abuse and survivors.

14 Religious Order Priests Outed as Abusers, SNAP Calls for Transparency and Outreach

Thanks to the work of journalists in Toronto, the names of 14 abusers of children have been made public, all of whom are priests who belong to a Catholic teaching order. We call on the Basilian Fathers of Toronto to immediately release their own list of clergy who have been accused of sexually abusing children or the vulnerable and to do outreach across Canada and the United States in each location where these abusers lived or worked, ensuring parents and parishioners are aware of the allegations.

Texas Woman Files Lawsuit Against Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and Diocese of Victoria, SNAP Stands in Support

A Victoria-area woman has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and one of its priests, as well as the Diocese of Victoria and a Victoria school. The complaint accuses the clergyman of sexually abusing the woman’s daughter. We stand in support of this mother and her brave child and we hope that this lawsuit will force Catholic officials in Texas to reckon with the ongoing scourge of child sexual abuse and take steps to protect other young lives.

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