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

Accused Sacramento Priest Sues Bishop who ‘Outed’ Him

A priest accused of abuse who worked and lives in Sacramento is tilting at windmills by suing the bishop who publicly exposed him. In 30 years, we've never seen such a suit succeed, but we suspect the priest's real goal is to deter other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up.


First Lawsuit Filed Against Fr. John Smyth in Chicago

The first child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit has been filed against a high-profile Chicago priest who had access to thousands of already-vulnerable children.


Trial Against Fr. Scott Kallal Ends in Hung Jury

A Kansas priest who was accused of abusing a teen-aged girl  had his trial end today in a hung jury. We hope that prosecutors will try this case again and continue working to keep children in Kansas safe from abuse.

Compensation Programs Begin in 6 California Catholic Dioceses Days After SOL Reform is Passed

Today, compensation programs for survivors of clergy abuse in the Catholic have officially begun in six California dioceses. We hope that survivors will weigh their options closely when evaluating this option, especially given that newly passed legislation could result in other opportunities.

Cincinnati Auxiliary Bishop Should Be Removed from USCCB Committee

Vatican officials may be investigating Cincinnati’s top Catholic official, but regardless of what Vatican officials do, we believe church officials in the US should act now to remove one of Cincinnati’s bishops from a key national committee.

Help us protect children!

We are victims of predatory priests, working to safeguard the vulnerable, heal the wounded expose the truth, and stop current and future cover-ups of horrific crimes against kids. We belong to a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Here are at least five publicly accused predator priests who are ‘under the radar’ in central Wisconsin. They have been publicly exposed for child sex crimes elsewhere, spent time in the LaCrosse diocese, but are virtually unknown here. They are:

SNAP Applauds the Passage of Assembly Bill 218

A bill that will support California survivors of child sexual abuse and help protect today's children has just passed in the California Assembly. It now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature. We applaud California lawmakers for passing this bill and hope that the governor will sign it immediately.

Report into Clergy Abuse Released in Missouri Fails to Get at Root of Clergy Abuse by Ignoring the Role of Church Officials and Cover-Up

Missouri’s top law enforcement official today released a report into clergy abuse in Missouri. The report released by A.G. Schmitt falls dramatically short of efforts by attorneys general in states like Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

SNAP Leader Blasts Missouri AG’s Outreach Efforts

Tomorrow, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt will release his so-called report on clergy sex crimes and cover ups at a St. Louis news conference. This whitewash is precisely what we predicted and feared: apparently no subpoenas issued, no hearings held, no hotlines established, and no experts consulted.

Diocese of Rochester Files for Bankruptcy to Avoid Responsibility for Cases of Clergy Abuse

A diocese in New York is filing for bankruptcy in order to avoid the repercussions of years of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up that are now being litigated thanks to the Child Victims Act. We believe this move by church officials is not about protecting church assets, but rather about protecting their secrets.

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