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

Victims urge bishop to discipline accused predator priest

More Mid-MO predator Priests Are ‘Outed’ By Church

Two more mid-MO predator priests are exposed

Church officials elsewhere say they’re “credibly accused

But Jeff City’s bishop ‘stays silent’ about them, SNAP charges

Neither are on his official diocesan child molesting clerics list

A third abusive priest was just added, but was also ‘outed’ elsewhere

The 3 were at 10 mid-MO towns: Jeff City, Moberly, Boonville & Fayette

SNAP: “What other dangerous predators are local Catholic staffers hiding?”

Disgraced Catholic Priest Francis Trauger Pleads Guilty, SNAP Reacts

A former Catholic priest and serial child abuser from Levittown, Francis (Frank) X. Trauger, will plead guilty to charges he sexually assaulted two boys. We are grateful to the police and prosecutors who pursued this case and secured some measure of justice for Trauger’s victims. We are confident that without their involvement, children would still be at risk.

Diocese of Albany Belatedly Adds Priest to List, SNAP Calls for Independent Investigation into Cover-Up

A New York Catholic diocese appears to have waited until after a priest died to find allegations against him “credible,” despite the fact that reports against the priest spanned the previous three decades. We suspect this delay was purposeful in an attempt to wait out New York’s Child Victims Act and call for the attorney general to investigate.

Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud sets Deadline for Compensation Program

A Minnesota diocese that is currently going through Chapter 11 Bankruptcy has set a deadline of October 21, 2020, for survivors of sexual abuse to come forward and file a claim. We call on Catholic officials to share this information widely, advertise the time limit in local newspapers, and make every effort to ensure survivors throughout the state are aware of this deadline.

(Survivors who wish to take advantage of this compensation program can find the announcement here and the information on how to to file a claim here.)

Diocese of Savannah, GA to Get New Bishop, SNAP Calls for Action

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

Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth Must Add Names to List of Accused Priests

The names of two abusive clerics that were revealed late last month by the Marianist order must be added to the rosters of abusive priests in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Catholic officials there must also explain why these names were omitted in the first place.

Five Delbarton Monks and One Lay Teacher Accused of Abuse, SNAP Responds

Five more monks and one lay teacher who lived and worked at Delbarton School in New Jersey have been accused of abuse in new lawsuits, including one monk – Fr. Benedict Worry – who is believed to currently be living at the school. We applaud these brave survivors who brought these claims forward and are confident that their information will help prevent future cases of sexual abuse.

Statement of SNAP Regarding a Motion to Dismiss the Federal Bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of New Orleans

The legal counsel for the Abuse Survivor’s Creditors Committee filed a motion Friday, July 3rd, to dismiss the Archdiocese of New Orleans Chapter 11 bankruptcy on the grounds of “bad faith.” The attorneys also claimed that the Archdiocese pursued this bankruptcy to gain a litigation edge over current and future sexual abuse survivors’ claims for justice.  The lawyers cited two cases from the Fifth Circuit where defendants used this tactic to gain such an advantage.

SNAP Stands in Support of Danny Lavery and Calls for Investigation into Menlo Church

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