Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters


Letter to Bishops of California Regarding
"The Breaking the Silence Fund"

July 6, 2003

Dear Bishop _______;

Earlier this week, SNAP, the Survivors Network, took two proactive and ground-breaking steps. The purpose of this letter is to outline our actions to you and to enlist your aid as bishops and spiritual leaders.

First, we thanked police and prosecutors for using the 1994 California state law to protect children by locking up child molesters. Due to the recent Supreme Court Decision, we then publicly urged those same police and prosecutors to be more creative and assertive than ever in finding and using other methods or arresting and charging sex offenders.

Second, we publicly encouraged lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and devise new laws and reform existing statues, so that dangerous predators can be kept away from children.

Now, we need your help – we ask you to use your position as spiritual and paternal leaders within the Church to take an innovative step that will safeguard innocent children in your churches, schools and charities.

We're asking all twelve California bishops to immediately help establish and contribute to The Breaking the Silence Fund, a new independent initiative and reward fund that will:

Ø Provide an incentive for people to alert law enforcement as to the whereabouts of child-molesters who were once within the church but who are now at large.
Ø Assure abuse victims and fearful parents that the church is doing much within its power to protect children from molestation.
Ø Comfort distraught Catholics who fear molesters within the church.

We know of nowhere in the country that such an approach has been taken. Symbolically, we believe it could send a powerful and hopeful sign. Practically, we believe it could make one child, maybe dozens of children, safer. For these reasons and more, we know that this fund can be effective. It will be worth all our efforts and our dollars if such an incentive helps spare one innocent child from life-long emotional scars and trauma.

We will alert you with the information about fund administration and how and when to make your contributions. As a part of our efforts to make sure that the public knows about this fund, we will publicize your contribution. We also encourage you to announce this fund in all of your parishes in memory of the children who have been hurt.

If you need assistance in setting up or publicizing the fund, please contact David Clohessy at (314) 566-9790.

We thank you and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Mary Grant, Long Beach (626) 419-2930
David Clohessy, St Louis (314) 566-9790
Lee Bashforth, Lake Forest (949) 735-8347


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests