Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Kansas Bishop Boland


August 5, 2004

Dear Bishop Boland:

As Bishop of Kansas City, you have repeatedly promised to help survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. As a member of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops you have promised "openness and transparency" in your dealings with this issue. As a priest, you have promised to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church and Jesus Christ. We commend you for these promises.

Our concern is that you have not only failed to fulfill these promises, but have done precisely the opposite. In recent weeks, you have allowed and directed your diocesan lawyers to file dozens and dozens of motions to delay or prevent justice, closure or healing for the victims of these heinous crimes. These motions also prevent the truth about abusive clerics and complicit church officials from emerging. Some of these costly and lengthy motions border on the ridiculous. (Your lawyers have, as you must know, lost virtually every one of these motions to date.)

Frankly, we know of no other diocese in America that has mounted such a vigorous and mean-spirited response to victims seeking justice, nor received such a consistent rebuke from judges.

We understand that you feel an obligation to protect the diocese's assets. But these motions will not accomplish that. They will harm already wounded victims. They will continue to shroud the truth. They will cost your diocese hundreds of thousands of dollars. They will foster cynicism among the public.

Perhaps most disturbing, they will show the stark and disappointing contradiction between your words and your deeds. You offer pleasant, well-crafted public relations promises in public. Yet you sanction extreme, punitive legal strategies in court. In the long run, this uncharitable approach will inevitably and sadly further erode the faith that devout Catholics have in your leadership. Because of your choices, the church in Kansas City will be the ultimate loser in this struggle.

When a victim finds the strength to come forward and report horrific sex crimes, they deserve gratitude, not hostility. They deserve to feel supported, not scorned. This is largely how we are greeted by the public and parishioners. It's tragic that your response is so different and disappointing.

Keep in mind, Bishop, that each of us has endured repeated sexual assaults by trusted religious authority figures. Through strength and persistence, we have coped with and largely overcome such crimes. We have become very resilient and determined. Having made it this far, nothing you or your lawyers do will deter us in our drive for healing, justice, and prevention.


David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
St. Louis MO
314 566 9790 cell

Barbara Blaine
Founder & President, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Chicago, IL
312 399 4747 cell

Mike Hunter
Kansas City SNAP Director
6604 West 91st, #233
Overland Park, KS 66212
913 634 8427 cell

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests