Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters


Letter to California Bishops


November 4, 2004

Dear California Bishops:

As you must know, we in SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are very disturbed by last Friday’s headlines:

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat said “Priest Files To Be Kept Secret”

The San Francisco Chronicle said “Judge’s Reversal Favors Catholic Clergy”

The Oakland Tribune said “Public Can’t See All Church Records”

The San Jose Mercury News said “Judge Says Priests Personnel Documents Should Remain Private”

Anyway you look at it, secrecy won last week. Openness lost. Secrecy won. Catholics lost. Those who enabled abuse won. Those who were abused lost. Continued deception won. The truth lost. Most important, child molesters won. Children lost.

Make no mistake about it. We are upset about Judge Sabraw’s ruling. Our real concern, however, is less with an Oakland judge and more with California’s bishops. Specifically, we are distraught with your insistence on secrecy. The judge couldn’t have given them secrecy if they hadn’t sought secrecy. As always, the crux of the problem remains the recalcitrant, imperious, secretive bishops.

So today, hoping against hope, we implore you and your brother bishops to do what bishops in Tucson, Milwaukee, Toledo and Baltimore have done: please put the names of known and suspected abusive clerics on your diocesan web sites, in your diocesan newspapers and in your parish bulletins.

It’s a simple, inexpensive, but imperative step. We can only protect the vulnerable from the dangerous if we know who the dangerous are.

If even one bishop reveals the name of even one abusive priest, then one child might be spared and one victim might be more comforted.

We’re not holding our breath, but we must keep trying to inch closer toward the truth.

In the weeks ahead, we hope Judge Sabraw reverts to his original view, and puts the First Amendment and the safety of kids above dangerous church secrecy.

But even more, we hope that California’s bishops will back off, and let the truth emerge. Please don’t continue the same clear and consistent but reckless and hurtful pattern: doing anything and everything possible to hide the truth, even if it means kids are still at risk.

For the sake of our children, honor your promises, put safety first, and tell us who the molesters are, so that families can be warned and more crimes can be prevented.


Terrie Light, SNAP Northwest Regional Director (510)-517-3338

Danny McNevin, SNAP Spokesperson (415) 341-6417 cell

Joelle Casteix, SNAP Orange County Director (949) 322-7434

Jaime Romo, SNAP San Diego Director (760) 519-0823

Steven Sanchez, SNAP Los Angeles Director (818) 262- 6540

Mary Grant, SNAP Southwest Regional Director (626) 419-2930

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests