Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Bishop Brom
Catholic Diocese of San Diego


A full-page advertisement ran in The San Diego Union Tribune Wednesday urging the San Diego diocese to come clean about past allegations of sexual abuse. The letter was signed by victims of alleged sexual abuse in the church. It asked that the diocese release all documents relating to abuse by clergy over the last 60 years. It also asked the diocese to stop legal maneuvering on cases that have already been filed. Text of letter is below:

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Three years ago the Bishops of The Roman Catholic Church in America admitted that they were culpable in bringing about the scourge of childhood sexual abuse. They admitted that they had treated victims as their adversaries and not as suffering
members of the Church, and that they worried more about the possibility of scandal than in bringing about the kind of openness that helps prevent abuse. (Presidential address by Bishop William D. Gregory, Dallas- June 13, 2002)

The Bishops' admissions were important steps, and have gained the Church something of a reprieve from public scrutiny. However, Bishop Brom, with your office we perceive that little has changed. Recently you have taken legal action to void legislation in California that has allowed adult victims to come forward to seek the truth and receive justice for what was done to them as children. You have not yet agreed to make a public disclosure of the documents and the knowledge that this diocese had of the abuse of children by its clergy and religious over the past sixty years despite promises of "transparency" made by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops of which you are a member.

You alone can set the record straight and make this community a safer place by releasing the documents in your possession and calling off your lawyers from attacking the California legislature's decision to provide redress to victims of childhood sexual abuse. A public release of the records will help those who, by their perpetrator's design, were made to feel isolated and powerless. They will know that they are not alone, and will not, as the perpetrators told them, be punished by God for coming forward. Public disclosure of the records will aid in educating the general public and raise the level of awareness of this threat to all of our children.

In 2002, you signed the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which declared that the Church's first obligation to victims was for reconciliation and healing. Bishop, we ask you to stop treating victims of childhood sexual abuse as your adversaries. The continued insistence on secrecy and legal maneuvering to deny victims their opportunity to seek the truth and justice is an impediment to healing and reconciliation.

It is clear that the children of San Diego were exposed to some less than well-formed men and women as their priests and other religious figures. We have a reasonable request, presented to you Robert Brom, the Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego, on the approach of the third anniversary of the Bishops' admission of
culpability in bringing about the scourge of childhood sexual abuse: Withdraw your challenge to California Code of Civil Procedure, Sec. 340.1(c), the law which the California legislature passed to allow victims a one year opportunity in 2003 to
revive claims of childhood sexual abuse that were previously barred by the statute of limitations. Make the documents public and let us have an open and frank discussion of the truth. This is the reconciliation and healing that we need.

Paid for by victims of clergy sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests