Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Denver Archbishop


April 24, 2006

Dear Archbishop Chaput:

We are a nearly all-volunteer self-help group of deeply wounded and still hurting men and women who have been raped and sodomized by clergy. We are desperately trying to heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable. We achieve the former through our independent, confidential monthly support group meetings. And we try to achieve the latter through pushing for reforms that expose predators and prevent abuse.

We can't begin to command the resources you do - the millions of dollars, the hundreds of employees, the dozens of weekly parish bulletins, the weekly archdiocesan newspaper. This severe imbalance is exacerbated by your recent additional and expensive recourses - your highly-paid and well-connected new lobbying and public relations firms, that you've brought on specifically to keep your child sex abuse cases covered up and out of the public eye.

But in the spirit of fairness and openness, we beg you to stop hiding behind your PR staff and your lobbyists, and work with us to arrange an open, public debate and discussion about the proposed one year civil window being considered by Colorado's legislature.

You've spent tens of thousands of dollars, donated by your generous parishioners, fighting this child protection measure. But you've never appeared in an open public forum to talk about it with us and publicly defend your position. We beg you to do this.

Regardless of what lawmakers do this week, this struggle will not be over. Regardless of how the vote ends up this week, we will commit to debating you.

We also want to urge you to be more responsible and less deceptive in your advertisements and lobbying about this sorely-needed bill.

You've made a number of deceitful claims about the child protection bill. Here are just a few:

It does what no other Colorado law has done.

Virtually every new law paves a new path. Otherwise, there'd be no need for it. The first laws letting women vote and blacks sit on juries and banning child porn also did "what no other law has done."

Technically, your claim may be true. But it's deceptive.

It doesn't protect all children.

No law is perfect. No law can cover every conceivable situation or possibility. A law that helps most or many flood victims probably won't help ALL flood victims. That doesn't mean it's wrong.

Technically, your claim may be true. But it's deceptive.

It ignores most kids, who attend public schools.

Where have the most horrific and damaging cover ups of child molestation occurred? In private institutions, especially those that tend to be secretive and lack any outside monitoring or accountability? That's where the far greater problem is, that's what this legislation addresses.

Technically, your claim may be true. But it's deceptive.

It creates two standards, public and private.

There are already two standards. Recklessness and harm in public institutions can more easily been discovered, because of the Freedom of Information Act and other laws that mandate disclosure by public institutions. Recklessness and harm in public institutions can more easily be remedied, because public officials can be voted out of office.

(That's why, again, we see far more complicity and duplicity and harm in clergy sex abuse cases than in other sex abuse cases. The church is a monarchy. You have all the power. And as the saying goes "absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Technically, your claim may be true. But it's deceptive.

It allegedly "protects public entity sexual perpetrators."

The bill does no such thing. Your own web site admits that "sovereign immunity cannot be waived retroactively according to the Colorado Constitution and other law." So HB 1090 can't, by your own admission, do more with "public entity sexual perpetrators." It doesn't "protect" them.

Technically, this claim isn't true. And it's deceptive.

We respectfully ask that you tone down the rhetoric and the deceit, and be more responsible in your lobbying and advertising efforts. And we ask that you leave the comfort of your chancery office, stand up publicly, and discuss your claims with us in a balanced, jointly arranged public forum.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Mary Grant of Los Angeles, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director
334 Gladys Avenue, #202
Long Beach, CA 90814
[email protected]
626 419-2930 cell

Jeb Barret of Aurora, CO, SNAP Denver Leader
[email protected]

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director
7234 Arsenal
St. Louis, Mo
[email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests