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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Papal Representative, Pietro Sambi


December 13, 2007

Archbishop Pietro Sambi.                                                                          
3339 Massachusetts Avenue
N.W, Washington, DC

Archbishop Sambi

We are survivors who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy, we are friends and family of survivors who have watched abuse victims deal with the pain of having their childhood taken away. We have all witnessed the devastation that clergy sexual abuse has on once innocent and trusting children and how difficult it is for them to come forward as adults and tell the world what has happened to them. We have witnessed the response of the church officials as they first deny the allegations and then accuse the victims of being money hungry. We have seen church officials move pedophile priests around and protect them from the legal system.

Only after the revelations that occurred in 1985, and in 1992, and finally again in Boston in 2002 have we finally seen some small belated and begrudging movement by the Catholic hierarchy to enact justice upon these perpetrators. At least now some of the priests have been defrocked. At least some abusive priests have been prosecuted. At least some abusive priests live in church run housing centers for pedophiles. At least some abusive priests, at least theoretically, are being "monitored."

To the best of our knowledge, however, little of this applies or is going on with abusive bishops. No abusive bishops are being defrocked. Few disclose their whereabouts. Fewer still, we fear, are being monitored. No current church officials claim they are actively taking any responsibility for protecting kids from potentially dangerous child-molesting bishops.

And there are roughly 10 proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive bishops including Soens in Iowa, Williams in Kentucky, Hart in Wyoming, O'Connell in Florida, Dupre in Massachusetts and Weakland in Wisconsin.

On this date, December 13th 2007, which marks the anniversary of Cardinal Law’s resignation as archbishop of Boston, we; the survivors, friends and family of survivors; respectfully request that you take measures to hold all of the Catholic clergy accountable by the standards outlined in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Dallas Charter).

Items 6, 7, and 8 of the charter specifically call for the removal of an abusive cleric from an ecclesiastical office, that the cleric be medically/psychologically evaluated, and that the abuser permanently be removed from the clerical state - defrocked

We request that you, the representative of the Holy Father in the United States, ensure that that these provisions in the charter, which were approved by the Holy See on December 8th 2002, be upheld not only by the bishops of the United States but toward those bishops who have been credibly accused of sexually abusive behavior.

Additionally - within the last year, three other bishops who have not been accused of molesting kids themselves, faced the threat of possible contempt charges because of their deceitful conduct regarding abuse cases. They are Robert Brom of San Diego, Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa and Tod Brown of Orange County. SNAP and VOTF believe their secrecy and deception are typical of other bishops. If their misdeeds go unpunished by the church hierarchy, SNAP and VOTF feel, other bishops will be emboldened to mishandle abuse too.

Finally we request some concern be directed toward the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Bishop Bruskewitz has refused to follow the charter which was approved by the Holy See. Since the bishop is only accountable to the Pope, we request that that Pope Benedict be invited to assist Bishop Bruskewitz in understanding the importance of this charter and that it is critical that the charter be followed by all bishops to help restore confidence and trust in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church


David Lorenz
Central Maryland SNAP director
Chair of VOTF affiliate in Bowie,MD

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests