Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letter

Open letter to concerned PA citizens & Catholics

We're grateful that so many of you are speaking up, sharing your outrage and seeking guidance. Together, despite the horrific findings of the Philly grand jury, there are practical, proven steps we can take to better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Here are some of our suggestions.

--Please send this letter to everyone you know.

--No matter how discouraged you become, please never give up. We in SNAP won't, because kids need us. Kids need you too.

--Do NOT write church officials. At best, it's a waste of time. At worst, information you provide might be used against you or others.

--Do help keep this issue in the public eye, by writing letters to the editor, submitting on line comments, calling in on talk radio shows. Child molesting clerics and their corrupt church supervisors get by with committing and concealing child sex crimes because other adults are silent. Please, do not stay silent!

--Consider the advice here if you may write a letter to the editor.

--When making on line comments, please urge victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact police, prosecutors, therapists, self-help groups like ours - in other words, trusted and independent sources of help.

--Please send the one-page summary of the grand jury's findings (below) to everyone you know.

--Please send this more detailed list of "How you can help" to everyone you know.

--Please consider making a donation to SNAP online at or to SNAP, P O Box 6416, Chicago, IL 60680.

Have questions? Please contact Barbara ([email protected]) or David ([email protected]).

Thank you! Again, together, we can make a difference!


After a detailed two year investigation, here's what impartial grand jurors found.

The archdiocese
--"continues to engage in practices that mislead victims, that violate their trust, that hinder prosecution of their abusers and that leave large numbers of credibly accused priests in ministry"
--After more than four months, has still not fully complied with the grand jury's subpoena
--"not much has changed" since a scathing 2005 report by another grand jury
--"has betrayed once again" the victims who report to its staffers

The archdiocesan abuse system
--"is designed to help the abusers and the archdiocese itself "
--"is devoid of common sense"
--"reaches the wrong result in the vast majority of (child sex abuse) cases."

The "predatory priests still in ministry" (the jury's words)
--"dozens of apparent abusers remain on duty in the archdiocese today with access to new young prey"
--at least 37 priests with "substantial evidence of abuse" have been kept in assignments that expose them to children"
--at least "41 priests who have remained in active ministry in the past five years after the Archdiocese learned of accusations or reports of their inappropriate behavior or sexual abuse of minors."
--only two of these 41 have been listed on the Archdiocese's website as credibly accused, which means the identity of most of these priests remains unknown even to their parishioners."

The so-called "victims assistance coordinators"
--"mislead victims"
--"do not keep victims' statements confidential"
--"turn over" victims' statements "to archdiocesan attorneys"
--"handed previously confidential" victim's records "over to the victim's abuser"
--"hound" victims to "give statements to "use as ammunition to impeach victims"

Msgr. William Lynn (for years, until 2004, a high ranking chancery staffer)
--"put literally thousands of children at risk of sexual abuse by placing them in the care of known child molesters" over the past two decades."
--"was acutely interested in shielding abusive clergy from criminal detection, in shielding the Cardinal from scandal, and in shielding the Archdiocese from financial liability."
-- "showed no interest at all in defending the Archdiocese's children. On the contrary, he consistently endangered them."
--called his conduct in "dealing with abusive priests" to be "dangerous and indefensible"
--"knowingly exposed children to predatory priests"
-- "acted as if his job was to protect the abuser, never the abused"
--his "refusal to curb" two known predators "led directly to the rape of (two boys)"

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests