Press Release



Press Release


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
July 20, 2005

For more information:
Tammy Lerner of New Tripoli PA, Central PA SNAP Director 610 509 9568
Peter Isely of Milwaukee WI, SNAP National Board Member 414 429 7259
David Clohessy of St. Louis MO, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790

Clergy Sex Abuse Victims to Sit Down With Santorum

Senator's Controversial Comments Led To The Meeting

They Want Him To Attend A Support Group Meeting

SNAP Also Believes Congressional Hearings Would Help

In the wake of a dispute between two US Senators and their conflicting views of the Catholic sex abuse crisis, leaders of a clergy molestation victims support group are meeting tomorrow afternoon with Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) personally and staff members of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

A week ago, in a rare attack on the Senate floor, Kennedy sharply criticized a column Santorum had wrote for a Catholic on-line forum in which Santorum claimed Boston's "liberal culture" contributed to priests molesting youngsters. Santorum has in turn blasted Kennedy's timing and motives, and has stood by his controversial statements.

The victims plan to invite both men to one of their self-help meetings in the hopes of "letting them see first hand the devastation caused by abusive clergy and complicit bishops, and sharing with them our view of the causes of the crisis and effective prevention steps for the future," according to Tammy Lerner of New Tripoli, in the Allentown Catholic diocese. Lerner is the Central Pennsylvania Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation's largest support group for men and women victimized by clergy.

She will be joined by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, a SNAP National Board Member and founding member of the organization.

"Many state lawmakers have initiated legislative reforms because of this scandal," said Isely. "But virtually nothing's being discussed at the federal level. So we welcome this opportunity to talk about ways the Congress might be able to help heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable."

"We're very pleased Mr. Santorum is willing to sit down with us," said Lerner. "We may not see eye-to-eye on all the factors that contributed to so many sex crimes and cover ups. That doesn't mean, however, that we can't seek common ground when it comes to devising solutions."

SNAP leaders plan to hold a news conference between their meetings.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests