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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex abuse victims hold town hall meeting

One more time, they invite new Saginaw bishop to come

He’s ignored their invitation & won’t discuss his “troubling history”

Top cleric was criticized by grand jury and prosecutors in Philadelphia

He’s accused of helping to conceal clergy sex crimes by predator priests

Concerned Michigan parishioners and the public are encouraged to attend

WHAT: At a “town hall meeting,” clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will discuss
-- a grand jury report which criticizes Saginaw’s new Catholic bishop
-- describe ways to make kids safer in churches from child molesting clergy.

WHEN: Sunday, October 25, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Four Points by Sheraton Ballroom (near Damon’s Grill), 4960 Towne Center, Saginaw MI

WHO: Presenters will include members of Protecting Michigan’s Children, members of SNAP- Saginaw ( ), and a high profile Chicago woman and activist who founded SNAP

VISUALS: A press kit containing background material from the Philadelphia Grand Jury report will be available to press attending the event.

WHY: In June, SNAP publicly invited Saginaw's new bishop, Bishop Joseph Cistone, to hold an open meeting to let local Catholics and citizens hear directly from him about serious accusations that he ignored and concealed suspicions and knowledge of clergy sex crimes in Philadelphia. The allegations were made by a grand jury and prosecutors in a highly-publicized, lengthy 2005 report.

That report harshly criticized Cistone’s role in the cover up of alleged child sexual abuse by 63 priests. According to the Philadelphia Enquirer, the three year probe concluded that
-- in 1996, Cistone was complicit in silencing a nun who tried to alert members of a parish about an abusive priest,
-- in 2002, Cistone took no action to wan a suburban school district that one of its teachers was an ex-priest who had abused kids, and
-- Cistone took no action against a priest despite reports that he sometimes made boys strip and pricked some with pins.

The findings also concluded that top Philadelphia church officials, including Cistone, “excused and enabled the abuse.”

Cistone claims “it would not serve any purpose” to “revisit” the grand jury report. SNAP disagrees and believes Catholics deserve (and victims need) Cistone and other church officials to publicly explain their “callousness, recklessness and deceit” if there’s any change for real healing. The organization wants Cistone to participate in the public forum, with a question and answer session, giving parishioners a chance to hear directly from Cistone about these specific charges.

Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312-399-4747
Brad Sylvester, Saginaw SNAP Director, 989-450-6210
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, 314-566-9790

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests