The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Sunday, Nov. 14
For more information: David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director, 314 566 9790, [email protected]
Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312 399 4747, [email protected],
Group opposes 2 candidates running to head America's bishops
Abuse victims urge that they be defeated in election on Tuesday
SNAP: “Both have recently protected credibly accused clerics”
NY archbishop “quietly & deceptively” let serial pedophile resign
AZ bishop concealed serious accusations against another predator
“Electing them would send hurtful message to victims & Catholics,” group says
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is opposing two prominent Catholic prelates who are candidates for the presidency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, want New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas to lose their election bids because the two have “recently, quietly and deceptively mishandling clergy sex cases” and “put kids at risk,” the group believes.
In August, SNAP says, Dolan “quietly, recklessly and deceptively” let a prominent priest resign from his Harlem parish without mentioning that at least nine men have accused the priest of molesting them as boys. Two years ago, Dolan’s predecessor found the allegations credible and suspended the cleric.
But two letters given to the parishioners – one by Dolan and one by Harris – leave the impression that Harris stepped aside for health reasons.
SNAP says Kicanas knew about serious accusations of child sexual abuse and misconduct by a Chicago priest but “did little or nothing to report these allegations to police, warn parents about him, or protect children from him.” At the time, Kicanas headed the seminary where McCormack attended and could have blocked or delayed the priest’s ordination but did not. That cleric was convicted in 2007 of molesting kids and is now behind bars.
The New York case involves Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, who helped arrange the New York visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. The Chicago case involves Fr. Daniel McCormack, who has now been accused by more than 20 boys. Harris remains a priest but McCormack has been defrocked.
“Kicanas’ irresponsible actions directly led to children being sexually assaulted by Fr. McCormack. It’s wrong for bishops to promote him,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director. “And it’s wrong for bishops to promote Dolan, whose irresponsible actions are putting children in harm’s way right now, by deceiving the public about Msgr. Harris.”
If either man wins, SNAP contends, it will further “discourage and silence victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who seek to safeguard kids and expose predators.”
“Catholic officials should put the safety of children and young people first, and stop raising up bishops who hide, minimize an enable child sex crimes,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s president and founder.
“Rewarding wrong-doing encourages more wrong-doing,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director “Honoring and elevating prelates that have so recently protected predators and endangered kids will likely prompt other church staff to act irresponsibly in the future.”
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests