The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 18
Clergy sex group to hold 2 Philly meetings
One is for concerned Catholics and citizens
The other is a confidential support meeting for victims
SNAP says both are in response to “lots of pain & frustration”
Self help organization is “hearing from dozens of upset parishioners”
Leaders of a Chicago-based international support group will hold two meetings in Philadelphia on Sunday, in response to “lots of pain and frustration” from victims and church-goers stemming from what they call “recent revelations of on-going archdiocesan complicity in clergy sex cases.”
One is strictly for those who have been sexually assaulted by religious authority figures. The other is open to the public. The events are being organized by a self-help organization called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org).
Everyone – Catholics and non-Catholics – is welcome at a 4:00 p.m. event in the Constitution Room of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1800 Market St. (215-561-7500).
“Child predators rarely stop molesting. That’s especially true of highly educated and savvy ones like most pedophile priests,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP. “So we hope Philly citizens and Catholics overcome their fears and tell law enforcement what they know and suspect about these credibly accused predators so that kids will be better protected.”
The meeting, SNAP hopes, will also give concerned individuals a chance to “vent” and discuss “tangible ways to better safeguard the vulnerable and heal the wounded,” Clohessy emphasized.
“We in SNAP have been around for 23 years, so we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in terms of exposing predators, deterring wrong-doing, and consoling victims,” he said.
It’s recommended, but not mandatory, that those planning to attend RSVP at [email protected] (with the phrase “Philly meeting for concerned citizens” in the subject line).
“If kids are to be safer, anyone with information about clergy sex crimes and cover ups must come forward to police and prosecutors,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s president. “When victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers stay silent, nothing changes and kids get assaulted. But when victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers speak up, at least there’s a chance for prevention, healing, and justice.”
The confidential support group – for clergy sex abuse victims and their families – will be held at 6:30 p.m. at an undisclosed location (to protect the privacy of participants).
"There are hundreds of men, women and kids who’ve been molested by clergy here who are hurting in silence, shame, and self-blame," said Karen Polesir, SNAP’s Philadelphia director. "And many victims who have already spoken up are now feeling betrayed again by the Catholic hierarchy. For both groups, sharing the pain and the burdens with others who are also suffering can be very healing."
For details on the self-help meeting, please contact Blaine at 312 399 4747.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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 SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact: Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]),
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests