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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

For immediate release: Sunday, April 24

Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Group Expands

It Welcomes Anyone Hurt in Any “Institutional Setting”

“The Pain is Essentially the Same in Any Context,” Organization Says

“Many Organizations,” SNAP Says, “Shun the Accuser and Protect the Accused”

A self help organization for clergy sex abuse victims is expanding to include those who have been hurt in any institutional setting and will hold a support group meeting in Kansas City on Tuesday.

The Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has had an active chapter in the KC area for years, but has largely focused on child sex crimes in churches, both Catholic and Protestant. But the KC group is now choosing to formally welcome “anyone who was molested or violated in any work or group setting – whether camps, schools, Scouts, or day care centers,” according to its director, David Clohessy of St. Louis.

“We’ve never turned anyone away, but the word ‘priest’ in our title has deterred some victims from calling us,” he said. “We just want to clearly and specifically invite any man, woman or teenager who has been hurt in any organizational context to join us and help us protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.”

SNAP leaders maintain that many institutions, public and private, don’t respond well to child sex abuse allegations and tend to support the accused and shun the accuser.

“Incest victims are betrayed by a family member, but those assaulted in institutions are often betrayed twice – by a perpetrator and then later by an employer or supervisor,” Clohessy said.

“We’re glad to open our arms and hearts to a wider circle of those in pain from childhood trauma,” according to its director, Mike Hunter of Kansas City, SNAP’s local director. “All of us who have been wounded as kids can benefit from sharing our burdens with others who understand what we’re going through.”

SNAP is the world's largest support group for men and women who were sexually abused in religious organizations.

“We are hearing from people who were assaulted by Protestant clergy, Catholic priests, and ministers of various faith groups,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAPs Outreach Director.

"Many of us looked for help within the institutions where our abuse happened and got nothing but shame, cover-up and denial in return," according to Dorris. "We hope that we can reach out to hurting people who may have never had the opportunity to talk about their abuse and find solace and recovery from life-long pain."

To protect the confidentiality of those who attend, SNAP is not disclosing the location of Tuesday night’s support group meeting. To learn more about the group, please call 314 566 9790 or see SNAP’s website at

For more information:
David Clohessy , SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790, [email protected]
Barb Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 503-0003, [email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests