The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Friday, May 26, 2011
Victims invite upset parishioners to event
SNAP to hold “Q & A” session in Northland
They’ll also have separate “support group” portion
“It helps to share your feelings in a safe place,” group says
SNAP: “If you saw, suspected or suffered clerics’ crimes, call cops now!”
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims and their families is inviting Kansas City Catholics to an open meeting to discuss controversial child porn and cover up allegations involving a local priest, Fr. Shawn Ratigan.
“We’re hearing from dozens of really upset parishioners who justifiably feel betrayed and outraged by church officials who ignored and concealed suspected clergy sex crimes,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director. “These Catholics deserve some straight answers and a chance to air their feelings and fears.”
“In recent years, more and more, we’re hearing not just from victims, but from whistleblowers and witnesses,” said Mike Hunter, SNAP’s Kansas City director. “While victims need support, so too do others who’ve been hurt by the church hierarchy, like those at St. Patricks and other parishes. We want to do whatever we can to lend a hand to people who are in pain because of this horrific case.”
St. Patrick’s is the last location where Ratigan worked.
The first part of the meeting will be an “open discussion” about the Ratigan case and other crimes regarding clergy.
“We want to listen and to offer some guidance based on our decades of experiences in these kinds of tough situations,” Dorris said.
The second part of the meeting will be a confidential “support group” focused strictly on how everyone involved or concerned can cope with their feelings of hurt, anger, disappointment and fear.
“We’ve learned, over the years, that it’s crucial to voice our emotions, rather than try to keep them bottled up,” said Hunter. “And it’s really helpful to do that in a safe, comfortable, private setting with others who know how you’re feeling.”
“Few times in our 23 year history have we heard from so many parishioners who are so upset,” said SNAP director David Clohessy. “We feel duty-bound to hear them, comfort them, and console them.”
All three SNAP leaders are urging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Ratigan or any church employee to call police officials, not church officials.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests