Roster of Press Releases


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

SNAP discloses US bishops’ new sex abuse policy

For immediate release: Tuesday June 14

If this draft is adopted, there will basically be three changes in the policy:
-- A bishop who learns of child sex abuse allegations against another bishop is "obliged to inform the Papal Nuncio" (which essentially means one more church bureaucrat will be kept “in the loop,” but doesn’t mean a single child will be safer).
-- Child porn is now supposed to be considered a "more grave delict of morals" (though according to most observers and many church officials, this was implicitly included in the first policy)
-- Sexual abuse of a person below the age of 18 is considered an offense of sexual abuse against a minor, which essentially mirrors existing secular law (i.e. the church’s internal age of consent is slightly improved).

These are tiny tweaks of a vague, weak and largely unenforced policy. They will have virtually no impact on the continuing crisis.

Two key facts to keep in mind:

1) Not a single current or former church employee – from Cardinal to custodian – has been defrocked, disciplined, demoted or even denounced by church officials for violating even a single provision of this policy.

2) The policy is being amended, but not the “norms” – the actual binding church rules. So an already unenforced set of guidelines will remain unenforced.

We believe dramatic reforms are needed to better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. But over the past nine years, the policy has been weakened, not strengthened. In fact, we know of no church official who has even seriously proposed, much less fought for, a single improvement in the policy.

There are many ways we’d like to see this policy improved. Here are just two of them
--We especially want to see the policy amended to mandate harsh penalties for any church employee, from custodian to cardinal, who ignores or conceals child sex crimes. There are no such provisions now, and virtually never, we believe, are those who “enable” child molesting clerics ever punished for their misdeeds. Until that changes, cover ups of clergy sex crimes will continue.
--Each diocese has a review board, entirely hand-picked by bishops, which is supposed to deal with clergy sex cases. But SNAP says church officials often ignore or mislead these volunteers. So, we propose that bishops pick just two members of each board and those members be allowed to choose others to fill out the panels.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), 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]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests