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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex victims call for investigation

They want French government to probe dioceses

And they urge bishops to divulge whereabouts of 2 predator priests

Church-sponsored panels are “nearly meaningless,” group says

SNAP: “Only a truly independent look at cover ups will protect kids”

Self help organization also announces support meeting and public forum

At a news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will publicly urge
--the French government to launch a thorough, formal investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the nation’s Catholic dioceses, like Irish secular authorities have done, and
-- the French Catholic hierarchy to let the public know, for the sake of children’s safety, where two predator priests are now living.

The victims will also announce that, in September in Paris, they are holding two events:
-- a confidential self-help support group meeting for victims & their loved-ones, and
-- an open public forum at which citizens and Catholics can voice their concerns about the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis, and discuss ways to individuals can better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Thursday, July 28, 1:30 p.m.

63 Rue de Richelieu, Paris, FR, 75002

Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a US-based international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a US woman who founded the organization more than 20 years ago and a Belgian woman who is the group’s European representative.

Clergy sex abuse victims are grateful for but worried by the revelations in the newly-released Cloyne report, commissioned by Irish secular authorities, which shows even recent cover ups of clergy sex crimes by top Catholic officials in Ireland and Rome. They want to see similar government-run investigations in France into the church hierarchy and believe such probes are the only real way to expose predators, protect kids, and deter wrongdoing.

SNAP also wants French bishops to divulge the whereabouts of two predatory French priests – Fr. Father Jacques Gaimard and Fr. Philippe Richir.

Giamard was arrested and charged last year with sexual assaults on a minor, abuses that allegedly occurred during church outings. Richir, a priest of the Saint-Martin de Canteleu church, was found to be in possession of several images of child pornography. Both are from the Diocese of Rouen. Gaimard was placed on bail. Richir himself was never arrested, merely placed "on investigation."

Keeping secret about where these clerics are endangers kids, the group maintains.

And hoping to break what they call “a continuing culture of secrecy surrounding clergy sex crimes and real safety steps,” victims are holding two events in Paris on Sept. 15, at locations to be announced later.

The SNAP support group meeting will offer “consolation and guidance” to those who have been victimized and their relatives. The SNAP public forum will give any person who participates a chance to speak and to hear directly from victims what can and should be done to make the church, and society as a whole, safer and healthier for children. They will show a documentary video about clergy abuse and cover-up.

Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, [email protected]
Lieve Halsberghe, +32 475 910 918, [email protected], [email protected]
Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, [email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests