- 2003


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statements

Statement Regarding appointment of SNAP member to Metuchen (NJ) Review Board

February 6, 2003

Matt Kelly, SNAP NJ Communications Director, made the following statement today:

'Leaders from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP
(, met in early January with Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen at the chancery office in Piscataway, NJ. In the meeting, SNAP made several requests of Bishop Bootkoski. The most significant request, to appoint a SNAP representative to the diocese allegation review board, was accepted by the bishop and that appointment has been made.

The meeting was originally requested by the Diocese of Metuchen to explore ways for the groups to work together in supporting clergy abuse victims and assist the diocese with its approach to claims of sexual abuse by priests.

This is the first time that SNAP has been granted a seat on a review board despite making the same request at the diocesan level and at the national level since last year. It is the first appointment of its kind in the nation for SNAP.

Both with his willingness to settle lawsuits with victims last week and his appointment of a SNAP member to his review board, Bishop Bootkoski has
demonstrated a willingness to forge a partnership with abuse survivors so they may participate in making the church a safer place for children and assisting victims to find truth, healing, and justice. We commend the bishop for these actions and hope he can serve as an example for his brother bishops, many of whom continue to attack victims in the courtroom instead of supporting their healing and recovery.

This appointment is very significant for victims of clergy abuse who are still silent about their abuse. To have a survivor with the leading clergy abuse support group present on the review board will empower victims to break their silence, report their abuse to the diocese and to law enforcement, and then begin the healing process. Too often victims remain silent because they are suspect or feel intimidated by the makeup of the review board that hears their claims.

A SNAP member offers a review board credentials that are unique from already having heard dozens and sometimes hundreds of clergy abuse victims' stories in a non-clinical, self-help support atmosphere through our SNAP support group meetings. The newly appointed SNAP survivor to the Metuchen review board is anxious to begin assisting victims through their journey of healing.

We hope that bishops around the country will follow the lead of Bishop Bootkoski and appoint SNAP members to their review boards. Bishop Bootkoski has agreed to an ongoing dialogue where SNAP representatives can offer input and criticism on the Diocese of Metuchen in its efforts to comply with the new church policy on child sexual abuse by church personnel. While SNAP has been on the record extensively in opposition to the "revised norms" approved by the Vatican, we welcome the opportunity to play a role in promoting safe churches in the Diocese of Metuchen for children today and the healing of victims as well."

For More Information, contact:

Matt Kelly, SNAP NJ Communications Director cell (973) 714-8099
Fr. John P. Bambrick, SNAP NJ Outreach Coordinator cell (732) 616-9402
Mark Serrano, SNAP Board Member (703) 771-9606, cell (703) 727-4940
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director cell (314) 566-9790

Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests