- 2003


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statements

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2003

SNAP CA Leader Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on Prosecution of Sex Abusers

Statement by Mary Grant of Los Angeles, Board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation's largest and most active support group for women and men victimized by clergy.

Statement by Mary Grant of SNAP,
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
626 419 2930

"First, a moment of silence for the children of Marion Stogner, who bravely disclosed their abuse and pursued justice all the way to the nation's highest court. Our hearts ache for them today.

Now, a moment of silence for children across California, who have done their moral and civic duty, have reported their abuse, and who's molesters will now go free. Our hearts ache for them today.

I don't often do this, but let me briefly tell you my story.

In 1977, Father John Lenihan abused me.
In 1978, Father John Lenihan was reported to church officials
In 1989, I reported the crime to law enforcement and Father John described at least one of the molestions on tape, the statute of limitations had expired

In 1990, I filed a civil law suit and Father John admitted that he sexually abused me
In 1991, I went to the media to warn parents that their kids should not be exposed to Fr. John.

In 1999, I went back to law enforcement when the law changed.

In 2001, Another victim came forward who was raped and impregnated by Fr. John after he molested me. Fr. John told her to have an abortion and paid for it.

For 15 years, I've warned parents about this dangerous man. Just 7 weeks ago, he was finally jailed. Now, he'll go free. I've done everything I can think of to protect kids. And while I know I have not failed, it scares me that he can roam the streets to hurt others again.

And it scares me that dozens of others who were traumatized by priests also feel sad and scared and depressed today.

We're here today to send several messages.

First, police and prosecutors: keep going after child molesters, despite this set back, no matter what it takes.

Second, lawmakers: go back and reform other dangerous, outdated laws that make exposing, removing and criminally charging perpetrators more difficult. Our laws must keep children safe. If they don't, they need to be changed.

Third, parents: be more careful than ever with your children. Don't assume police and prosecutors are locking up all the bad guys, because the Supreme Court makes that even harder to do.

Fourth, church leaders: prosecutors can not do your jobs for you. You must open the files on these dangerous men, expose them, and make our churches and our society safer for children.

Finally, victims: do not give up hope.
You can get better.
You can speak up.
You can warn others.
You can protect your own kids.
Even if your abuser goes free, you can recover.
Do not give up hope.

You have survived the worst: you've survived sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted priest. It's painful, it's unjust, and it's dangerous, but you can also survive the freeing of your abuser."


Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests