- 2003


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statements

Working Harder in California

STATEMENT by Lee Bashforth of Orange County,
who was abused by Fr. Michael Wempe

July 3, 2003

"Welcome. We're with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

We'd like to begin with a moment of silence for Eric, Steven, Christopher, and the unknown other survivors who did not survive, the men and women who were sexually traumatized by clergy and who ended up taking their own lives because of the horrific pain.

Thank you. Now, we'd like to have just one more moment of silence for the children of California, those who are now more vulnerable because of last week's US Supreme Court ruling. Hundreds of child molesters will soon be walking the streets, and hundreds more who should and could have been charged and jailed will not be. We fear for these innocent ones.

In light of the Supreme Court's action, we have two choices. We can retreat into depression, isolation, and hopelessness. Or we can re-dedicate ourselves to our most important mission: trying to make sure that no other child suffers the way we suffered and still suffer.

We in SNAP are choosing action over inaction.
We are choosing to protect others over comforting ourselves.
We are choosing to reach out to others, rather than turning inward and suffering in silence.

And the headline on our leaflet today says it all. We're choosing to HELP PROTECT KIDS.

Our message today is simple: Now more than ever, all of us need to work harder to protect kids.

Now more than ever, victims must somehow fight the courage and strength to come forward.

Now more than ever, police and prosecutors must work harder and smarter to catch and prosecute child molesters.

Now more than ever, lawmakers must go back to the drawing board, devising new laws and reforming old laws so kids will be safer.

Now more than ever, moms and dads must call their lawmakers, insisting that our legislators re-examine civil and criminal statutes.

Now more than ever, past and current church employees must break their silence and tell what they know or suspect about abuse by clergy. Please call us, the police or district attorney. Become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Victims: Please don't give up. You can get better! Many of us really began to heal when we starting working to protect others. We urge you find the strength and courage to report your victimization to law enforcement. Please know that we're a confidential self-help group. We want to support you in your healing!

Moms and dads: call your legislator. Tell him/her to go back to the drawing board and write new laws to make the prosecution of child molelstesr easier.

Police and prosecutors: keep up the good work. We appreciate your dedication in helping to protect children. We know that the Supreme Court ruling is devastating to you too.

Church employees, past and present: look inside your heart, examine your conscience, hear our pain, save our children. Speak up now. Across the country,
more devout Catholics who feel betrayed and guilt-ridden are contacting victims, lawyers, police and DAs, telling of suspected abuse, offering evidence, reporting once-secret conversations about child molestation. These men and women are to be commended. Others who know about possible abuse should join with us in exposing molesters and protecting children by speaking up.

Here in California, we know of one such brave person, a loyal Catholic and dedicated church employee who has taken this step, ended years of silence, and is helping to expose a danger abuser. We applaud this person, and we hope others will be inspired by her courage.

We've lost a battle, an important battle. But we're winning the war. Gradually, California is becoming safer for kids. But kids need and deserve protection now, not later. Now more than ever, please join with us in this effort.

SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (626) 419 2930, (626) 835-9066 We are a confidential, independent, nationwide support group for men and women molested by clergy.


Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests