The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding San Francisco Archbishop Levada Claiming Finances are Tight

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis
National director of SNAP, 314-566-9790

Archbishop Levada should disclose his assets and insurance coverage before allowing his surrogates to claim the archdiocesan budget is tight.

Speculation about the archbishop's money is at best premature. At worst, it's harmful, because already victims and witnesses are full of fear, shame and and self blame. When church officials posture about finances, it can discourage other rape and sodomy victims from coming forward, disclosing the crimes, and getting the help they desperately need.

For years and years, on the eve of civil trials or settlements, bishops have feigned financial hardships, while rarely opening their books to independent scrutiny. They offer no evidence or proof, expecting that everyone will naively take their word at face value. Catholics deserve more than this.

Only a handful of America's 194 Catholic dioceses have even sold unused property allegedly to fund abuse settlements. But again, lacking independent audits of their finances, no one knows if these claims are true.

Many bishops have five or six or more insurance policies that almost always cover the overwhelming majority of any settlement or jury verdict.

For years, Levada said few priests molested and no church official covered up the crimes. Now his staff is suggesting the archdiocese is hurting for money. Until Levada comes clean with his books, prudent people will assume that this is simply more shrewd PR posturing and hardball legal defense maneuvering.

For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP Founder and President (312) 399 4747 cell
Mark Serrano of Leasburg VA, SNAP Board Member (703) 727 4940 cell
Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, SNAP Board Member (626) 419 2930
Peter Isely of Milwaukee, SNAP Board Member (414) 429 7259 cell, (414) 963 8617

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests