The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding SNAP Bishops' Audit

March 30, 2006

Statement by Barbara Blaine

The bishops' latest report, released today, once again proves that bishops can't be trusted to monitor themselves. Their system of analyzing and allegedly 'protecting' the safety of children is a failure.

The report issued by bishops today shows that reviewers found the Archdiocese of Chicago to be in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children. Yet in recent months two priest predators were found working in active ministry even though the Chicago Archdiocese received allegations from multiple victims over two years earlier. News reports from Chicago indicate that children were abused up until a few weeks before one of those priests was arrested in January 2006.

The weak, watered-down bishops' charter failed. The innocence of children was shattered because of the irresponsible and reckless behavior of bishops who relied on this policy.

Bishops can't be trusted to monitor themselves.

It was announced today that the bishops' appointed reviewers will now ask to review church personnel files. But those files should be turned over to police. It's time for church leaders to stop investigating crimes internally and turn over all records to police agencies, the appropriate investigators of crime.

There are two simple, proven ways to make the church safer.

The first is legislation. We don't let Enron police itself. We can't let America's bishops police themselves. And the most important legislation is reforming the archaic, rigid and dangerously restrictive statutes of limitations. When sex crimes are handled by the independent professionals in law enforcement, not by bishops, everyone is safer.

The second is getting the names of the predators. Knowledge is power, and when we gain the knowledge of who is dangerous and who has been harboring the dangerous, then we can protect our families.

We in SNAP firmly believe that this is where the focus needs to be. If real change will ever happen, it will be because bishops lose the power to handle sex crimes in house and lose the power to keep the names of molesters secret. That's where our prevention efforts have been and will continue to be focused.

For more information:
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP Founder and President (312) 399 4747 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Coordinator 314 503 0003


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests