The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding Resignation of
Washington, DC Cardinal McCarrick


For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2006

Statement by Mark Serrano
SNAP National Board Member,
571-223-0042 703-727-4940

"Since the emergence of the clergy abuse scandals in 2002, Cardinal McCarrick has proudly proclaimed that the Archdiocese of Washington has had an abuse prevention policy since 1993.

Proving that his policy is not worth the paper it is written on, Cardinal McCarrick this year led a full-scale assault against legislation in Maryland that would have altered the statute of limitations. These statutes arbitrarily prevent justice for victims and deny the courts the chance to hold perpetrators, and the organizations that enable them, from being held accountable under the law.

It is truly sad that Cardinal McCarrick called his flock to action to fight legislation that would have provided justice for victims, and yet he never waged a full-scale campaign against perpetrators or to encourage parishioners to actively report concerns of abuse in the church.

In fact, in the past several months it was learned that Cardinal McCarrick even transferred a priest to Rhode Island while aware of allegations of sexual abuse against the priest. Father Aaron Joseph Cote was removed in August 2003 when allegations of abuse surfaced, but McCarrick transferred him to the Providence Archdiocese. Further, he kept the allegations secret and failed to inform parishioners at Mother Seton Parish where the alleged abuse occurred until a former altar boy filed a lawsuit against Cote.

Regarding Bishop Donald Wuerl

While Bishop Wuerl took aggressive steps with the Vatican to have one predator priest (Fr. Anthony Cipolla) from Pittsburgh defrocked, that was an isolated incident. His tenure in Pittsburgh was marked with equally aggressive public relations efforts to discourage victims from reporting crimes to police.

In 2004 Wuerl used diocesan funds to produce a half-hour television commercial discussing the sex abuse scandal which provided a "one-sided, spin-control" message. This program included a defense attorney who supports child molesters. Further, Wuerl used this expensive public relations stunt to encourage victims to contact the church rather than police and the independent support group, SNAP.

Later that year when Wuerl was confronted with allegations that a priest abused teenagers at a Catholic High School, Wuerl sent over 1,100 letters to former students encouraging anyone with information to report it to church officials rather than to police and child protection agencies.

Pennsylvania has unusually restrictive statutes of limitation which enable predators to escape prosecution. The claim that more victims haven't come forward in Pittsburgh is more likely attributed to these arbitrary limits under the law and the fact that other prosecutors have not impaneled a Grand Jury, as Philadelphia prosecutors did, rather than the suggestion that less children were abused in that Diocese.




Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests