The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding Sexual Harrassment Allegations in Boston Archdiocese


May 23, 2006

RELATED News Story: Caritas Chief Faces New Accusations

Statement by Ann Hagan Webb of Wellesley,
SNAP New England Co-Coordinator,
781-239-1182, 617-513-8442 cell

Regardless of what O'Malley or the Caritas board does, it's time for Boston's Catholics to act.

Our hearts ache for the women who have obviously been sexually harrassed by Dr. Robert Haddad. We are grateful to them for their courage. Because they are coming forward, the public is being reminded of what we experience every day - that 'reform' by the church hierarchy is still largely window dressing, and that despite decades of staggering scandal, very little has changed in this archdiocese.

The powerful still receive preference, the powerless get promises.

The growing scandal at Caritas involves O'Malley as much or more than it does Haddad O'Malley's behavior is "textbook bishop" - ignore the credible whistleblower, try to handle the mess quietly, keep the scandal at arm's length, have lawyers publicly minimize the harm, give the perpetrator the slightest consequence possible, pray more victims don't surface, act surprised when they do, and expect lay people to correct the situation, instead of showing true courage and leadership yourself.

In recent years, many Boston Catholics broke decades of deference to the hierarchy, finally joining with sex abuse victims to insist on more compassion and openness by bishops.

But the overwhelming majority of Boston Catholics stayed silent and have yet to take effective action to express their disgust at the hierarchy.

Now, we beg them to act:

-- publicly speak up about the archdiocese's continued obsession with secrecy and protection of the accused over sympathy for the accusers,

-- donate this weekend to Voice of the Faithful or other independent reform groups instead of to the church,

-- contribute to social service agencies, Catholic or non-Catholic, instead of the church, and

-- join legislative efforts to repeal both criminal and civil statutes of limitation on sex abuse crimes, and elimination of the $20,000 charitable immunity cap for sex abuse crimes, so that the vast power of bishops to mishandle abuse cases is curtailed.

For more information
Bill Gately of Plymouth, SNAP New England Co-Coordinator 508 524 4179
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790




Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests