Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fairbanks bishop claims he’s protecting church assets. He’s not. He’s protecting his reputation.

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)

The Fairbanks bishop claims he’s protecting church assets. He’s not. He’s protecting his reputation.

If money was indeed, the issue, Kettler had many options he never pursued.
He could have revealed his diocese’s wealth, to show he’s poor. He didn’t.
He could have sought a bank loan, if need be (like Orange County). He didn’t.
He could have sought a loan from church sources (like Boston). He didn’t.
He could have asked his flock to donate toward healing. He didn’t.
He could have asked for a gradual payment of any settlement. He didn’t.
He could have sued the recalcitrant insurers. He didn’t.
Instead, he took the self-serving, coward’s way out.
Instead of disclosing the truth, he’s hiding it.
Instead of fostering healing, he’s delaying it.
Instead of moving his diocese forward, he’s holding it back.

Why? So he avoids the hot seat. So he can keep hiding behind his PR team. So he can stay safe in his office. So he’ll never have to disclose, in open court and under oath – how much he KNEW and how little he DID about pedophile priests, nuns, seminarians, and other church employees.

Bishop Kettler clearly was hell-bent from Day 1 to avoid taking the oath, facing the questions, and disclosing the secrets.

So we’re here today with two messages.

First, to our brothers and sisters in pain and recovery, the hundreds of Alaska men and women who have suffered and are suffering because of abusive priests and complicit bishops. . . .

Be proud of what you’ve achieved and are achieving. You are getting better. You and are exposing predators. You are making this church and this community a healthier, safer place.

Ignore Kettler’s shameless attempt to scapegoat you. Know that your courage and your persistence are inspiring to victims across the country.

Stay in recovery programs, support groups and therapy. Kettler’s shrewd, self serving legal maneuver may feel like a setback. But you are getting better, doing what’s right, and helping others in the process.

Second, to Bishop Kettler. . .You may claim your bankruptcy filing isn’t a ‘cop out.’ Yet you basically consulted with only a handful of your flock before launching this long, arduous, costly legal struggle. The least you can do now is to get out from behind your desk, show your face, and meet with your parishioners in the weeks ahead. We challenge you to hold open question and answer sessions, with us, in every deanery in this diocese.

What happens now? Now, through the well-crafted words and careful-honed PR moves, Kettler will issue platitudes about wanting all victims to be treated equally, while playing legal hardball and actually treating all victims harshly.

He’ll spend literally millions of hard-earned and generously-given donations from decent Catholics on high-priced lawyers who will protect him and his secrets.

And this may well drag on for months or years, postponing healing, disclosure, openness, and protection.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 7,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests