Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement


For Immediate Release: 
March 7, 2008

Statement by David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 314-566-9790

It's alarming that two of the nation's largest six dioceses are still failing to meet this simple, low bar (Boston and Rockville Centre/Long Island).

Six years after America's bishop pledged to make child safety their top priority, it is simply inexcusable that any bishop can't keep his simple promises.

We're especially upset that in Boston, church officials in 64 out of 295 parishes refuse to teach abuse prevention to kids. O'Malley has had six years to get them on board or devise alternative programs. But he tolerates recalcitrance and recklessness, while pretending to be helpless to stop them. It's disingenuous and dangerous.

At this premature juncture, it's irresponsible and reckless to assume clergy sex abuse is declining. There always has been and always will be a long delay between the time kids are actually molested and when they are able to report. Few patients report botched surgery while they're in the recovery room, and few children report child sex crimes while they're still children.

We can assume it's getting worse or better, but there's little, if any, solid basis for these views. Or we can be prudent and vigilant, and assume that this centuries old problem of predatory priests and corrupt bishops can't change overnight. We urge Catholics and citizens to err on the side of children's safety, not adults' complacency.

The bishops' sex abuse policy continues to essentially be a toothless tiger. It's vague, weak, and only sporadically enforced. (The 11 dioceses that are not in compliance won't experience any consequences for their failures or refusals. The Lincoln bishop who has basically ignored the whole process for five years now escapes any discipline or censure.) As a public relations maneuver, it's very effective. As a child safety tool, it's not.

(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
Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747
Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests