Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, August 5, 2010

Philly Episcopal bishop's church conviction overturned; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)

(Suspended Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison, who ignored and/or concealed his brother's child sex crimes, has won reinstatement because a church court has deemed his offenses to be beyond the statute of limitations.)

This is just what shrewd and corrupt church officials do - relentlessly fighting, exploiting every possible legal maneuver, to cling to their precious power, even when their wrong-doing has been so clearly proven.

Our hearts ache for those victimized by both Bennison brothers - one who committed child sex crimes, the other who concealed child sex crimes. This must feel like a terrible blow to those brave victims. We hope that they will be comforted by the fact that their courage has helped show thousands of people what sick men these two alleged 'men of God' really are.

This is yet more proof that internal church processes are highly flawed and that it's best to report child sex crimes and cover ups through the criminal and civil justice systems. It's also more proof that statutes of limitations only protect wrong-doers and should be abolished.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members. 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

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747 cell), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)

Philly Episcopal bishop's church conviction overturned
Thursday, August 05, 2010
By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Charles Bennison has been reinstated as the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania following a church court ruling overturning his conviction on charges of covering up a sexual relationship between his brother, also a priest, and a 14-year-old girl in California more than 30 years ago.

Bishop Bennison was tried before a church court in June 2008 and charged with conduct unbecoming a clergyman. He argued that he didn't know about the sexual relationship, but the lower court determined otherwise.

He appealed. In May, the bishop appeared before the church court of appeals, composed of eight bishops from around the nation. Last night, the bishop was informed that court members had reversed the lower court's decision.

Bishop Bennison leads a five-county area around Philadelphia.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests