The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Belgian bishop might be charged; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
We’ve seen this pattern over and over again. Brave victims come forward. Prosecutors claim they’re helpless. A bad situation gets worse. Public pressure builds. Then, prosecutors reconsider pressing charges.
It shouldn’t be this way. Because child sex crimes are so devastating and so likely to be repeated, law enforcement officials must be creative and persistent right from the start, investigating every possible criminal charge against the predator. Prosecutors should research the law exhaustively and outreach to other victims extensively before telling a courageous victim “We can’t pursue criminal charges against the child molester who assaulted you.”
There are two crucial lessons here.
First, it shouldn’t take a world-wide media frenzy to prod law enforcement to act against powerful men who commit, ignore and conceal child sex crimes.
Second, victims should continue coming forward to police and prosecutors, even when it may seem like the chances of any real action are slim. When victims, witnesses and whistleblowers find the courage to speak up, at least there’s a chance for prevention, justice, and healing. But when we stay quiet, nothing changes, and predators keep on hurting kids.
Finally, the Vatican claims it’s trying to figure out how to “punish” this predator prelate. Frankly, we’re less interested in punishment and more interested in prevention. The Vatican should start severely chastising him, and threatening to defrock him, unless he immediately reports to and stays in a remote, independent, secure treatment facility for sex offenders.
(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 23 years and have more than 10,000 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 SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Prosecutors considering new pedophilia charge against former Belgian bishop
By: The Associated Press
BRUSSELS - The prosecutor's office in Belgium says it is considering filing a new pedophilia charge against a former Belgian bishop who already has admitted abusing two nephews.
The new complaint centres on allegations that Roger Vangheluwe and another priest sexually abused two young altar boys during a camp several decades ago, said Wenke Rogge, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office.
In a televised interview last week, Vangheluwe sought to minimize his abuse against the two nephews. He was forced to resign one year ago when he admitted sexually abusing one nephew for 13 years until he was 18. Vangheluwe has left the country for counselling.
The Vatican has ordered him to stop working as a priest while it determines his punishment.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests