Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Vatican sex abuse suit is filed in Chicago; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President 312 399 4747 [email protected]

In abuse and cover up cases, little is changing in the Catholic hierarchy. So if kids are to be safer, new approaches must be tried. It makes sense to try and hold Vatican officials responsible for the actions of bishops appointed by Vatican officials and priests who do the Vatican’s bidding.

The McCormack case is one of the most egregious, harmful, and clearly-documented cover ups in recent years. Of all the US clergy sex cases that can legitimately be laid at the Vatican’s doorstep, this is one of the most disturbing.

Guess what happened to every publicly-identified Catholic employee who suspected, knew of, or could have stopped McCormack’s hundreds of child sex crimes but didn’t? Each of them has since been promoted:

Only one has suffered any negative consequences: the female principal who actually called the police. She was forced out of her church job.

Given these facts, it’s clear that any real change in the church hierarchy must start at the top: the Vatican.

And keep in mind that the McCormack case isn’t a mistake. It’s a pattern. Consider these other sexual misconduct cases that have been mishandled in the Chicago Archdiocese since 2002:

- In January 2003, six months after promising reforms, one of America’s top church officials, Cardinal Francis George, let Fr. Ken Martin work in Chicago and live in the Cardinal’s mansion, even though Martin was convicted of molesting a child in Delaware. George initially claimed he didn't know about Martin's past. Later, George's spokesman split hairs, claiming the church's sex abuse guidelines deal with only priests, and since Martin abused when he was a seminarian, the guidelines didn't apply- In February 2005, Fr. Michael T. Yakaitis worked at the University of Chicago's Catholic Center, despite admitting sexual misconduct with a teenager years ago. A victim reported Yakaitis' exploitation and manipulation to at least seven church officials. But George let the abuser stay in ministry until this was publicly exposed.

- In March 2004, twice-suspended abusive priest Fr. John Calicott was caught working, living and teaching sex education to kids at his old parish, with the full knowledge of the pastor. George slapped Calicott on the hand, but refused to discipline or censure the pastor, Fr. George Miller, who knowingly put children in harm's way and violated the US bishops' national abuse policy.

- In October 2005, George refused to discipline or warn others about Father Elijah Martin who seduced a young woman, fathered her child, ignored her, and refused to pay child support. Martin’s direct superiors also refused to give the mom any information about the priest’s whereabouts. George washed his hands of this controversy, despite repeated requests by our group to show compassion.

We could go on and on and on. . . .

So if Cardinal Francis George, who was appointed by Vatican officials and who reports to Vatican officials, acts so recklessly with the safety of innocent kids and vulnerable adults, Vatican officials should be held responsible for his irresponsible misdeeds.

And keep in mind that each of these mishandled cases happened years after church officials adopted alleged abuse “reforms.”

So we applaud the brave victim who is bringing this suit and hope it will inspire others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups into working harder to expose the truth and protect the children.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]).

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests