The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, May 26, 2011
SNAP comments on just-revealed damning church document
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, [email protected])
Independently of “Tony’s Kansas City” blog, we have obtained and verified the authenticity of a just-disclosed damning memo by a Catholic school principal to church officials about repeated inappropriate behavior by Fr. Shawn Ratigan around kids at a parochial school. We can think of few church records that have been released over the past several years that are more shocking.
This is a real “smoking gun.” More than a year ago, and more than six months before he tried to commit suicide and was caught with child porn, top KC diocesan staff knew of serious, credible complaints and concerns by teachers and parents about Ratigan. Yet inexplicably, the church hierarchy apparently took no action to protect kids or get help for Ratigan.
The overwhelming majority of once-secret church documents like this – that so clearly show callousness and recklessness in the face of on-going troubling behavior by a predatory priest – date back years and years. But this is a very recent memo. And an extremely worrisome one. It’s alarming that allegedly spiritual men can ignore warning sign after warning sign after warning sign.
The inaction of top church staff, in the face of such evidence, once again shows that almost nothing has changed about how church officials deal with reports of child sex crimes.
We hope this memo will put to rest any lingering naïve hopes that the diocese is willing or able to reform itself. We hope it will inspire others with information or suspicions about clergy sexual misdeeds to call police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups, rather than church officials.
(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, [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