Special Master Rules Against Transparency in Saints Email Case, SNAP Reacts

We are disappointed that a court-appointed special master has chosen to avoid bringing “embarrassment and public scrutiny” to public relations staffers who reportedly helped the Archdiocese of New Orleans cultivate its woefully inadequate list of accused priests. This case deserved the openness and transparency that will better protect children and support survivors, not concerns about the reputations of the powerful. We hope the judge will reject the special master’s recommendation and instead release the emails to the public.

We agree with the AP that the emails between the PR staff for the New Orleans Saints and the Archdiocese of New Orleans are of significant public interest, especially since these staffers are said to have helped the Archdiocese of New Orleans shape its list of accused clerics, as well as its strategy for informing the public about these men.

The special master argued that the release would bring “public scrutiny” to those involved. Good. That is exactly what should happen because without public scrutiny the powerful are able to keep their secrets at the expense of the vulnerable and powerless. This story is yet another example of the continuing secrecy that we expect from the institutional Catholic Church and its enablers.

If we truly want to protect children and end the scourge of sexual violence, we need to be promoting openness, not hiding from it. We hope the judge in this case will reject the special master’s recommendations and instead allow sunlight into places that the powerful would prefer to remain shrouded in darkness.

CONTACT: Kevin Bourgeois, SNAP New Orleans (neworleans@snapnetwork.org, 504-376-5445), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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