Survivors and Advocates in DRC call for Zero Tolerance for Clergy Sex Abuse


MEDIA ALERT (page 4 en français)

[For Immediate Release, January 25, 2023; ]


Current Clergy Sex Abuse Cases in DRC Exposed


Historic Press Conference to be held on Eve of Pope’s visit to the DRC on Clergy Sex Abuse


Clergy sex abuse victims in Kinshasa call on Pope to help


Survivors and Advocates in DRC call for Zero Tolerance for Clergy Sex Abuse


For the first time in Africa, international activists will join with Congolese survivors and advocates in a press conference to highlight the failure of the Catholic Church to protect survivors and whistleblowers. 


Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo the week of January 31 to February 3, 2023. On Monday January 30, survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their advocates from the Congo, U.S. and Europe will be in Kinshasa to hold a press conference in order to:


  1. Share information regarding a current case of clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the DRC, including details on how the victim and her family have been silenced and the harm done to her advocates.  The victim and a witness are scheduled to testify by Zoom during the press conference.
  2. Expose corruption within the DRC judicial system that has benefitted church officials and perpetrators at the expense of the abused; 
  3. Insist Pope Francis enforce his recently enacted "apostolic letter"  by immediately removing and sanctioning abusive priests and their bishop enablers to send an important message to the continent of Africa that there is zero tolerance for clergy sex abuse and coverup.



Press conference details: 

WHEN: Monday January 30, 2 PM, West Africa Standard Time (and CET/Paris); 1PM London,  8AM US Eastern Time (New York),  5AM US Pacific Time (Los Angeles). Midnight, Sydney Time.  

WHERE: Hotel Leon, 41 avenue Luambo Makiadi, Gombe, Kinshasa (“Délices” room)

HOW:  In person and by Zoom (open to all) , link to register:

 (contact Marc Artzrouni (address below) for any question).   



Tim Law

Founding/Board Member, ECA

[email protected],   

Tel: +1-206-412-0165  

Denise Buchanan

Survivor, Founding/Board Member, ECA

[email protected],

Tel: +1-310-980-2770

Benjamin Kitobo 

Survivor, Founding Member, ECA

[email protected],

Tel: +1-314-482-0861

Come Musuluku

Victims’ lawyer, President, COME, Kinshasa

[email protected]

Tel: +243-817779450

Marc Artzrouni


SNAP Europe Representative

[email protected]

Tel: + 33 - 6 95 73 65 92

LANGUAGE: French with interpretation in English 


MORE INFO: In July 2022, the Washington Post published an extensive exposé  of an ongoing case in the DRC of clergy rape of a 14yr-old girl and the retaliation against whistleblowing nuns and a priest. The article shows how Catholic Church officials worked together in violation of recently enacted Church law to protect the accused rapist at the expense of his young victim and of the whistleblowers who are now in hiding in a nearby country in fear of their safety.



Tim Law is the co-founder of Ending Clergy Abuse and an attorney in Seattle, Washington, USA. He is a Catholic, and in 2014, he became active at the local level to confront his archdiocese on the issue of clergy abuse. In 2015, he met Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP, and was introduced to the national and international dimensions of clergy abuse in the Catholic Church. In 2017, Barbara Blaine, Tim and others conceived what became ECA in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018. ECA is an international association of survivors and advocates from 20+ countries and 6 continents whose mission is to compel the Vatican/Roman Catholic Church to protect children from clergy abuse and to promote justice for survivors. ECA played an important role in Rome at the 2019 Pope’s Summit on Clergy Abuse coordinating the voices of the international survivor/activists before the bishops and the world press promoting Zero Tolerance as an universal law of the Church.


Denise Buchanan

Denise Buchanan who is a Jamaican survivor of clergy sexual abuse, is a founding member of Ending Clergy Abuse and a board member.  She is a Psychoneurologist, University Professor, Child Protection Advocate, Sacred Garden Designer, International Speaker and Author. Denise has presented her case before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee Against Torture and was one of a few individuals who met with the Pope’s top Cardinals on the Clergy Sexual Abuse Issue. She is also the co-founder of the Get Business Smart Foundation in Jamaica which was created to train young people to develop a holistic approach to life through integrating mind-body-spirit.


Benjamin Kitobo was born and raised in Likasi, Zaire (now, the DRC). In 1980, at age 13, he began attending the minor seminary in the diocese of Kolwezi, with the hope of becoming a priest. He was raped and sexually assaulted there for four years by his teacher, Fr. Omer Verbeke, a Belgian missionary. In the 1990s, Kitobo emigrated to the USA and became a nurse. In 2002, he discovered that Verbeke, who had been sent back to Belgium, was still working with children. Kitobo filed a lawsuit, the priest admitted to the abuse, and the Belgian diocese of Ghent paid Kitobo a settlement of $25,000. Kitobo lives today with his wife and family in  St. Louis, Missouri.


Come Musuluku is a lawyer in Kinshasa, who defends victims of sexual violence and their families in the DRC.  He is the founder of "Club des Orateurs Majeurs Excellentissimes" ("Club of Major and Outstanding Orators"). COME is a newly established Congolese NGO whose goal is to provide legal and other assistance to victims of sexual abuse regardless of the setting: family, civil society, churches, etc.  Musuluku is working  with  ECA and SNAP  to bring up with the UN Human Rights Commission the case of victims of sexual abuse in the DRC.


Marc Artzrouni is SNAP’s Europe Representative,  based in France. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is the largest, oldest and most active US support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others). Marc is a French-American university professor emeritus who works closely with French and Swiss survivors organizations. He is particularly interested in improving the flow of information between such associations in Europe and those in America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. 


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