VA--Vatican names new northern VA bishop; Victims respond

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790314 645 5915 home,

We’re disappointed in the Vatican’s choice for Arlington’s new bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina (who replaces Bishop Paul S. Loverde). Burbidge has shown no leadership whatsoever in the church’s continuing child sex abuse and cover up crisis.

In 2013, Burbidge ignored us when we begged him to warn his flock about Fr. Raymond Melville, a credibly accused predator priest from Maine who now lives in North Carolina.

Just last year, Burbidge tried to deny a child sex abuse victim his day in court.

Thirty US bishops have posted predators’ names on church websites. Burbidge refuses to take this simple, inexpensive, common sense step to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Often, when a Catholic official retires and is replaced, many parishioners and parents assume the new guy will be better than the old guy when it comes to children’s safety. That’s a reckless assumption. Complacency endangers kids. Continued vigilance protects kids.

No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

(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 20,000 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,, Barbara Dorris(314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,

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