Geneva- Second statement by clergy abuse victims regarding UN report

For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014

Statement by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (414-429-7259, [email protected])

It's utterly tragic that a respected international panel of experts feels, in 2014, compelled to tell Catholic officials that they must “Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution.”

That is, of course, common sense and common decency. That the church hierarchy must be told this is damning. 

It's striking that the United Nations panel stresses that the Vatican' wrongdoing is on-going. Some Catholic officials and their public relations teams try very hard to pretend that they're “reforming.” This report shows that's largely deception. 

Here are five of the panels' most important findings

1) The Vatican “still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children.”

(This is, in our view, a dreadful understatement. Hundreds of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics still hold church jobs or are around kids. Only a tiny fraction of credibly accused and suspended child molesting priests, nuns, bishops, brothers and seminarians are monitored by church officials (and even then, not monitored well). An even smaller group are ever criminally prosecuted. So most sex offender clergy remain either on the job or unsupervised.) 

2) The Vatican “has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests, as observed by several national commissions of inquiry." and has “policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.” 

3) On “numerous occasions,” the Vatican “has refused to cooperate with law enforcement authorities and to disclose information requested by prosecutors and national commissions of inquiry”

4) The Vatican “has signed treaties with certain States, notably Italy, which guarantee areas of immunity from prosecution to Vatican officials, including for bishops and priests accused of offences.”

5) The Vatican should “promote the reform of statute of limitations in countries where they impede victims of child sexual abuse from seeking justice.” (In reality, time and time again, Catholic officials have fought hard against this simple reform.)

The panel flatly rejected Vatican officials' claims that: 

– it doesn't control priests across the planet ("child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide".

--it is responsible only for abuse and cover up on actual Vatican property in Rome.

Still, we expect virtually no change at the Vatican. Catholic officials have long proven that they are immune to pressure, whether from secular institution or its own members.

But we do hope. 

And we believe.

We are deeply grateful to every single victim of Catholic clerics across the globe who has found the strength to break their silence and report their abuse to anyone. This is a vindication for every one of us.

We are especially grateful to our supporters, like the Center for Constitutional Rights, who are helping tremendously to safeguard children and expose corruption.

But we are sobered by this report, which painfully reminds us of just how selfish, reckless and recalcitrant the ancient, rigid, secretive Catholic hierarchy remains, even under Pope Francis. 

Finally, a more fair a process would be hard to imagine. This is an independent panel of international experts who didn't unilaterally launch this effort. They simply did their jobs, investigating thoroughly, listening to victims and Vatican officials, and responding to a treaty willingly signed by top Catholic officials who knew that someday, this reckoning would come. 

NOTE - The BBC wrongly reports “The Vatican has set up a commission to fight child abuse in the Church.” This is false. Months ago, Pope Francis hastily announced, through a spokesman, that he plans to set up such a commission. But he has not done so.

(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 25 years and have more than 15,000 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 Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, [email protected])


Showing 5 comments

  • John Stefanyszyn
    commented 2014-02-06 10:35:39 -0600
    Vatican turns to “its religious freedom” to protect itself from UN abuse accusation.

    Ref.: “Vatican ‘must immediately remove’ child abusers – UN” BBC Feb 5, 2014
    “….The UN watchdog for children’s rights denounced the Holy See for adopting policies which allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children.
    ….But the Vatican said that…“it regrets to see…an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom” and “reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child… according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine”.
    ….Barbara Blaine, president of a group representing US victims of abuse by priests, told the BBC that the UN report “reaffirms …and shows that the Vatican has put the reputation of Church officials above the protection of children.”

    WHICH BELIEF does the Vatican ( the church of general values of Rome) turn to for protection?…..they have confessed that it is its exercise of religious freedom….its freedom of self-rights……It does that which is right in its own eyes. It believes that it is right to protect itself and its pedophile priests. It believes in its self-interest…to serve and magnify the “self” (XES).

    Keep in mind that the “pedophile priests” are just the tip of the iceberg.….how about the protection of?….the priests that fornicate with “of age girls”, with married women, with prostitutes, that have caused abortions, that fornicate with other men, that are corrupt for money, that are corrupt for political power, that lie, that are alcoholics, that take on the title of “Father”.

    BUT above all of these, is their belief that it is RIGHT (a right) to be free to worship ANY ‘god’….as Jorge Bergoglio (and his predecessors) have confessed that “religious freedom” is right and good.

    President Obama has confessed that this “SELF-FREEDOM” is the “LIGHT” of man’s righteousness and that this same “FREEDOM” is the “will” of his ‘god’… of fortresses.

    It is clear that Christ is not their first love…that their first love is instead their “freedom”….and that this is the mark on their forehead.

    BUT soon, the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Only God, will rule the earth in power according to and in obedience to the Will of the Only God and NOT according to man’s love for “his self justified freedom”.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-05 13:49:14 -0600
    I came back to comment that just because I think the cleric pedophiles in the church may believe the lies of denial they must certainly constantly tell themselves, I do NOT BELIEVE THAT IN ANY WAYEXCUSESTHEIR ACTIONS and/or those actions or non-actions of the catholic heirarchy. And, although I haven’t yet committed to memory, the three different places in the Bible (as in Matthew 18) wherein Christ is quoted as saying: “Whoever causes one of these little ones* who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7* Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!, I have again looked these up in the Bible so that I can say again, that these offenders are criminals and these are egregious crimes that we should (even, and no less, on the advice of Christ), ultimately seek conviction, and the death penalty of these perpetrators and sentencing lengthy sentences to enablers, no matter what their “standing” and “position” in the catholic church. It is too sickening to thinking of “praying through an earthly representative of Christ” who in fact not only allows, but enables and thus, ENCOURAGES such heinous crimes against humanity.

    Or, if you prefer, In the words of a long ago children’s story title “The Emperor Has No Clothes”, we can no longer refrain from audibly stating the obvious. Again I say, these acts by the catholic church and its heirarchy are in fact, heinous crimes against humanity and the righteous and survivors should tell all to seriously consider and believe these words of their own Christ. If they want to take the words of Christ literally, then let them do so! Let them publicly try and convict and then put millstones around the necks of convicted cleric pedophiles, one by one, and drown them in the depths of the sea. Now.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-05 13:08:41 -0600
    “It’s utterly tragic that a respected international panel of experts feels, in 2014, compelled to tell Catholic officials that they must “Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution.”

    That is, of course, common sense and common decency. That the church hierarchy must be told this is damning."

    Ordinarily, I would agree with you that the church hierarchy must be told this is damning. But, I think history shows us that not only is the catholic church hierarchy not inclined ever to think of themselves as “damned”, but let alone as being, truly fallible and culpable.

    I think that a state of permanent lying to themselves, must be part and parcel of an active pedophile’s existance. And that it’s quite possible that after many years of perpetuating and re-telling the lie to themself, but others, that they actually come to believe it. They actually come to believe that there is nothing wrong with and nothing criminal about what they do. How they survive that particular, peculiar and criminal mindset, is nearly unfathomable.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-05 11:58:47 -0600
    Personally, I believe it would be extremely good and would continue to carry the fight forward if these well written articles (otherwise known as “comments”) posted by SNAP leaders, Mr. Peter Isely, Mrs. Blaine, Mrs. Dorris and Mr. Clohessy, could and would be publicly printed and otherwise published, just as the first report on the UN’s commttee findings, was reported in the New York Times today. I believe the inherant knowledge of the problem that you possess and the simple and truthful logic of your responses (if nothing else), of the SNAP cause must be made known and heard BEYOND this website. Unlike Alcohlics Anonymous, I believe that the SNAP organization deserves to be recognized by all of the people and leaders of our country, and in fact, the world. I think this, because the catholic pedophiles and Catholic heirarchy, as well as the secular pedophiles and enablers, can be stopped from continuing their perversions and their ongoing pursuit of power, with a massive conserted effort to stop them.
    Please, please Mr. Peter Isely, Mrs. Blaine, Mrs. Dorris and Mr. Clohessy submit your comments to the New York Times and all other legitimate, news outlets. We can’t mover forward as effectively if the majority of your fine efforts are in effect “preaching to the choir”.
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