Vatican--US group praises Ballarat abuse victims in Rome for Pell testimony

For immediate release, February 27, 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, )

The leaders and members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are grateful to and empowered by our fellow Australian survivors now in Rome for the testimony of ex-Melbourne Archbishop George Pell. We admire them for their courage and resourcefulness and hope their trip brings them healing and inspires hope and bravery in other survivors across the globe. 

The importance of the presence of this group of survivors at the Vatican's door-step cannot be over-stated.  Pell, the Pope, and all within the Vatican have a responsibility to their followers and the world to show - by actions, not words - that they are in support of victims and survivors. To do this, they must expose and punish ALL those within their institution who have or are committing or concealing sexual violence. And that will only happen when victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, parishioners and secular authorities follow the lead of these brave Australian survivors and publicly pressure the church hierarchy to reform.

Soon Pell will answer questions via video link to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. We hope he’ll be honest but suspect he won’t be. But no matter what Pell does or doesn’t do, these brave Ballarat victims have already won, by making this trip, regaining their power, and showing the world what a fraud the third highest ranking Catholic official on earth is.

As the oldest and largest organization of clergy abuse survivors, we in SNAP have promoted healing and justice for survivors world-wide and protection of children and vulnerable adults from future clerical abuses. When we get discouraged, we are buoyed by the strength, courage and persistence shown by these dedicated Ballarat survivors.

We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Contacts - David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director (1-314-566-9790 cell, ); Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director (1-314-503-0003 cell,; Steven Spaner, SNAP Australia volunteer coordinator (1-636-433-2511,

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. Founded in 1988, we have more than 20,000 members world-wide. Despite the word ”priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations and leaders of social organizations (including nuns, rabbis, bishops, Protestant ministers, Elders, Scout leaders, coaches, to name a few). Our website is

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