Victims Seek Church Whistleblowers
Victims seek church whistleblowers
Their case against Vatican in world court is still pending
Top church officials are accused of “crimes v. humanity”
SNAP: "Current & former Catholic employees MUST speak up"
“Pope can’t fix crisis alone, every one in church needs to act,” victims say
Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, a child sex abuse victim and advocate will
---call on current and former Catholic employees to “break their silence” and tell law enforcement officials what they know and suspect regarding child sex crimes and cover ups in the church, and
---discuss an unprecedented and still-pending case in the International Criminal Court against top Vatican officials for “crimes against humanity.”
Monday, March 18 at 11:00 a.m.
Orange Hotel, 86 Via Crescenzio 00193, Roma +39.06.6868969
A child sex abuse victim from the US, who is a leader of the US-based international support group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). Three of his brothers were also molested by the same priest. One of his brothers went on to become a priest and molest children.
An international support group for victims of clergy abuse is calling on church officials with knowledge or suspicions of child sex crimes and cover-ups in the church to “break their silence, call outside sources and help protect kids.”
Leaders of SNAP are calling on current or former Italian Catholic employees – particularly who work or have worked in the Vatican – to “share what they know or believe about church corruption and complicity – however old or slight or seemingly insignificant it may seem – with outside sources, especially law enforcement, watchdog NGOs and governmental inquiries.
SNAP will also discuss the unprecedented and still-pending case it has filed, with the help of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) to hold top Catholic officials accountable for clergy abuse cover-ups before the International Criminal Court at The Hague. http://ccrjustice.org/ICCVaticanProsecution
The case will proceed, SNAP says, regardless of Pope Benedict’s retirement and Pope Francis’ election.
The complaint seeks an investigation by the ICC prosecutor (Fatou B. Bensouda of Gambia) and alleges that top-ranking Vatican officials are committing crimes against humanity, including abetting and covering up the rape and sexual assault of children by clerics. Individual defendants named in the case include Benedict, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (current Vatican Secretary of State), Cardinal Angelo Sodano (current Dean of the College of Cardinals), Cardinal William Levada (former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).
SNAP and the CCR filed the case against Vatican officials in September 2011. In April 2012, the two groups submitted a supplemental filing to the court. In the initial filing, more than 20,000 pages of evidence were included. After the case was announced, SNAP heard from more than 500 new survivors from more than 60 countries.
“What we learned from the ICC case is that the crimes and cover ups are indeed current and global, and that victims across the world will step forward, if they believe that somehow their courage will result in greater safety for kids,” said David Clohessy, SNAP Director. “If some of those within the church who had information could come forward, this case could result in even more victims finding their voice and more crimes being exposed.”
SNAP believes that in order for the culture of secrecy to change, it must begin with those who have inside information coming forward.
“Whistleblowers are critical,” said Clohessy “and we beg anyone who has information to come forward, now, and begin to end this age-old pattern of putting prelate’s reputations ahead of children’s safety.”
In order to encourage whistleblowers to come forward, SNAP is also asking the Pope to create a “whistleblower fund” that would compensate any church employee – from cardinal to custodian – who comes forward with information about abuse, at least information that leads to successful criminal prosecution.
“We shouldn’t have to incentivize coming forward about the abuse of a child, but if it will help prevent abuse, we think that the pope should try it,” said Clohessy. “Radical reforms are needed if this centuries-old practice of endangering children and concealing crimes is to change.”
SNAP’s ICC complaint is part of a larger effort by abuse victims to prod secular authorities to step in and investigate and prosecute those in the church who commit and conceal child sex crimes. Two weeks ago, SNAP filed a 30 page report with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child that is highly critical of the Vatican’s past and current handling of clergy sex crimes. With this filing, SNAP is hoping the UN will investigate and initiate reforms in how the church deals with sex abuse claims.
http://www.ccrjustice.org/files/SNAP%20Shadow%20Report%20to%20UN%20CRC.pdf --- CCR/ SNAP shadow report on the Vatican's report to the Committee on the rights of the child
http://www.ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/survivors-network-of-those-abused-priests-v.-joseph-ratzinger%2C-et-al -- CCR's page on the ICC case
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/world/europe/14vatican.html --- article about when the case was first filed
CONTACT (in Italy) with SNAP: David Clohessy's Italian cell 334 791 2239 or 339 215 7504 ([email protected]) or at the Hotel Cambridge, Via Palestro 87, Rome 00185 (011 39 06 49384917) Room 122 (until Wednesday, 3/20)
CONTACT (in US) with CCR: Communications director Jen Nessel (212 614 6480, [email protected], [email protected]), Attorneys Pam Spees and Katherine Gallagher (212 614 6480, [email protected], [email protected])