SNAP’s clergy abuse victims mark 25 years and eye new targets

August 4, 2014 Comments Off on SNAP’s clergy abuse victims mark 25 years and eye new targets

SNAP’s clergy abuse victims mark 25 years and eye new targets

By David Gibson Religion News Service July 29, 2014

When victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests first organized into a small band of volunteer activists in the late 1980s, reports of clergy molesting children were still new and relatively few. Most were minimized as anomalies or dismissed altogether — much the way the victims were.

But today, as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, marks its 25th anniversary at a conference in Chicago (Aug. 1-3), its members can take satisfaction in seeing that its claims have been validated, and a few (though hardly all) of its recommendations have been implemented by the church hierarchy.

And instead of facing constant verbal attacks and the occasional angry parishioner spitting on them at a protest, SNAP’s members today are far more likely to receive a handshake and a word of thanks, and maybe even a donation.

SNAP’s advocacy on the Catholic scandal also helped push the reality of sexual abuse into the public consciousness to the point that victims can regularly win in courts and get a hearing in the media, and they are much more likely to come forward to tell their stories, whether they were abused by clergy or by athletic coaches or Boy Scout leaders….

The group began life in the late 1980s, a couple of years after journalists — led by Jason Berry’s reporting on abusive clerics in Louisiana — began to pull back the veil of secrecy on the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.

As the reports came to light, Barbara Blaine, a lawyer and social worker who had been molested by a priest when she was growing up in Toledo, Ohio, started contacting as many other victims as she could find, posting ads and asking prosecutors and attorneys to put her in touch with other victims.

SNAP soon developed a core membership of a few thousand people, mainly victims, who met in small support groups while also trying to push the issue onto the public agenda. It was a tough slog in the face of public indifference or outright hostility.

Then in January 2002, The Boston Globe began its groundbreaking series of exposes on the widespread abuse of children by priests in the Boston archdiocese, and the cover-up by bishops. The story caught fire and led to similar revelations across the nation and to an unprecedented level of media coverage, prosecutions, lawsuits and billions in payouts by dioceses….
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/snaps-clergy-abuse-victims-mark-25-years-and-eye-new-targets/2014/07/29/6bc92466-1752-11e4-88f7-96ed767bb747_story.html

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Did Pope Francis really say 2% of Catholic clergy are pedophiles?, Rome- Pope estimates # of predator priests, A woman is raped every 90 minutes in Zimbabwe, Butler-Sloss steps down from child abuse inquiry

July 15, 2014 Comments Off on Did Pope Francis really say 2% of Catholic clergy are pedophiles?, Rome- Pope estimates # of predator priests, A woman is raped every 90 minutes in Zimbabwe, Butler-Sloss steps down from child abuse inquiry

Did Pope Francis really say 2% of Catholic clergy are pedophiles?
By Lauren Raab July 13, 2014

An interview that credits Pope Francis as saying about 2% of Roman Catholic clerics are pedophiles stirred controversy Sunday, as the Vatican sought to raise questions about the article’s accuracy and others called on the pope to take more action on the issue.

The interview by Eugenio Scalfari, published Sunday, quotes the pope as calling the rash of sex abuse scandals “a leprosy in our home” and saying the pedophiles include “priests and even bishops and cardinals,” according to a CBS News translation….

Meanwhile, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the “real percentage of predator priests” is much higher than 2% and called on the pope to defrock clerics who participate in cover-ups….

At a United Nations hearing this year, the Vatican said it had defrocked 848 priests over the last decade and ordered 2,572 to “live a life of prayer and penance” because of abuse allegations. There are about 414,000 Roman Catholic priests worldwide, according to the BBC; if 2% are pedophiles, that would be more than 8,000….
http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-wn-pope-francis-pedophile-priests-20140713-story.html

Rome- Pope estimates # of predator priests
For immediate release: Sunday, July 13, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

….Finally, “U.S. bishops have reported receiving allegations of abuse by 6,427 priests in 1950-2013, or 5.9% of the 109,694 U.S. priests active 1950-2002, according to the John Jay report. Including the 5,356 priests ordained since 2002 brings the total to 115,050, of whom 5.6% have been accused of abuse,” according to BishopAccountability.org.

Here are more specific numbers, from BishopAccountability.org:

–After the March 2009 release of audit documents by the NH AG, the names of 74 accused Manchester priests are known, or over 8.9% of the 831 diocesan priests, which extrapolates to 9,768 nationally

–Covington diocese states that 9.6% of its priests have been accused, which extrapolates to 10,531 nationally

–Over 10% of Providence RI priests have been accused, which extrapolates to over 10,969 nationally

–Richard Sipe estimates that 9% of U.S. priests have offended, which extrapolates to 9,872 priests nationally….
http://www.snapnetwork.org/rome_pope_estimates_of_predator_priests

A woman is raped every 90 minutes in Zimbabwe – ZimStat
by Staff Reporter 13 July 2014

AT least one woman is raped every 90 minutes in the country, preliminary statistics of the first quarter of 2014 leaked from the Zimbabwe National Statistics (ZimStat) office have revealed.The data shows that about 500 women were sexually abused monthly in the first three months of the year, translating to about 16 women being raped daily.

A total of 1 524 cases were reported in the first three months of this year, up from 1 285 recorded in the same period last year.

Of the total cases recorded in the first quarter of this year, 780 are children between the ages of 11 and 16 years while 276 were children aged between five and 10 years….

National Aids Council (NAC) Gender and Workplace co-ordinator, Ms Vimbai Mdege, expressed sadness at the indication that the majority of sexual abuse victims were children under the age of 16….

“….If you look at the figures you will see that the majority of the victims of rape are children under the age of 16. Most of the rape cases are for ritual purposes….”
http://www.bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-50485.html

Butler-Sloss steps down from child abuse inquiry  14 July 2014
Retired judge Baroness Butler-Sloss has stepped down as head of a probe into child sex abuse saying she was “not the right person” for the job.

Lady Butler-Sloss has been under pressure to quit from MPs and victims concerned about her family links.

Her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was attorney general in the 1980s….
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28295282

Clergy Abuse Victims Criticize Cardinal Dolan’s Lobbying Efforts In Albany, Archdiocese must make priest abuse files public, judge rules, Clergy Abuse Documentary ‘BASTA’ to Premier at Boston International Film Festival on Easter Sunday

March 21, 2014 Comments Off on Clergy Abuse Victims Criticize Cardinal Dolan’s Lobbying Efforts In Albany, Archdiocese must make priest abuse files public, judge rules, Clergy Abuse Documentary ‘BASTA’ to Premier at Boston International Film Festival on Easter Sunday

“This is a global epidemic which needs, and deserves, global awareness. There are 60 million adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse living in the United States alone. Survivors need to know that they are not alone and above all, there is always hope.”

Clergy Abuse Victims Criticize Cardinal Dolan’s Lobbying Efforts In Albany  BY Glenn Blain  March 19, 2014

Victims of clergy sex abuse are criticizing  Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s efforts to boost charitable donations to schools.

Mary Caplan, co-director of the New York City chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued a statement Wednesday blasting Dolan for lobbying Albany lawmakers this week to approve tax credits for those who donate to schools or other education-related groups.

“When they want money for their institutions, Catholic officials lobby hard and say they care deeply about kids,” Caplan said. “But when kids who were abused want a chance for justice, Catholic officials lobby hard to deny those kids their day in court. All across the US, Dolan and his brother bishops use all their political will and power and resources to block moves to reform archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations laws that endanger kids and protect those who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes.”
http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2014/03/clergy-abuse-victims-criticize-cardinal-dolans-lobbying-efforts-in-albany

Archdiocese must make priest abuse files public, judge rules
JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune March 19, 2014

Judge tells the Twin Cities archdiocese to release all info about those credibly accused of sex abuse from 1970 to 1985.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis must reveal hundreds of pages of information on priests accused of sexually abusing children, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North rejected church efforts to keep most of the documents under court seal, ordering that all information on priests who were “credibly accused” of abuse between 1970 and 1985 be filed with the court by March 31.

Information on priests whom the church determined were not “credibly” accused will remain sealed, Van de North ruled….
http://www.startribune.com/local/east/250859931.html

Clergy Abuse Documentary ‘BASTA’ to Premier at Boston International Film Festival on Easter Sunday
Merrimack Valley Production has announced that BASTA – No pity – No shame – No silence- has been selected to premiere at the Boston International Film Festival on Easter Sunday April 20th at Loews Theatre/AMC Boston Common on Tremont Street.

“This is a global epidemic which needs, and deserves, global awareness. There are 60 million adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse living in the United States alone. Survivors need to know that they are not alone and above all, there is always hope.”

Boston Massachusetts (PRWEB) March 18, 2014

BASTA, a film documenting the emotional journey taken by simple men detailing their attempts to reach into the Vatican walls in search of help, hope and aid in healing a nation reeling from the effects of the clergy abuse crisis, will premiere at the Boston International Film Festival on Sunday, April 20th.

Attempting to battle the cover-up, shame and silence of clergy sexual abuse, three survivors from Boston Massachusetts, travel to Rome reaching behind the secret walls of The Vatican. Their weeklong effort becomes a decade long mission that exposes mind blowing statistics and unexpected worldwide results.
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11674500.htm

Basta is a film documenting the story of the emotional journey taken by simple men detailing their attempts to reach behind and beyond the Vatican walls in search of help, hope and aid in healing a nation reeling from the effects of the clergy abuse scandal.
A decade after starting on a personal journey for justice, one man finds that success isn’t always defined by achieving his goal, sometimes, it’s defined by the attempt itself. And sometimes, in that attempt, you also find out who you are.
http://www.bastathemovie.com/About_The_Film.html

Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up

June 16, 2013 Comments Off on Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up

Pope Benedict XVI International Criminal Court Investigation Requested By Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Rejected
AP  By RACHEL ZOLL  06/13/2013

NEW YORK — The International Criminal Court has rejected a longshot request by clergy sex abuse victims to investigate former Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican cardinals for possible crimes against humanity.

The tribunal, based in The Hague, told attorneys for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests that “there is not a basis at this time to proceed with further analysis.”

“The matters described in your communication do not appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the court,” a court official wrote in a May 31 letter to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the nonprofit legal group that represents the victims. The legal organization released the letter Thursday.

Jeffrey Lena, the U.S. attorney for the Vatican, had called the 2011 request to the court a “ludicrous publicity stunt.”

“The common thread running through all these cases is the mistaken idea that ‘everything is controlled by Rome,'” Lena said Thursday.

Pam Spees, senior staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said her group was confident it could collect enough evidence as new abuse victims come forward to press the tribunal to reconsider.

The odds against the court opening an investigation have been enormous. The prosecutor has received more than 9,700 independent proposals for inquiries since 2002, when the court was created as the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, and has never opened a formal investigation based solely on such a request….
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/13/pope-benedict-international-criminal-court-_n_3436720.html

Int’l court case against ex-pope fizzles
By RACHEL ZOLL  AP Religion Writer  Thursday, 06.13.13
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/13/3449145/intl-court-case-against-ex-pope.html


Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN June 13, 2013
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has decided not to investigate or prosecute the former pope and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church on allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Victims of sexual abuse filed a complaint in 2011 asking the court to prosecute Benedict XVI, then the pope, and three other Vatican officials for what they called an international and systemic cover-up of sexual abuse that amounted to “crimes against humanity.”

The court responded in a letter dated May 31 that after analyzing the complaint, it had determined that the matters “do not appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the court.” The letter said that “some of the allegations” fell outside the court’s jurisdiction, which is to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In addition, the case did not appear to meet the court’s time limits. For the most part, the court may prosecute only crimes committed after it was constituted in July 2002, and even though the cases submitted by the victims involved more recent allegations, some of the supporting material predated 2002….
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/world/europe/hague-court-declines-inquiry-into-church-abuse-cover-up.html

Church’s Lawyers Have SNAP in Their Sights, global online pedophile network

March 23, 2012 Comments Off on Church’s Lawyers Have SNAP in Their Sights, global online pedophile network

Church’s Lawyers Have SNAP in Their Sights – Victims’ advocacy group’s national director speaks to RD about a flurry of subpoenas, and fears of ongoing harassment
By Kathryn Joyce     March 16, 2012

In October, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the oldest, largest, and most visible peer counseling group for victims of clergy sex abuse in any denomination, received a subpoena from a Kansas City, Missouri, priest being prosecuted for sexually abusing an older male victim SNAP has never met. The subpoena demanded a sweeping range of documents and correspondence concerning thousands of the estimated 100,000-plus people SNAP has counseled over two decades.

In December, the group received a second subpoena from the other side of the state, from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, facing its own charges concerning the alleged abuse of a 19-year-old woman. SNAP has fought the requests, citing Missouri laws protecting the privacy of rape survivors, and describing the records-request as a coordinated Church effort to bully sex abuse victims into silence and harass a longtime opponent into bankruptcy.

While the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has denied that there is a national strategy for the Church to fight sex abuse cases more aggressively, even the Church’s staunchest defenders see the pattern. As William Donohue, the pugilistic president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told the New York Times this week, bishops are going after SNAP because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”….

Why do you think they are doing this?

What they’re trying to do is to discredit, derail, bankrupt, and silence SNAP. And to scare anyone—police, prosecutors, victims, concerned Catholics—from contacting us and reporting crimes and exposing corruption.

What they have said in court filings is we’re trying to get to the truth of this case. But if you think about it, the easiest way to get to the truth of John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City Diocese and Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis Archdiocese is to depose the parties, the people involved, John Doe and Jane Doe. And they haven’t even tried. In both cases, they haven’t even sought the records. In essence they’re using these two court cases as a ruse and a weapon.
http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/5803/church%E2%80%99s_lawyers_have_snap_in_their_sightschurch%E2%80%99s_lawyers_have_snap_in_their_sights.hm

Italy police break up global online pedophile network
By Catherine Hornby, Reuters March 8, 2012
ROME – Italian police have broken up a pedophile network spanning at least 28 countries that used social media websites to swap pornographic images and videos of child abuse.

Ten people have been arrested in Italy, the United States, France and Portugal, and another 112 are being investigated on suspicion of child pornography, Italy’s computer crime police bureau NIT said in a statement….

The data revealed an Italian-founded criminal group with more than 700 followers around the world, exchanging thousands of images and videos, NIT said. http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Italy+police+break+global+online+pedophile+network/6270037/story.html

Church’s Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group, SNAP petition, Bradley Manning’s treatment was cruel and inhuman

March 14, 2012 Comments Off on Church’s Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group, SNAP petition, Bradley Manning’s treatment was cruel and inhuman

articles
– Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group
– Cardinal Dolan – “Stop the legal bullying!” – SNAP Petition
– Bradley Manning’s treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules

Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
March 12, 2012

Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.

The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it “almost certainly” had information relevant to the case.

The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”

Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

He said bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue said.

However, a spokeswoman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, said Mr. Donohue was incorrect.

“There is no national strategy,” she said, and there was no meeting where legal counsel for the bishops decided to get more aggressive….

Mr. Clohessy was deposed in January by lawyers for five accused priests and the diocese. In the 215-page transcript, made public on March 2, most of the questions were not about the case but about the network — its budget, board of directors, staff members, donors and operating procedures.

Mr. Clohessy testified that he had never had contact with John Doe.

“It was not a fishing expedition,” Mr. Clohessy said. “It was a fishing, crabbing, shrimping, trash-collecting, draining the pond expedition. The real motive is to harass and discredit and bankrupt SNAP, while discouraging victims, witnesses, whistle-blowers, police, prosecutors and journalists from seeking our help.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/us/catholic-church-pressures-victims-network-with-subpoenas.html

Cardinal Dolan – “Stop the legal bullying!”
As the head of America’ bishops, we urge you to publicly denounce, and stop, the bullying tactics used by bishops and church defense lawyers against those seeking help from the support group SNAP, including victims of abuse by clerics, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and journalists. http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_petition

Bradley Manning’s treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules

UN special rapporteur on torture’s findings likely to reignite criticism of US government’s treatment of WikiLeaks suspect

Ed Pilkington in New York
guardian.co.uk, Monday 12 March 2012 09.41 EDT

The UN special rapporteur on torture has formally accused the US government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards Bradley Manning, the US soldier who was held in solitary confinement for almost a year on suspicion of being the WikiLeaks source.

Juan Mendez has completed a 14-month investigation into the treatment of Manning since the soldier’s arrest at a US military base in May 2010. He concludes that the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture.

“The special rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence,” Mendez writes.

The findings of cruel and inhuman treatment are published as an addendum to the special rapporteur’s report to the UN general assembly on the promotion and protection of human rights. They are likely to reignite criticism of the US government’s harsh treatment of Manning ahead of his court martial later this year…..

The Pentagon has refused to allow Mendez to see Manning in private, insisting that all conversations must be monitored. “You should have no expectation of privacy in your communications with Private Manning,” the Pentagon wrote.

The lack of privacy is a violation of human rights procedures, the UN says, and considered unacceptable by the UN special rapporteur. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/12/bradley-manning-cruel-inhuman-treatment-un

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