Welcome, Survivors and Supporters! 
A message from SNAPDFW’s facilitator, Lisa Kendzior
Acknowledge your courage

It takes courage to acknowledge that we’ve been abused and it is not easy to even admit it to ourselves. Just browsing this website is a big step.

Know that you are not alone!

If you’ve been victimized by clergy, please know that you are not alone. You can get better. You can reach out to others who’ve been hurt just like you have.

Together, we can heal one another.

Survivor Connections - confidential database of accused sexual predators may help connect victims of same perp 
Survivor Connections, Inc. maintains a confidential database of rape, incest, sexual assault, and child molestation perpetrators who have been reported to the database by former victims, or the former victim’s supportive relatives. The database is password protected and encrypted, and cannot be accessed online.

Survivor Connections does not track rumor or hearsay. The sole purpose of maintaining this information is to allow survivors of the same perpetrator the opportunity to reach each other.

The database is national and soon will be international in scope. By its nature it is not - and never will be - open to public access. Information is submitted by regular (“snail”) mail, rather than email for security reasons. We do not accept anonymous allegations.

The founders of the database are survivor Frank Fitzpatrick and wife Sara. Only Frank and Sara, and one other trusted survivor does data entry for the database that contains the names of perpetrators, or the mailing list of survivors and supporters who have contacted Survivor Connections.

Concerning confidentiality, the site says:
"No one anywhere has, or ever will have “on-line” access. Our records are private, personal, and confidential. They will remain so in order for us to function as a support system for survivors of sexual assault."

Read more, and find out how to submit information to this important survivor resource ...

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Brilliant 27 year old doctoral student's suicide note about darkness that haunted him since being molested and raped as a child 
Below is a link to the brilliant, but heart wrenching suicide note of childhood clergy abuse victim Bill Zeller. The posting is on Christa Browns blog "Stop Baptist Predators."

Brown says "Zeller’s note should be mandatory reading for the many religious leaders, including many Baptist leaders, and for many in the pews as well, who have repeatedly dismissed and minimized the pain of those who suffered such abuse, and who have attacked and smeared those who sought to report abuse."

Read Bill Zeller's note in its entirety on the Stop Baptist Predators blog ...

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Stepping From The Shadows 

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Vatican 2010 priorities: protect assets; ignore 'Rights of the Child' 
A retrospective of 2010 shows that the Vatican instantly responded with "transparency" to the international banking community when its assets were siezed. But the same Vatican has ignored, for the 13th year in a row, a request from the UN Convention on Rights of the Child for some simple honesty in its handling of child abuse.
"Against a backdrop of criminal probes related to alleged financial misconduct both in the Vatican Bank and at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican’s wealthy missionary department better known as “Propaganda Fide”, Pope Benedict XVI today created a new in-house watchdog to promote compliance with international rules against financing terrorism, money-laundering, insider trading and market abuse." -- 30 Dec 2010 - John Allen, National Catholic Reporter
"David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, called on the pope to clear himself by revealing all the records for the period when he was handling sex abuse cases for the Vatican." -- 31 Dec 2010, World Magazine

But the Vatican, whose bank is the focus of a money laundering investigation launched in September, enacted laws on 30 December to bring it in line with international standards on financial transparency, terrorism prevention, and fraud.

It was the biggest single action ever taken by the Vatican to meet international demands for more financial transparency.

  • 13 years, no response to UN request for report on how Vatican handles child abuse.
  • 3 months, pope enacts new transparency laws when international banking community seizes its cash.

SNAPDFW asks: Why quick 'transparency' of bank records, but not of child abuse records?


Read: 'Vatican enacts new banking laws' in the Irish Times ...
Read: 'Vatican breaks UN treaty on children's safety; SNAP responds' on the SNAP national website ...
Download: The 16 page executive summary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child from the UNICEF website ...
For more on the CRC, visit Unite for Children on the UNICEF website ...

Then you make the call.

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Moral bankruptcy of Roman hierarchy read into record of United Nations Human Rights Council 
In a posting on this site in July of this year entitled Vatican 13 years delinquent in submitting legally required UN report on 'Rights of the Child' in July of this year we reported on the unconscionable ignoring by the Vatican of a UN request for a report on Vatican handling of child abuse.

In this month's issue of Conscience -- The News Journal of Catholic Opinion -- the journal reports that although a Vatican representative said in a UN meeting before July that the report was being prepared as they spoke, here it is December, and once again, the Vatican has failed not only to honor the UN request for the 13th year, but even to honor its own word that it would soon produce it.

The Vatican strategy: Skewing the numbers, redefining "child"

In a statement made in July 2010, SNAP national reported on the Vatican's obstinate ignoring of the UN Committee on Rights of the Child. At the end of that report, there is a link to a UN Webcast of a spoken statement made by a Vatican representative during the twelfth session of the UN Human Rights Council. You may view that Webcast (link at the end of this item) and read the transcript which we have prepared from it.

In that statement, the Vatican priest-spokesman says that the report which the Vatican has ignored submitting for 13 years, "is finalized." That was July. This December. No report, still.

In this still-unsubmitted report, the "holy see" spokesman said, some 13 years after being asked for it, that "a paragraph will be dedicated to the problem of child abuse by Catholic clergy."

That's right -- "a paragraph."

The speaker then reads into the record the following unbelievable, but verbatim statement:

"While many speak of child abuse as pedophilia, it would be more correct to speak of ephebophilia being a homosexual attraction to an adolescent male.

"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90 percent belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the age of 11 and 17 years old."

This suggests to the United Nations that the definition of "child" be reserved for individuals under the age of 11, and that "adolescent" refer to the age group 11 to 17.

Most likely, these are the mind-boggling definitions the priest had in mind when his statement began systematically blaming the sexual abuse crisis on -- instead of his own church and colleagues -- in order of appearance: Protestants, Jews, school teachers, family members, babysitters, neighbors, family friends or relatives, and even other children!

We have stated it here before, and reiterate now: The Roman Catholic Church, and the popes/priests/bishops who run it, have become morally bankrupt. That is now in the record of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

Read it and/or watch it for yourself:

Listen to the Webcast here ...
Read the Webcast transcript ...

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In Catholic theology, paedophilia was 'in conformity with man and even with children' says pope  
December 28 - Feast of the Holy Innocents

In an outrageous new attempt to deflect blame that is his and his administration's alone for the continuing Roman church sex abuse crisis the Roman pope -- who has blamed everyone from Harry Potter to the Beatles for the world's problems and catholic priest sex abuse -- everyone, that is, except himself and his own church -- has topped all of his previous blame-throwing accusations with one of the most unimaginably ridiculous and potentially harmful ones of them all:

"In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children.
"This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained - even within the realm of Catholic theology ..."

We can no long NOT do something in response.

NSAC and SNAPDFW call on You to Honor the Courage of Today's Innocents: ACT

SNAPDFW has reproduced portions of Kristine Ward's "call to action" statement on the National Survivors Advocates Coalition (NSAC) website today. You can link to the site and the full statement below.

====== From Kristine Ward of NSAC ===============

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents which has been celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church since 485AD.

For 15 centuries we have paused within the Christmas season to reverence the children upon whom evil unto death was inflicted.

From the Gospel of Matthew we know both the perpetrator, King Herod the Great of Judea, and the victims, male Jewish children within two years of the estimated date of Jesus' birth.

To honor the victims, we put them in a place of honor within the Church's keeping of the rhythm of the year. Simply put, they are on the liturgical calendar to get our attention.

We didn't know these innocents, we never saw the gut churning terror of their parents held at bay while their children were sliced by soldiers' swords, we never looked upon their bloodied cribs or saw the spray of their blood drip from their snatched toys.

But still we know in our very beings the burning injustice of their fate and the righteous within the purposeful attention that is called to them in the season that we celebrate the anniversary of the Christ Child's birth.

For 15 centuries we have carried them within the heart of the Church.
Now it is time for those who remain in the pews in the Roman Catholic Church to stand for the innocents who were and are raped, sodomized and brutalized in soul and spirit by priests and nuns and who are re-victimized by the cover-up by bishops, religious superiors, pope and members of the Roman Curia.

But we do know the innocents of sexual abuse by priests and nuns. We know them by their courage.

We know them in the pools of emptiness that are the eyes of the parents and spouses and siblings of those who were murdered and those who committed suicide.

It is because of their courage that we ask you to take action regarding two recent statements, one by Pope Benedict and the other by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.

Neither of the statements can be allowed to stand unchallenged.

Read the full "call to action" statement on the NSAC website ...

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Founder of Catholic Order-funded Haitian relief mission gets maximum sentence for raping poverty striken children 
On a grant from the catholic "Sovereign Military Order of Malta," a Roman Catholic religious order dating back to the middle ages, Douglas Perlitz founded the Village Pierre Toussaint as a boys school in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Perlitz then proceeded to threaten destitute Haitian children into providing him sex in exchange for the school's aid.

In 2002, the Fairfield University, a Jesuit university in Connecticut, awarded Perlitz an honorary doctor of laws degree and he was asked to deliver the commencement address. In 2005, Perlitz received the Alumni Humanitarian Award at the annual Fairfield University Awards dinner in New York City.

The Rev. Paul Carrier, who led the college's campus ministry, actively raised funds for Project Pierre Toussaint and served on its board of directors. Carrier's whereabouts are unknown now.

Tuesday, in US District Court, Judge Janet Bond Arterton sentenced Perlitz to 19 years, 7 months in prison -- the maximum sentence allowable under the law. In addition, Judge Arterton exercised the court's discretion to add 10 years after Perlitz is released of intense court scrutiny.
SNAPDFW was among many others sending letters petitioning Judge Arterton to remind this church-backed child molester, and other church related criminals, that horrendous crimes against the innocent are incompatible with positions of trust in society.

Arterton said Perlitz would have to serve 10 years supervised release after prison, register as a sex offender, receive sex offender treatment and not have any unsupervised contact with minors.

Perlitz, a graduate of Fairfield University, said he would like to continue helping people.

"They say a convicted sex offender has no future, but I would like to try to prove people wrong," he said.

SNAPDFW was among many others sending letters petitioning Judge Arterton to remind this church-backed child molester, and other church related criminals, that horrendous crimes against the innocent are incompatible with positions of trust in society.

Read the story in the Huffington Post ...
Read story in the CT Post Protestors demand Fairfield U. aid Haitian sex-abuse victims ...
Read SNAPDFW's petition to Judge Arterton for maximum sentencing of Perlitz ...

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Pope grasps at heady philosophical straws again; ignores victims' plights; blames sex abuse crisis on old societal abstractions 
Finding a scorpion in your lap is not something that calls for more "reflection" and prayer. You thump it off, squash it and spray the house.

Yet the news today has more disturbing stories that show once again, in no uncertain terms, that the pope, and anyone else in power in the Roman Catholic Church (i.e. his minion priests and bishops -- only; certainly no laity qualify for power) still don't get it, and likely, under him, never will.

Millions and millions of their 'faithful followers' have ordained scorpions in their laps, while the pope speculates about purely academic ideologies.

"It is fundamentally disturbing to watch a brilliant man so conveniently misdiagnose a horrific scandal. It’s unseemly to see a powerful religious figure childishly blaming nameless forces and time periods for a church-created crisis." -- SNAP President Barbara Blaine

On the same day as the pope's dim-witted philosophical denial, Ireland is seething anew -- Ireland, one of the only nations in the world, along with Belgium -- to take investigation of the clergy abuse crisis into its own hands, after realizing that "central command" never will -- Ireland is seething as Rome dribbles out more dirt about its scorpion past and pastors.

Today we learn that pedophile priest Tony Walsh, deemed the "most notorious child (priest) sexual abuser" to have come to the attention of the independent commission investigating abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese, was allowed to function as a catholic priest for nearly twenty years after his crimes began to become known by his peers and superiors.

Allegations against Walsh date back to before his ordination in 1978. Walsh, however, was not defrocked until 1996.

Here are the numbers and the facts, dribbled out by the Vatican, representing only one case among millions of "scorpions" still crawling in the unsuspecting laps of "the catholic faithful."

Walsh, the "most notorious" Irish predator priest, is accused of molesting at least 40 children over a sixteen year unchecked career as a Roman Catholic priest. An Irish church official admits at least seven priests knew of the child molesting cleric all along, including his superiors and probably Ratzinger himself, who was then head curial cardinal of the Inquisition.
"The investigators ... concluded that Walsh actually raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls while serving as a Dublin priest from 1978 to 1996, a reign of terror that church leaders never effectively stopped." -- The Huffington Post

The investigators – a judge and lawyers acting independently of the Irish government – described Walsh as "probably the most notorious child sexual abuser" of the 46 cases they investigated covering the years 1975-2004. They concluded that Walsh actually raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls while serving as a Dublin priest from 1978 to 1996, a reign of terror that church leaders never effectively stopped.

Walsh often performed as an Elvis impersonator in a traveling Catholic song-and-dance production popular with children called the "All Priests Show." The report found this increased his easy access to victims, as did his interest in scouting groups and taking altar boys on visits to the Dublin seminary, Clonliffe College.

The fact-finders based their conclusions on previously confidential Dublin and Vatican documents and interviews with key church figures that took five years to gather. They found that Dublin Archdiocese leaders spent several years arguing over whether Walsh should be defrocked, sent to counselors in England, or assigned to duties that kept him away from children.

Hello? Pope? Your "holiness?" This is NOT a single "crisis" of yours or of your church. It is "crises" - millions and millions of your subjects are being stung by your minion-priest-predator-scorpions. The countless individual lives and tragedies of their victims are what we in SNAP mean by "crisis," but not, obviously, what you mean.

Here's the plan: Stop thinking and talking and speculating and blaming abstract '60's and '70's ideologies that disagreed with you. Find your scorpions. Thump them off, squash them, spray the house. And then resign -- please God, resign -- with real, not feigned grace.

Any questions?


See also:
Dublin's Independent News & Media PLC [INM] ...

The Huffington Post ...

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"Innocent children were violated"; "church leadership failed"; "bonds of trust" were "ruptured" says Boston archbishop 
In spite of an apologetic self-indictment issued Saturday, Sean O'Malley, archbishop of the diocese of Boston gave a phone number to a violated parish, and urged new victims to call him up.
SNAP strongly urges any and all victim survivors of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church, or any other religious or secular group, to CALL THE AUTHORITIES FIRST, NOT THE CHURCH. Then call supporters and advocates for victims of abuse. They will provide you with resources for the kinds of spiritual, emotional and legal care you need.

O'Malley's apology-by-proxy, read by a subordinate to a group of about 50 parishioners in a Boston area Catholic church Saturday night, apologized for the Dec. 11 tongue-lashing from the pulpit by the priest-in-charge, Stanislaw Kempa.

The verbal abuse was hurled at three young men, now in their 30s, who are accusing the late Rev. Czeslaw "Father Chet" Szymanski of sexually abusing them in the parish when they were children.

The first order of business -- always -- in incidents of suspected abuse of children or vulnerable adults by clergy is do everything possible to have the suspects removed from access to potential other victims.
The recent history of the Roman Catholic church, including Saturday's admission of failure to respond appropriately by O'Malley, emphasizes the fact that those abused by priests should NOT call the church first for help. Call the police. Protect the innocent. That is the first order of business, not calling in more priests.

Attorney Carmen Durso, who represents the three men, first announced the abuse allegations at a press conference on Dec. 9.

Kempa tongue-lashed the young men who are making the allegations in front of his congregation during Mass two days later, blasting them during a tirade/sermon, calling them "cowards," and claiming that the accusations "were not credible."
"The clerical antagonism and apparent indifference toward victims of sexual abuse, even when faced with substantial evidence, is one of the principal reasons why it remains so difficult for victims to come forward," Durso said.

It bears repeating that SNAP strongly urges any and all victim survivors of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church, or any other religious or secular group, to CALL THE AUTHORITIES FIRST, NOT THE CHURCH.

Then call supporters and advocates for victims of abuse. They will provide you with resources for the kinds of spiritual, emotional and legal care you may need.

SNAP DFW can be reached at:
Read more on the abuse and the apology in the Lowell, Mass. Sun ...

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Catholic educator who raped Haitian children and threatened prosecutors scheduled for sentencing in CT Tuesday 
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Federal prosecutors in Connecticut say a man who sexually abused children at a school in Haiti he founded also threatened to kill a prosecutor.

Authorities cited the alleged threat in court papers Thursday as they argued Douglas Perlitz of Eagle, Colo., should be sent to prison for more than 19 years when he is sentenced next week.

Perlitz ran the Project Pierre Toussaint school, and dispensed very little help that came without strings attached. He built a charity, and used it to rake in donations from well-intending and unsuspecting supporters to feed what he craved: forcible sex with some of the poorest, most downtrodden and vulnerable children in the world.

Perlitz will be sentenced Tuesday in the court of United States District Judge the Honorable Janet Bond Arternon on Tuesday.

Read the story in the Washington Post ...

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Vatican uses immunity to thwart probe of sex abuse charges; accuses Ireland of disrespect, secret communique says 
In another stunning display of the pope calling the kettle black, the Vatican, in secret communiques published Saturday in the British news outlet The Guardian, tried to stiff-arm an Irish fact-finding probe into sexual exploitation and abuse by priests and subsequent bishop cover-up, and instead accuses Ireland of failure to respect the sovereignty of the Holy See.

One of Ireland's most prominent campaigners against the Catholic Church's cover-up of child abuse, Andrew Madden, said one of the leaked documents offered more evidence that the Vatican was concerned only about protecting itself, not about admitting the truth.
'Self-interest ruled the day when their priests were raping children.' -- Andrew Madden, former altar boy raped by a Dublin priest.

"The only issue for the Vatican has been the supposed 'failure' of the Irish government to protect the Vatican from intrusive questions. Self-interest ruled the day when their priests were raping children," said Madden, a former altar boy who was molested by a Dublin priest. In 1995 Madden became the first person in Ireland to go public with a lawsuit against the church, opening the floodgates for hundreds of lawsuits.

Read the full AP story on Earthlink's International News site ...

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New 'clueless' cleric boss Dolan takes over American RC bishops; vows no changes saying, 'It's not like we're in a crisis.' 
"My major priority," New York's Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan said at his election last week as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "would be to continue with all vigor I can muster what's already in place. It's not like we're in a crisis."
Timothy Dolan's job is to put the best face on the reactionary hierarchy's slow motion act of self-destruction. The surest sign of this crisis is the jovial conviction that there is no crisis. -- Catholic author James Carroll

Mincing no words in his response, Catholic journalist and author James Carroll commented on Dolan and his 'no-crisis' crack, beginning with a simple question:

"Hello? The Catholic Church not in a crisis? The moral authority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy is at its lowest ebb since the Inquisition."
Read Carroll's article online US News' Daily Beast...

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Pope ignores diseased children in ignorant new statement on contraception; still blames spread of AIDS on male prostitutes 
The utter moral bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic Church looms more ominously than ever today in the latest unimaginably ignorant statements of the pope on the use of condoms.

Totally ignoring an entire generation of diseased children of infected parents -- a phenomenon for which, in 3rd world countries, the dark-ages mentality of the patriarchal sexual ideology of Catholicism is directly implicated -- the German pope finally admitted that condoms contribute to inhibiting the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

But he did so in a peculiarly homophobic remark suggesting that male prostitutes might act more responsibly by using condoms.

This comes from a man, it might be recalled, whose personal, attending entourage was recently alleged to have been soliciting male prostitutes. (See story from Mar 5 ...)

Just how outrageous must this destructive, dictatorial regime become before intelligent catholics stop pumping it up with power by ignoring it, or even worse, by continuing to support it?

Read the unconscionable pontifications for yourself ...

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Road to Recovery - 2 priests do what Roman Catholic bishops pay out huge legal fees to avoid: helping survivors 
SNAP in DFW is a place of emotional and moral support for survivors of clergy sexual and power abuse, and for their supporters. We come together (if we may borrow a line from the 12 step recovery programs) to share our experience (often horrendous and debilitating), strength (at first, minimal to none), and hope (again, at first, non-existent, but as time goes by and help comes, improving).

However, in spite of the enormous global need now coming to light for non-church support systems for survivors of clergy sexual and power exploitation and abuse, there are, as our British friends might say, "bloody few!"

That's why we're recommending today that you visit the "Road to Recovery" website.

Road to Recovery says of itself that it is the only non-profit organization in the United States that offers compassionate counseling and referral services to survivors of clergy sexual abuse."

Road to Recovery is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in 2005 to provide "emotional, psychological, financial, and spiritual assistance to survivors as they attempt to recover from the effects of having been sexually abused by members of the clergy."

The very ironic twist to this group is the fact that it was actually founded by two priests, one, himself, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse -- two men who, single-handedly, are attempting to do what the Roman Catholic Church pays out enormous legal fees to avoid doing: helping survivors of priest rape and abuse.

Check out their site, and their group. We hope it can be of help to you.

Go to the Road to Recovery website ...

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Catholic Child Welfare Society in England diocese liable for $12.8 million in damages to abuse victims; cannot appeal 
A Catholic diocese in northeast England has been refused the right to appeal a court ruling that found it responsible for a $12.8 million compensation claim by victims of child sexual abuse, believed to be the largest award to abuse victims in English history.

The diocese was found liable in October for the claims of 158 former pupils who were abused at St. William's Community Home, in Market Weighton, near York, between 1960 and 1992.

Although Christian Brother James Carragher, now 74, who was principal at the home for more than 20 years, began serving a 14-year prison sentence in 2004 for a long list of sex crimes against students, judges ruled that his order, the De La Salle Christian Brothers, which staffed the home, had no legal responsibility, leaving the Catholic Child Welfare Society of the diocese liable for the compensation claim.

Read the full story in the National Catholic Reporter ...

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You are not alone! 200 sexually abused men speak out on national TV; full video of the Friday's Oprah Winfrey show 
Caution: This program is extremely and disturbingly explicit.

However, our hope is that it encourages others abused, even years ago, to tell someone who genuinely understands and cares so that the long road toward healing this horrible rape of innocence and spirit can begin. It can and will -- you are not alone!

Watch episode 1 in its entirety here

Read Comments by Survivors at the Taping of the Oprah Show

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200 Abused Men Stand Up to Be Counted on 2 Day National TV Event; Urge Anyone Ever Abused to Get Help 
On Friday, Oprah Winfrey’s show will air the first part of a two part program about men who were abused, sexually and physically, when they were children.

It’s estimated by professionals that one in six men were abused in their youth. Some die from suicides or deaths related to alcohol or drug abuse.

That's a horrendous number that continues to grow to this day, and this is unacceptable.
With the lid coming off the Catholic Church's victims, this should tell other organizations that it's time to clean their own houses, and they should open up all files of perpetrators and contact victims that are kept hidden." -- SNAP Member Survivor Kevin Dratsch

The program will address all types of abuse, from domestic to professional to clergy.

Advanced promotion for the show describes it as, "A landmark Oprah Show event that's never been done before. Two hundred men courageously stand together to say they were all molested."

Watch the program trailer

Read SNAP Member Kevin Kratsch's letter in the Appleton, WI Post-Crescent ...

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Survivors Head for Reformation Day Gathering in Rome to Say 'Enough' to Sexual Abuse by Roman Catholic Priests 

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60% of Chicago parishes employed publicly accused sexual predator priests, new SNAP supported study shows 
A study taking 5 years to complete by SNAP and two other survivors advocate groups has shown that nearly 60% of Roman Catholic parishes in Chicago employed priests who were publicly accused of child abuse and sexual predator behavior.

The study, conducted jointly by Voice of the Faithful, African American Advocates for Victims of Clergy and Sexual Abuse and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), looked at assignments made between 1917 and 2009 of priests accused of abuse. The researchers spent five years combing through data for the report--and they believe the number of unreported cases of abuse could make that percentage even larger.

SNAP president Barbara Blaine told the Huffington Post Monday that while she believes nearly every Chicago-land parish has been affected, the study showed that "poor parishes and minority parishes have a disproportionately high percentage of problem priests."

Blaine said further that the Chicago Archdiocese has consistently under-reported cases of abuse, and that SNAP encourages victims of abuse to reach out to advocacy groups--not to the church.
"SNAP encourages victims of abuse to reach out to advocacy groups -- not to the church."
-- SNAP president Barbara Blaine
Read the story in the Chicago Tribune ...
Read the story in the Huffington Post ...
Read SNAP statement on the report ...

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Belgium's highest court reverses lower court's return of seized church records on pedophilia; orders reseizure 
In a reversal of a lower court's order to return truckloads of files on priest sexual abuse by Roman Catholic dioceses in Belgium, Belgium's highest court has ordered the files re-seized.

The raids on June 24, conducted as a Vatican ambassador was meeting with church leaders, opened the eyes of the world to the scale of the scandal within the Belgian Catholic Church, but the church and retired archbishop, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, demanded that the material seized be declared out of bounds.

Lower courts, having found that the June police raid was illegal, ordered prosecutors to return all files to the Belgian bishops and the independent commission they had created to handle sex-abuse complaints. But the top court has now said that abuse victims should have had the opportunity to present their views before the case was decided.
Read more: New twist in Belgian Catholic abuse legal row - The Times of India ...

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Can Restorative Justice work when religious sexual abuse perpetrators and their protecting leaders lack remorse? 
Restorative Justice is a concept in law that stresses the idea of promoting dialogue between victims and accused as opposed to a strict adversarial relationship based on abstract interpretations of legal code violations. To work best it requires goodwill on all sides.

The pope has spoken of "sin within the Church" but victims would like to see action, not mere lip service - action demonstrating the Church's sincerity in making things right.

An article on suggests that building the path toward greater justice and healing guided by the parameters of Restorative Justice seems like it might be an idea worth trying.

However, the only credible comment to the article says,
Restorative Justice is a good thing. However, it necessitates a certain level or moral development in the perpetrator. He must be able to empathize with his victim. He must seek restoration because of empathy, not just because he got caught. It is not clear that today's religious leaders have a developed enough moral fiber to participate in restorative justice. ...

Frankly, I do not see any bishops of any ilk rushing to repair the survivors of clergy sex abuse. Neither do I see said bishops acting to embrace survivors as Christ.
Read more: On the BeliefNet website ...
Read more: Wikipedia article on Restorative Justice ...

Then you make the call.

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