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.
"This is huge," said plaintiff attorney Jeff Anderson.
The court said that the plaintiff sufficiently pleaded rape and sexual abuse of children as “…cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” and crimes against humanity.
The suit names a US Catholic cardinal (Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles) and a Mexican cardinal, as well as the alleged predator, a priest for their roles in the sexual abuse of a Mexican man as a boy in 1997.
The decision means the California court will hear claims about sexual abuse that occurred in Mexico, with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles named as a defendant.
The Alien Tort Statute was enacted by the first US Congress in 1789. It reads in its entirety: “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. sec.1350.
It has been used to target human rights violations in a number of contexts, but is reportedly the first time the law has been used against the Catholic church.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs are Jeff Anderson & Associates in St. Paul, Mn.
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Despite much tearful and heart wrenching testimony by survivors before legislative committees, the Roman Catholic Church, as usual, lobbied against the statute's change.
The bill now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is Catholic. In a news release earlier today, SNAP president Barbara Blaine said, "We hope the Governor understands that this kind of reform is a cost effective way to prevent crimes and protect children, and signs the measure promptly."
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But only days before Mahoney is to step down, new details in the church sex abuse scandal in LA have come to light.
It has been revealed that an admitted priest abuser, Martin O'Loghlen, was reassigned by Mahoney's vicar of clergy to a new parish. In addition, the admitted pedophile was appointed to the sexual abuse advisory panel of the Los Angeles Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church under Mahoney. Maybe you should read that sentence again.
It gets better:
On the same day -- Feb 10th, just ten days ago -- that a Grand Jury indicted the diocese of Philadelphia, two cardinals and the director of clergy for child endangerment -- the first, ever, criminal indictment of Roman hierarchs for covering up abuse -- Mahony fired both the pedophile, and his boss, spouting rhetoric about how important protecting children is to him.
The priest in question, Martin O'Loghlen, was abruptly fired Feb. 10 from his post at a parish in San Dimas, CA. The next day, Feb 11 -- the day after the Philadelphia Grand Jury report was published --- O'Loghlen's boss lost his job as well. Mahony accepted the resignation of Michael Meyers, the monsignor vicar of clergy for the archdiocese.
Myers was directly responsible for vetting priests who are assigned to parishes when O'Loghlen was reassigned. Meyers is the equivalent in LA of the Philly vicar of priests facing 14 years in prison if convicted under the Grand Jury indictment for child endangerment. And Meyers worked for Mahoney -- until a few days ago. So did the pedophile.
Mahoney was alerted that a story was about to be published in the NY Times about O'Laughlen on Feb. 10 by LA Times reporter Jeniffer Medina. Medina called on the 10th. Mahoney fired 0'Lauglin the same day, and Meyers the next day. Medina's story was published on the 12th.
Did you really think it was safe to go back in the water?
Read the full story: New chapter in church sex abuse scandal is written in Cardinal Roger Mahony's final weeks in the LA Times ...Read SNAP director David Clohessy's comments: First Philadelphia, Now Los Angeles: David Clohessy on Rotten Culture of Lies, Secrets, and Silence at Heart of Abuse Crisis on the Bishops Accountability website ...Read: SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy's full Statement regarding Philadelphia Grand Jury Report on the SNAP national website ...Read: Los Angeles Archdiocese to Dismiss Priest Over Admission of Molesting Girl by NY Times reporter Jennifer Medina ...
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The suit also says that in 2005, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office released the Report of the Grand Jury ("2005 Grand Jury Report"), which had investigated child sexual abuse by Philadelphia Archdiocese priests and documented the Archdiocese's cover up of abuse.
That 2005 Report stated: "To protect themselves from negative publicity or expensive lawsuits - while keeping abusive priests active - the Cardinals and their aides hid the priests' crimes from parishioners, police, and the general public. They employed a variety of tactics to accomplish this end."
The 2011 Grand Jury Report, reported here yesterday, establishes that the Archdiocese, under Cardinal Rigali, has made small changes, but continues to tolerate and actively conceal the sexual abuse of children by Archdiocese priests for the benefit of the Archdiocese.
David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP, in a letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops about this suit, and these facts concerning the 2005 and 2011 Grand Jury Reports, said,
"No Catholic hierarchy in America has had more incentive more recently to reform its handling of clergy sex cases than the Philadelphia archdiocese. But it clearly still hasn't.
So common sense suggests that other dioceses that have experienced even less controversy and scrutiny and criticism are treating victims as or more callously."
Read the charges on the Abuse Tracker website ... : John Doe 10 v. Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Cardinal Bevilacqua, Cardinal Rigali, Msgr. Lynn, Satchell, Fr Cochrane, et al. ...
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The Milwaukee archdiocese, faced with a flood of child sex lawsuits, filed for bankruptcy last month.
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Following immediately on yesterday's Philadelphia Grand Jury indictment of a Roman hierarch charged with endangering children by covering up abuse, today's suit will be the second such charge. SNAP hopes the cases will cause a cascade of other cities beginning to address the crisis, not only at the individual perpetrator level, but at its source -- i.e. the American Roman church hierarchy.
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"It's believed to be the first time a high-ranking Catholic official has been accused of being criminally accountable for covering up priest abuse. . . .As Bevilacqua's secretary for clergy, he was the Archdiocese's personnel director and responsible for investigating reports of priest sexual abuse from 1992 until 2004." -- Philadelphia Daily News
"Msgr. Lynn has a long history of transferring abusive priests to unsuspecting parishes." -- Report of the Philadelphia Grand Jury
Read the full report of the Philadelphia Grand Jury ...
Read the Village Voice article: Priest/Sex Abuse Scandal Takes Startling Turn: Catholic Church Official Faces Criminal Charges for Coverup ...
Read the National Survivor Advocates Coalition Statement -- NSAC to Catholics: Drop the Blindfolds, Get Educated ...
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Calling the sexual abuse scandal "a crisis without precedent" the appeal from the 143 German professors, published in the Friday edition of the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, called on the church's leadership to stop excluding gay couples and remarried Christians.
"The Church also needs married priests and women holding positions in the clergy," the appeal said—in clear defiance of the Vatican's dogmas. The theologians also called for, "a more democratic and less centralized church, including giving the faithful a say in appointing their priests and bishops."
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A 1997 article in the Dallas Morning News said:
"An admitted child molester has supervised Catholic altar boys in Southern California and Dallas for much of the last two decades, government records and interviews show."
Prior to 1997, Dallas diocese officials did not require criminal background checks of all prospective volunteers and had no plans to do so. Following publicity for this case, the Diocese changed its policy.
The man, Dennis Jost, is known to have still attended the same church where he worked with altar boys as late as 2005, and is known to have lived and frequented Dallas area churches and businesses as late as 2010.
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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."
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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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"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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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 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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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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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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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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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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."
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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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