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.

Vatican served with historic US court order to turn over records that may show shielding of pedophile priest 
A federal judge in Oregon ruled Thursday that the Vatican must respond to certain requests for information from a man who says he was molested by a priest in the 1960s.

This a historic achievement.

-- SNAP Press Statement, 22 April, 2011

"This a historic achievement. It is the first time ever that the Vatican is being forced by secular authorities to turn over clergy sex abuse documents."
Read the full story and the SNAP response on the SNAP National website ...

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Pope to 'beatify' predecessor who shielded pedophiles and gave ex-Boston hierarch Bernard Law immunity 
"One fact to consider: On May 27, 2004, John Paul named ex-Boston Cardinal Bernard Law as head of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, giving him the title archpriest. That appointment came less than two years after John Paul accepted Law's resignation from his Boston post -- a move prompted by Law's repeated failure to remove pedophile priests from the ministry." -- Huffington Post, 25 April, 2011
Read 'John Paul II And The Redefining Of Sainthood' in yesterday's Huffington Post ...

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Catholic NYTimes columnist questions wisdom of sainthood for pope who presided over worldwide abuse coverup 
"Next Sunday, two days after the Kate and William show, another European spectacle will unfold: Pope Benedict XVI will preside over the beatification for the man he revered, the first time in a millennium that a pope has elevated his immediate predecessor and the swiftest ascension toward sainthood on record.

Hoping to get a P.R. boost by resurrecting John Paul’s magic, Benedict fast-tracked the process, waiving the usual five-year wait before starting.

But it won’t take away the indelible stain left by a global sex scandal that continues to sulfurously bubble as we celebrate Easter." -- Maureen Dowd, NYTimes

Read Hold the Halo by Maureen Dowd in today's NYTimes ...

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News quotes opening Holy Week show priesthood insensitivity to sex abuse 
"Last week former Catholic Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who has admitted to sexually abusing two nephews, turned stomachs all over Europe by insisting his pedophilia was a harmless "little piece of intimacy." Civil authorities can't collar Vangheluwe because the crimes occurred too long ago. But so far neither the Vatican nor the head of the Belgian church has done a thing to punish him or any of the Belgian priests involved in a string of recent abuse accusations." ...

"But the Catholic Church risks breeding insensitivity by segregating its diocesan priests and bishops from the world of wives, children and the loving sex that begets them. It risks sending the message that those human joys would somehow sully their vocations — that those things are inferior to the priesthood, and so protecting the holy fraternity is what matters most during a crisis like the sexual abuse plague." ...

"Mandatory celibacy has led to an unnecessary isolation of our clergy — and, in turn, to the harmful sense of clerical superiority we've seen so much of during the abuse crisis."

Palm Sunday Plea: Let Priests Marry
By TIM PADGETT-TIME Sunday, Apr. 17, 2011

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PBS Frontline to examine Catholic priest sex abuse of Native Americans in Alaska 
FRONTLINE examines a little-known chapter of the Catholic Church sex abuse story -- decades of abuse of Native Americans by priests and other church workers in Alaska. Through candid interviews with survivors, this FRONTLINE report focuses on the abuse by a number of men who worked for the Church along Alaska's far west coast in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

All told, they would leave behind a trail of hundreds of claims of abuse, making this one of the hardest hit regions in the country. As part of FRONTLINE's new magazine program, The Silence airs as the second segment on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS.

The Silence is a co-presentation with Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT).
Read the PBS Frontline news release ...

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SNAP and BishopAccountability uncover evidence that there have been 3 PA grand jury clergy abuse reports since 2001 
SNAP has discovered evidence of a 3rd grand jury report, hushed by gag order until 2005, once again implicating the corrupt Philadelphia Roman Catholic diocese hierarchy in possible child endangerment.

SNAP and Boston-based research group together are disclosing this newly-uncovered 18-page report by a Philadelphia grand jury. It resulted from a 2001-2003 investigation of abuse and cover-up in the Philadelphia Archdiocese -- preceding the 2005 and 2011 reports. Its harsh conclusions were sealed by a judge until the second grand jury investigation in 2005. Its findings were given to that subsequent grand jury.

Child endangerment charges, however, did not result until the 3rd grand jury recently indicted the diocese and its key administrator in the recent report.
Read the 2001 Grand Jury report (PDF)

Event: Victims disclose a THIRD Philly grand jury report

SNAP statement on newly-disclosed THIRD Philly grand jury report on clergy sex cover-ups

Fact sheet on the FIRST grand jury report (from 2002-03, previously undisclosed) on clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Philadelphia Archdiocese

Read the story of the 2011 grand jury posted on this site ...

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Hundreds of Native Americans abused by priests as children receive landmark $166.1 million settlement 
Jesuit priests agreed to pay $166.1 million to hundreds of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives who were abused at its schools around the Pacific Northwest.

The settlement is one of the largest in the Catholic church's sweeping sex abuse scandal.
Read the AP Story from Mar 26 ...

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Freelance Catholic preacher-priest cult figure John Corapi secretly suspended following accusation of sexual abuse 
Pop Catholic televangelist and traveling preacher John Corapi has been placed on 'administrative leave' from priestly ministry following an accusation of sexual abuse against him.

However, despite the American Catholic hierarchy's repeated pledges to be “open and transparent” in clergy sexual abuse cases, the Catholic Religious order suspending Corapi failed to announce the move, only doing so in reaction to Corapi self-righteously announcing the suspension himself in an apparent ploy to play the media in his own defense.
"Catholics deserve better. The vulnerable need better. Bishops have promised better. But secrecy about alleged sexual misconduct continues to be “job one” for many Catholic officials." -- David Clohessy, SNAP national director

Urging anyone with any information or suspicions about Corapi to contact criminal authorities, not church authorities,SNAP director David Clohessy said,
Catholics deserve better. The vulnerable need better. Bishops have promised better. But secrecy about alleged sexual misconduct continues to be “job one” for many Catholic officials.

We've long been skeptical of these sort of 'freelance,' traveling priests who seem to foster a cult of personality and apparently get little or no real supervision.

Popular and charismatic priests have extraordinary power over devout Catholics, including adults. It's important to remember that Catholics are raised from birth to think of priests as holy, celibate men who can forgive sins and get us into heaven. This gives priests tremendous power over lay people.

Corapi, though apparently not accused of molesting kids, seems a lot like Fr. Ken Roberts of Dallas, who also claimed to have overcome a life of debauchery and became religious, then traveled the country engaging in sexual misconduct.

We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Corapi finds the strength to come forward and the wisdom to contact independent sources of help – police, prosecutors, therapists, loved ones and support groups like ours – instead of church officials.

Read the full story and SNAP responses on the SNAP National website ...

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Pope's homeland Germany extends statute of limitations on child abuse from 3 to 30 years 
Prompted by last year's Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal, the homeland of the Roman pope has passed legislation that will strengthen survivors' rights by extending the statute of limitations on child abuse.

Germans who were sexually abused as children will now have up to 30 years after their 21st birthday to bring their perpetrators before the courts.
Read the AP Mobile story ...

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Zero-Tolerance abuse policy of US bishops fails to protect children, says insider 
Has the Zero-Tolerance policy been an unmitigated success in preventing perpetrators from having access to new victims? NO, mainly because secretly the church hierarchy is still completely mobilized to protect their own political power in the church – nothing else matters to them." -- James Jenkins, Ph.D

James Jenkins, as chair of the SF archdiocesan review board from 2000-05, was closely involved in the Roman hierarchy's response to the beginnings of the 2002 US priest sex abuse crisis.

In his guest opinion on the NSAC website, Jenkins reports that "no-tolerance" was a ploy, and has largely failed.

He ends his insider analysis saying, "History will continue to repeat itself until Catholics take matters into their own hands and forever reform the priesthood from parish to pope, as we have known it."
Read the entire piece on the NSAC website ...

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4th Philadelphia lawsuit filed against Roman hierarchs for failing to protect children from sexual abuse by priests 
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia was hit Monday with the fourth in a series of new lawsuits that blame church officials for failing to protect children from sexually abusive priests.

The lawsuits mirror accusations made by city prosecutors in a grand jury report last month that led several priests to be charged with rape and, in a rare move, a church official to be charged with child endangerment.

Monday's suit, filed by a 32-year-old Arizona man, is the second that names the late Monsignor John E. Gillespie as the abuser. A 2005 grand jury report said Gillespie was alleged to have committed abuse, but frustrated prosecutors concluded the deadlines had passed to file criminal charges.

The "John Doe" who sued Monday said Gillespie had abused him from 1988 to 1991, when he was an altar boy at the Our Lady of Calvary parish in northeast Philadelphia. Gillespie continued to work around children despite repeated complaints to the archdiocese, and even after Gillespie was sent for sex-abuse treatment sometime before 1991, the suit said.

The 2005 Philadelphia grand jury report alleges that Gillespie's abuse dated as far back as 1957. He resigned from his parish assignment in 2000, after then-Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua determined he was a risk, but remained active in ministry, the suit said.
Read the full AP news story ...

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Nuns sue Boston Archdiocese Cardinal and trustees for stalling on lay worker pension funds for over 5 years 
The Massachusetts Supreme Court is being asked to settle an unusual dispute between The Daughters of St. Paul, a Catholic order of nuns, and Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, trustee of a church-run pension fund.

The nuns say they have tried for more than five years to withdraw from the Boston archdiocese pension fund so they could set up a separate, pension plan for their U.S. lay employees.

The nuns claim in their lawsuit that the trustees, including O'Malley, did not keep separate records for the separate groups in the fund, which has complicated efforts to get a full accounting.
Read the full AP story ...

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US judge allows human rights statute to be used in international sex abuse case against Catholic hierarchs 
A federal judge in California has given thumbs-up to a lawsuit against two cardinals and a priest based on the Alien Tort Statute, enacted by the first US Congress in 1789.

"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.
Read the story in Monday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinal ...
Read: "Federal human rights statute invoked against Catholic church" on the Minnesota Lawyer blog ...

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VA legislators extend statute of limitations on child abuse from 2 to 20 years; bill goes to Catholic governor for signature 
The Virginia General Assembly has passed legislation extending from two to 20 years the time allowed for sexual abuse victims to sue their attackers. The measure was part of a group of uncontested bills that were passed with little debate.

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."
Read the AP story on the Richmond ABC affiliate website ...
Read SNAP national's response ...

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Reassigned Los Angeles pedophile priest fired, boss resigns after Philadelphia diocese indicted for child endangerment 
Roger Mahony, head priest/cardinal in the Roman Catholic diocese of Los Angeles is retiring within a week. On Mahoney's watch his archdiocese was forced into a $660-million settlement with 508 people who alleged they were abused by priests as children.

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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Philadelphia Catholic hierarchs face charges of covering up abuse, protecting abusers 
A former Catholic school student has sued the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali and his predecessor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and others claiming that clergy covered up sexual assaults by seminarians and priests perpetrated upon him.

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. ...

Read the 2005 Grand Jury Report ...

Read the 2011 Grand Jury Report ...

Read SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy's letter to the USCCB ...

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'Clueless' head US bishop Dolan, who denies abuse crisis, say's, 'Darn it,' his old archdiocese does a good job 
Timothy Dolan, former Milwaukee archdiocese head for seven years -- as accusations of priestly misconduct grew -- told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel paper that charges against the archdiocese were "ludicrous." The Milwaukee archdiocese is charged with playing a financial shell game to hide $75 million plus an additional $55 million that allegedly went to a cemetery fund.

The Milwaukee archdiocese, faced with a flood of child sex lawsuits, filed for bankruptcy last month.
Read the full story in the NYDailyNews ...

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New Philly lawsuit reportedly will name cardinal and other hierarchs as co-conspirators in priest child abuse coverup 
SNAP announced earlier that at a sidewalk news conference later today, Monday, Feb.14 at 1:00 p.m., attorneys and clergy sex abuse victims will disclose and discuss a new civil lawsuit that charges more Philadelphia Catholic church officials with “conspiring” to conceal child sex crimes by two priests.

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.
Read this mornings press release on the SNAP national website ...

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Right hand man of Philidelphia cardinal faces 1st ever criminal charges for hierarchy coverup of priest sexual abuse 
Facing up to 14 years in prison if convicted, Monsignor William J. Lynn, the Secretary for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, was charged by a grand jury February 10th with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
"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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German Catholic theologians call for women priests, gay couples, elected clergy, and ending enforced celibacy 
In the pope's own fatherland, where church attendance and applicants to the Catholic priesthood are dwindling at alarming rates due to the worldwide Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis, University theologians are calling for a return to sanity with radical church reforms.

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."

Read the full story: German theologians call for end to celibacy - The Denver Post ...

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Dallas resident among sexual predators whose files were ordered released in San Diego diocese settlement in October 
A 176 page file of a Dallas resident convicted of child abuse was released by the diocese of San Deigo following a ruling by a Los Angeles Superior Court in October. This is the largest collection of abuse-related documents ever obtained from a California diocese.

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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