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.

Orthodox counselor in Hasidic community, on trial for sex abuse, embraced while young accuser is shunned 

In Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a young girl has claimed that her spiritual adviser has been abusing her for 3 years. But instead of taking steps to protect the girl until the truth is fully revealed, her accused perpetrator has been embraced and defended as wrongly accused.

The girl has been called a slut and a troublemaker, her family threatened and spat at on the street.

The rallying around the accused perpetrator, who goes on trial this month, and the ostracizing of his accuser and her family reflects long-held beliefs in this insular community, which insists that problems should be dealt with from within and that elders have far more authority than the young.

“There are other people that claim misconduct and they can’t come out because they’re going to be re-victimized and ostracized by the community,” said  a friend of the young accuser’s family who counsels troubled girls.“

Read the full story in the Huffington Post

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Who will guard the guardians? 'US Bishops accountability at the top' a question that remains unanswered, says Wall Street Journal 
Who will guard the guardians? Ten years after the Catholic hierarchy of the United States gathered in Dallas and adopted unprecedented policies to address the scourge of child sexual abuse by clergy, the question of accountability at the top remains unanswered.

So writes David Gibson in the Wall Street Journal. Throughout the crisis of the sexual abuse of innocents by priests, as it unfolded over the last 10 years in both the US and the world, 

"the bishops exempted themselves from accountability—even though records showed that feckless inaction by many bishops, or even deliberate malfeasance by some, had allowed abusers to claim so many victims." -- The Wall Street Journal, 07 June 2012.

Read the full article 'US Bishops still stonewall on sex abuse' in the Wall Street Journal of 07 June 2012

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Still no comment from top dog bishop who used church-goer donations in pay-offs of $20,000 plus benes to pedophile priests, says WI news  

Comment from the leader of the morally bankrupt Roman church in America, and former CEO of the Milwaukee diocese, to charges that he paid off pedophile priests in his employ to go away, is glaringly conspicuous in its absence, at least as of this posting.

In yet another case of ‘how outrageous does outrageous have to get’ Timothy Dolan, leader of the USCCB, while head priest in Milwaukee, gave pedophile priests on the diocese payroll ten grand to simply start the paperwork of getting lost and finding another job.

When the Vatican said ok to the ‘laicization’ of these men, Dolan gave them another ten grand, and extended their church-goer financed benefits as well. So says the NY Times and the Milwaukee Post.

Read the entire account of this latest moral depravity perpetrated on the faithful of Milwaukee in the links below.

Read ‘Cardinal Authorized Payments to Abusers’ in the NYTimes and the Milwaukee Post …

Read ‘Dolan has nerve lecturing Obama on morals’ … in Irish Central

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Jury finds Green Bay Catholic diocese guilty of fraud in allowing priest suspected of child abuse to continue serving 
In the first trial against a Catholic diocese for sexually abusive clerics in Wisconsin state history, a jury found the diocese guilty of fraud in allowing a priest accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with children to continue in his job.

In the mid 1990's a pair of controversial state supreme court decisions fully immunized the church from any and all corporate liability for priest child molesters based on a controversial interpretation of the first amendment. It is a testament, therefore, to the courage and persistence of Todd and Troy Merryfield and their families who have doggedly pursued justice through a much more daunting path of filing their claim under the state’s fraud statutes.

Read the full story on the WTAQ News website ...

Read the statement by SNAP Midwest Director  Peter Isley ...

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Change statutes of limitations: Victims need 'years, even decades,' to deal with abuse before confronting abusers, says Philly editorial  
Among the difficult realities of child sexual abuse is that victims might need years, even decades, to come to terms with their abuse. So says an editorial in Sunday's Philadelphia Patriot-News.

It isn’t until they deal with the emotional trauma of what happened to them that they then are ready to confront their abuser.

Unfortunately, our justice system is not set up to deal with this all-too-common occurrence.

Instead, there is a statute of limitations in place that only gives victims a certain amount of time to file a complaint, either civil or criminal.

If they come forward after that time period has expired, they are barred from going forward. We have seen this most prominently with accusations against priests in the Catholic Church.
This (statute of limitations) system not only does not allow victims to seek the justice they deserve, but it also protects the sexual abuser, whose identity otherwise might never become public. -- The Philadelphia Patriot-News, 20 May 2012.

In response to the Penn State coaching and the Catholic Church priest abuse scandals, an editorial in yesterday's Philadelphia Patriot-News calls for altering the state's statute of limitations on reporting sex crimes. The new state code would then favor the victims, for a change, and no longer the abusers.

The editorial calls on Pennsylvania to create a “window” or period of time when victims who are beyond the statute of limitations can come forward and file a suit against an abuser.

Other states, such as California, Delaware and most recently, Hawaii, have enacted such laws. When California opened a one-year window, 300 cases were opened.

Read the full editorial in Sunday's Philadelphia Patriot-News ...

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Evidence in landmark trial of Roman Catholic hierarch shows a culture of secrecy and self-interest over safety of flock 
In over eight weeks of testimony in the landmark case of a Roman Catholic diocese and its administrator for child endangerment, jurors saw a parade of witnesses and close to 2,000 documents, some decades old, that detailed what bishops, pastors priests, and church officials knew and did (or didn't do) about Philadelphia-area priests suspected of abusing children.
They cared about money, they cared about the business of the church, not the flock and not the parishioners." -- Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington, Courtroom 304 Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center.

The mountain of evidence pointed to a long-standing culture in the hierarchy - and at times the ranks below - that chose secrecy over transparency and the welfare of the institution over victims.

"It was all about the good of Mother Church," Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said in arguments to the judge Thursday. "They cared about money, they cared about the business of the church, not the flock and not the parishioners."

Read the full story in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer ...

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Roman Catholic priest found guilty in Dallas of murder-for-hire plot to kill his young sexual abuse accuser 
The Roman priest caste, notorious for intimidating its own victims, its own charity organizations, its nuns and even the Girl Scouts of America has produced yet another heavy.

A Dallas County jury has found a Roman Catholic priest, John F. Fiala, guilty of plotting the death of a young boy he is accused of sexually abusing. Fiala could be sentenced to up to life in prison for solicitation of capital murder.

Fiala will also stand trial for the rape of the young boy, and for threatening him at gunpoint.

Read the full story in the Dallas News ...

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Culture of coverup remains in discredited Roman order of priests founded by a pedophile, as leading member admits fathering children 
Following an Associated Press expose confronting the defamed order of priests that pope Ratzinger (a.k.a. Benedict XVI) declined to disband, the Roman Legionnaires of Christ, a favorite priest order of the current and the former pope, has admitted once again to covering up for one of its most public spokesmen.

In a statement, the Legion said it was sorry it hadn't acted "earlier and more firmly" to remove priest Thomas Williams from his very public ministry as a spokesman, author and high-profile television personality.
Just last week, the Legion admitted that seven of its priests were under investigation by the Vatican for allegedly sexually abusing minors – suggesting that the same culture of secrecy and silence that Maciel used to cover his crimes enabled other priests to abuse children.

Williams, an American moral theologian and former superior of the Legion's Rome general office, admitted Tuesday he had had a relationship with a woman and had fathered a child.

This is the order beset by scandal following revelations that its late founder, priest Marciel Maciel, fathered three children with two women and sexually abused his seminarians.

Maciel died in 2008, and in 2009 the Legion admitted to his crimes.

The Maciel scandal has been particularly sensational given that the Mexican-born priest was held up by the John Paul II regime, including its second in command Joseph Ratzinger (currently pope), as a model for the faithful, with his priests admired for their orthodoxy and ability to bring in money and attract new seminarians.

The facade, however, began to crumble in 1997 with revelations of his abuse, though it wasn't until 2006 that the Vatican sanctioned Maciel to a lifetime of prayer and penance for his crimes.

Just last week, the Legion admitted that seven of its priests were under investigation by the Vatican for allegedly sexually abusing minors – suggesting that the same culture of secrecy and silence that Maciel used to cover his crimes enabled other priests to abuse children.

Read the full story 'Legion Of Christ Priest ... Admits He Fathered Child' in the Huffington Post ...

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After attacking nuns, catholic charities and international charity groups, Roman bishops in USA go after Girl Scouts 
From the outrageous, to the preposterous, to the absurd, Roman bishops are now attacking the Girl Scouts. They are shotgunning for anyone to blame for anything to take attention off of their total denial and moral bankruptcy, as evidenced in the long enduring priest sexual abuse crisis and its systematic coverup by the church hierarchy.
"This month, it was the Leadership Conference of Women Religious that bishops were concerned about. Before that, it was Catholic Charities in the United States. Then it was Caritas, the church's umbrella organization for the coordination of international charity. And now it is the Girl Scouts." -- Joan Chittister

Joan Chittister is a well-known and outspoken Benedictine nun in the Roman church in America. In her column 'From Where I Stand' published May 16 on the National Catholic Reporter website, Joan speaks up loudly about the preposterous and apparently random gyrations of the all-male Catholic hierarchy caste, asking the following key question:
Where has all this energy for empirical destruction come from in a church now projecting its own serious problems with sexual issues onto everything that moves?

In the powerful article, Chittister says that each of the groups attacked has been "curtailed, 'investigated' or put in some kind of canonical receivership because of their reputed lack of orthodoxy on sexual issues or because of association with other groups that, according to the bishops, have the same problem. And all of that in the face of the sex abuse debacle of the church itself, still to be resolved, never monitored, and totally closed to outside investigation."

The article also briefly reviews a new book: Pius XII: The Hound of Hitler by noted historian Gerard Noel. Noel traces the rise to power of Eugenio Pacelli (a.k.a. Pius XII) whose goal became the centralization of the church, and the control of all its organizations. "Under Pacelli, law became the power of the church; the Gospel, its victim."

Chittister goes on:
"For the first time in history, the Vatican took sole control of episcopal appointments, extended "infallibility" to "definitive" statements like encyclicals and gave the pope the right to declare on universal issues without the advice and consent of episcopal conferences, synods or councils. It was a recipe for monarchical control. And it worked.

"Now, as a result, bishops are cut out of common cloth. They are chosen to be what the Vatican wants rather than what the culture or the people need. They are an arm of the Vatican rather than the voice of the flock in dialogue with the Vatican."

Read the full article in the National Catholic Reporter of 16 May 2012:

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'Never admit to victims that there are other cases' said memo to Philly church official accused of child endangerment and coverup 
A memo in the landmark Philadelphia trial of a Roman Catholic diocesan official was cited by the prosecution as evidence of the church’s attempt to minimize scandal and conceal clergy sex abuse. The defendant's lawyer, on the contrary, used the memo in the accused priest's "Eichmann" defense to claim the administrator was merely following orders when covering for pedophile priests and reassigning them.

Read the story from the Philadelphia Inquirer ...

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Trend in US Catholic dioceses: put abuse lawyers on bishop's payroll, says Missouri diocese 
In a statement sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch late Friday afternoon, Katie Pesha, the archdiocese's executive director of communications and planning, confirmed that Archbishop Robert Carlson had hired Tom Buckley, formerly of the law firm Buckley & Buckley, as the archdiocese’s in-house general counsel.

In the statement, Pesha said that "after much thought and consultation" Carlson had decided to restructure the archdiocese's legal representation, pointing out that "a number of dioceses throughout the country follow this similar structure."

Read more in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ...

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New charges of failure to protect children from priest sexual abuse emerge against Irish Roman Catholic hierarch 
In a BBC report broadcast yesterday the Roman cardinal in Ireland, Sean Brady, has been accused of further child endangerment and official church coverup.  

The BBC's This World program reports that as late as 2010 Brady  had the names and addresses of those being abused by  Brendan Smyth, "Ireland's most prolific pedophile," but did nothing about it, and did not ensure their safety.

Read the full story in the BBC News ...

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CA Bishops lobby against modest extension of statute of limitations and background checks for childcare 
"Given the known scope of the abuse in the California dioceses, it is nearly unfathomable that, even now, the California bishops are lobbying against modest extensions of the statute of limitations and meaningful background investigations for those working closely with children on a regular basis" -- Victims advocate, attorney  Marci Hamilton

Read full article: 'Catholic bishops lobby against legislation to protect children new=true

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KC bishop becomes first Catholic hierarch to face criminal charges in decades old church sex abuse coverup scandal 
The leader of Kansas City area Roman Catholics will face criminal charges for failure to report suspected child abuse to proper secular authorities. So ruled Missouri judge, John Torrence. 

Robert Finn, religious superior of the Kansas City -  St. Joseph diocese of the Roman church, will be compelled to face a jury of his peers to plead absolution from the criminal charges which he denies.

With the decision in the Missouri court Thursday, Finn becomes the first Roman hierarch to face criminal charges in the decades old Roman Catholic priest sexual abuse crisis.

Read more:

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Secular court supervision, and leadership of women create priest abuse prevention plan for indicted Catholic diocese 
Under a deal struck with the court to avoid more criminal charges, the Roman Catholic diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is following the leadership of two women who have created a 3 step plan that Roman bishops and their pope have refused to implement for centuries prior.

In a case that represents a shift toward holding the Catholic Church hierarchy legally accountable for failing to warn parents or police about abusive priests, and under 5 years of county prosecutor supervision, the church that refuses women ministerial leadership roles, has accepted their court-watched leadership to avoid further prosecution, and is allowing the women to plan the protection of the diocese's innocents from abusive and pedophile priests.

The womens' plan, in its simple essence, is this. 

When abuse is suspected, 

1. Call the police;
2. Call an abuse hotline;
3. Call the church -- IN THAT ORDER.
"The diocese’s model for responding to abuse concerns has changed fundamentally. The initial response has been taken out of the hands of clergy" -- Carrie Cooper,  leader of child protection efforts for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

We would suggest one change in the plan for our site's visitors and readers: if your own diocese is not under court insistence to comply, AND under leadership other than clergy, then the plan should be this:

  1. Call the police;
  2. Call an abuse hotline - period.

The Roman Catholic Church in the United States has, for over ten years, ignored SNAP's insistence that they do precisely that.

Now, out of one hand,
  • The KC diocese  lawyers attack SNAP -- with obvious approval from the USCCB;
And out of the other hand,
  • under criminal indictment, secular court supervision, and the leadership of women, the diocese starts protecting its children.

The result of this secular enforcement finally begins to put some parishioner donations -- and the actual protection of the innocent -- where only their priests', bishops' and pope's mouths have been in the past.

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Ratzinger altered Roman canon law statute of limitations on sexual abuse to favor deposed pedophile religious order founder, says new book 
Victims of the deposed founder of a Roman order of priests have published a shocking account of their rape by the order's founder, and their subsequent re-victimization by the Roman Catholic Inquisition authorities who denied them justice.

In the book’s most striking accusation, one of the authors, José Barba, who holds a doctorate from Harvard in Latin American studies, writes that in 2001 Joseph Ratzinger (today, a.k.a. Benedict XVI) and his chief canon lawyer Tarcisio Bertone (a high ranking member of the Roman Curia) modified the statute of limitations in church law regarding sex with minors retroactively in favor of the rapist priest and the order's founder Marcial Marciel, outrageously violating the human rights and legitimate interests of his victims.

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Internal documents show Vatican knew of deposed Legion leader's sexual abuse of seminarians for years, says ex-Legionairre 
The Washington Post reports that a new book says internal Vatican documents show the Holy See knew decades ago of allegations that the Mexican founder of the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order was a drug addict and pedophile.

The documentation has been compiled in a book "La voluntad de no saber" ("The will to not know"), which is co-authored by Jose Barba, a former Legion priest who along with other priests in 1998 brought a church trial against the Legion's founder, the Rev. Marciel Maciel, for having sexually abused them while they were seminarians.

"The importance of this book is that it documents the irrefutable evidence and proof that the Vatican has been lying about Maciel," said Bernardo Barranco, an expert from the Religious Studies Center of Mexico and author of the prologue of the new text.

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JP Morgan pulls plug on Vatican bank account for 'concerns about a lack of transparency' in money transfers  
According to a Reuters story in the Huffington Post, JP Morgan Chase is closing the Vatican bank's account in Italy due to "concerns about a lack of transparency at the Holy See's financial institution."

The bank of the Roman Catholic Church has been trying to clean up its image after 30 million dollars of its assets were frozen at the end of 2010 in a money laundering investigation.

The pope immediately issued a "motu proprio" - in effect, an executive order -- creating an internal mechanism in an effort to satisfy the international banking community over transparency issues related to fraud and money laundering. JP Morgan's current move seems to indicate that that effort to save papal face has not been very successful.

The public image of the Holy See's bank has also been harmed by the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, in which highly sensitive documents, including letters to the pope, were published in Italian media.

Some of the leaked documents appear to show a conflict among top Vatican officials about just how transparent the bank should be in dealings that took place before it enacted its new laws.

Once again, the Roman Church hierarchy shows its true colors, valuing its cash over the protection of children. But even in that case, the 'sacred' subterfuge and silencing speaks volumes.

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Dutch Catholic Church castrates child 'to get rid of homosexuality' after he reported priests for abusing him, UK Telegraph says 
In a report filed with The Telegraph yesterday, the NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in 1956, while a minor, after reporting priests to the police for abusing him in a Catholic boarding home.

Sources for the newspaper said that the surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse.

Sources told Dutch news that surgical removal of testicles was regarded ... as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse...

-- The Telegraph, 19 Mar 2012.

The castration was also reported to an official inquiry into abuse within the Catholic Church by a family friend who knew Mr Heithuis in the 1950s. But the report, and the evidence with it, were ignored in the final report.

Dutch officials will call for a parliamentary investigation.

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MO court twists 1st Amendment to shield churches from liability for pedophile clergy, says NYTimes; Supreme Court to review case Friday 
A NYTimes editorial yesterday says that in "an outrageous case," a Missouri appellate court dismissed a negligence case against the Archdiocese of St. Louis for failure to supervise a priest with a record of child sexual abuse.

The court threw out the complaint, saying that Missouri law does not allow it because judging the supervision of the priest would require inquiry into religious doctrine, which it contends would violate the First Amendment.

Let's repeat the core of that: the Missouri court said:


The Supreme Court will have an opportunity on Friday to reverse that decision. Let's hope the high court does precisely that.
"This bizarre conclusion would grant churches a special exemption from neutral, generally applicable laws designed to protect children. The United States Supreme Court now has an opportunity to reverse this erroneous interpretation of the Constitution." -- NY Times Editorial, 14 Mar 2012

The question to be presented to the Supreme Court on Friday will be this:
Does the First Amendment shield religious organizations from accountability for negligence and negligent supervision and retention of their employees who sexually abuse children?

Read: Clerical Abusers and the First Amendment in yesterday's NYTimes ...

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SNAP is neither plaintiff nor defendant, says NY Times; yet legal authority says 'they are trying to find a way to silence SNAP' 
"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. ...

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 ..."

-- New York Times, 12 March 2012

“If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

-- Marci A. Hamilton, law professor,Yeshiva University; advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes

Read the article: Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group in today's NYTimes ...

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