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.

Mega-church elder pleads guilty to rape of church member, and to pending charge of spreading HIV ...  
[Dallas, TX] Nathaniel Tumbwe, a self-proclaimed "reverend, doctor and prince" pleaded guilty Friday to raping a church member while still an elder in the Dallas mega-church Potter's House. Tumbwe also pleaded guilty to a pending charge of transmitting HIV to another women. A third victim was prepared to testify to having also been unknowingly infected with HIV by the former churchman.
After the guilty plea, Tumbwe's rape victim took the witness stand to address Tumbwe in a victim impact statement, in which, in part, she said directly to her perpetrator:

"Mr. Tumbwe, not Rev. Dr. Tumbwe, not Rev. Dr. Prince Tumbwe - Nathaniel Tumbwe, how dare you think you can take advantage of a woman, especially a Christian woman?

"You caused me considerable damage and pain," she said. "Every Sunday, it's in my mind. You caused me to question the church and the faith community.

"How dare you, how dare you, how dare you ..."

The former minister-rapist will serve concurrent 15 year sentences for the charges. Upon release or parole, he will be deported by US authorities.
Read the story in yesterdays Dallas Morning News ...
Read SNAP outreach director Barbara Dorris' statement, issued prior to the outcome of the trial ...

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Vatican reduces protection for 23.7% of potential victims of priest child rape; claims 'major contribution' 
Although the recently released rewording of Vatican status quo on the priest rape crisis extends the Vatican's self-authored statute of limitations to 20 years, the Ratzinger administration has, in essence, increased the dangerous vulnerability of children between ages 14 and 18 by removing their already flimsy Roman hierarchy protection from pornographic rape by priests.

According to the Roman church's own statistics, 23.7% of priest rape victims are between ages 14 and 18. SNAP suspects the number to be much higher. However, in light of that report, the Vatican's latest "major contribution" to "rigor and transparency" in dealing with its priests' criminal rape of children, actually makes this 23.7% of potential victims, i.e. the age group 14-18, to be more vulnerable to predator priests, not less.
Read 'The Politics of Statistics' from Commonweal magazine on the Bishops Accountablitly website ...

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Vatican tweaks statute; defines "child" as under 14; groups women priests, priest rapists; remains unaccountable 
In yet another grossly insensitive attempt to manipulate public opinion in its favor and against its own victims, the Vatican has produced a woefully inadequate rewrite of its long standing status quo in regards to the protection of child victims of priest and priesthood rape. SNAP's response is that "the church's approach needs 'massive overhaul, not mere tweaking."

Although the statement extends the Vatican-self-authored statute of limitations to 20 years, the Ratzinger administration has, in essence, increased the dangerous vulnerability of children between ages 14 and 18 by removing their protection from pornographic rape by priests.

According to the John Jay report of 2003, commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, 23.7% of priest rape victims are between ages 14 and 18. The Vatican's latest "major contribution" to "rigor and transparency" in dealing with its priests' criminal rape of children, renders that age group more vulnerable to predator priests, not less.
Read the two SNAP responses to Vatican "guidelines" rewording status quo ...
Read 'Vatican revises church law on sex abuse' on the NCROnline website ...

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Roman Catholic theologian says Vatican intends to equate women’s ordination with priest pedophilia 
A "magisterial" document (i.e. a divinely sanctioned, self-proclaimed "infallible" teaching by the Roman hierarchy) to be released later this summer by the Vatican is reported to include the ordination of women in the same category as sexual abuse by priests.
"Mixing the two issues, even under the same legal umbrella, is a profoundly perverse proposition. Either these gentlemen are more ethically tone deaf than one can imagine, or they are sly beyond the dreams of foxes in an effort to redirect attention from the criminal behavior of clergy against children to their wrath over the ordination of women." -- Mary E. Hunt, PhD, Roman Catholic theologian, July 12, 2010
Read Hunt's entire article published Monday on the Religion Dispatches Magazine website ...

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Roman church, Roman Polanski use similar tactics to evade justice for sexual abuse of minors, says SNAP leader 
Many in SNAP are victims of perpetrators who, even when convicted or who admit guilt, escape justice anyway by what SNAP President Barbara Blaine calls, "political clout, shrewd maneuvering or by 'running out the clock' on the statute of limitations.'

This points out the extreme similarity between the case of admitted child rapist, Roman Polanski and the Roman church's long-standing history of evasion from the law, as seen clearly in the current global priest pedophile crisis.
"Polanski case about rape, not legal wrangling. Let's not forget that" -- Headline of article in LA Times, July 12, 2010
"This is a travesty. Our hearts go out to anyone who was hurt by Polanski and to the tens of thousands of sexual assault victims whose perpetrators escaped justice by political clout, shrewd maneuvering or by 'running out the clock' on the statute of limitations." -- SNAP President Barbara Blaine, July 12, 2010

Polanski was released yesterday from house arrest in Switzerland, where the Swiss government refuses to allow the confessed and convicted child rapist to be extradited to the US for sentencing.

The Roman church's 2000 year history of secrecy, and evasion of criminal prosecution for its crimes against children and against humanity in general, can be seen as saturated with such legalistic maneuvers in order to remain seemingly "holy,' except for its scapegoated, but still protected, priests rapists, and their protective bishops.

For a fuller insight, read the two articles linked below.
Read the commentary from yesterday's LA Times Blogs ...
Read SNAP President Barbara Blaine's response in the SNAP National Website yesterday ...

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Levada, Ratzinger never intended acting on US abuse crisis, says former chair of SF Review Board 
"Levada (then archbishop of San Francisco, now Vatican chief inquisitor) reported to us on the SF Review Board that it was the opinion of the Inquisition (now the Vatican's CDF, then run by Ratzinger) that canon law should always supersede American law.

"Ratzinger and his allies in the curia were maneuvering to render all of the investigations of the Review Boards worthless before they even got started.

"Little did we then know that the hierarchy never had any intention of ever conducting independent and unvarnished investigations of sexual abuse by priests."

"One of the architects of the so-called "Dallas Charter," the Rev. Gregory Ingels, [canon lawyer and former SF chancellor for Levada] himself eventually indicted by a Marin County grand jury for the rape and sodomy of adolescents, predicted to me personally that canonical charges against him would never stand because of the prescriptions in canon law regarding statute of limitations and the majority age of males and females.

"My recollection of Levada's report of his consultations at the Inquisition was that the curia was not too pleased with the "zero tolerance" approach either adopted by American bishops at their Dallas meetings.

Face it, with Ratzinger running the show at the Inquisition, and now as pope, there was never any intention to deal forthrightly with the abuse scandal on the part of the Vatican hierarchy."

James A. Jenkins, PhD; former chair of the San Francisco (Archdiocesan) Review Board.

-- Newsletter for the National Survivors Advocacy Coalition, 08 July 2010 ...

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Vatican office headed by Ratzinger successor ignores case of still active pedophile priest from 2005 to the present 
Follow the trail of official documents and letters from 2005 to the present in this telling case of a priest pedophile transferred to the US where he molested young girls, and then was transferred to India where he still, to this day, heads an "Education" office which gives him full access to young potential victims.

The Vatican and the Jeyapaul Case
from the Bishops Accountability website

In 2004, Catholic priest Jeyapaul Joseph Palanivel was accepted by the U.S. Diocese of Crookston in Minnesota for parish work. The arrangement had been proposed for Jeyapaul, as the priest is usually known, by his home diocese of Ootacamund in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.

Jeyapaul was in Crookston for less than a year, but in that brief time, he is accused of sexually abusing two female minors, is suspected of abusing at least one other girl, and is now the subject of a police investigation and a civil suit. Jeyapaul is also accused of taking money from the Crookston diocese.

Crookston bishop Victor Balke wrote repeatedly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, urging it to take the Jeyapaul case, and even appealed to the office in person.

Yet as of April 5, 2010, over five years after he allegedly committed the crimes, Jeyapaul is a senior official in the Diocese of Ootacamund, with the schools as one of his portfolios, and the CDF has ignored the case.

The link, below, the Bishop Accountability Web page on the case provides documents that were obtained by counsel for the plaintiff in the civil suit, Jane Doe 121 v. the Diocese of Crookston.

"The documents show the Vatican allowing a priest to remain in ministry, though the CDF has long possessed strong evidence that he is credibly accused."

-- Bishops Accountability website, July, 2010.

At a time when the role of the Vatican bureaucracy in abuse cases is coming under increased scrutiny, the Jeyapaul documents show the Vatican allowing a priest to remain in ministry, though the CDF has long possessed strong evidence that he is credibly accused. At a time when foreign priests are being used to patch a U.S. priest shortage, the Jeyapaul documents cast doubt on the formation of such priests, and on the system's ability to monitor and discipline them effectively.

Below is a link to the timeline of the Jeyapaul case with links to dozens of documents. The paper trail of neglect by Cardinal Levada at the CDF is contained in five documents: Bishop Balke's original 2005 request, the CDF's inadequate response, and then Balke's increasingly urgent letters, as the case worsened in his own diocese: see the letters he wrote in November 2006, December 2006, and March 2007.
Follow the document trail and read "Vatican, CDF, and Cardinal Levada's involvement from 2005 to the present in sexual abuse allegations against Father Joseph Jeyapaul" on the Bishop Acccountability website ...

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Pope praises predecessor who quit the papacy for not being equal to the job 
Addressing citizens of a central Italian town earlier today, the pope praised one of his 13th century predecessor popes, Celestine V, saying the lifestyle of this man, one of the several Catholic pontiffs who resigned the papacy, can serve as an example for modern men and women.

Celestine V assumed the papacy in 1294 at age 85 and resigned five months later, saying he was not up to the task.
Read the story on Earthink's International News website ...

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Ratzinger's office of inquisition, responsible since 1922, failed to act on abuse scandal says NYTimes 
The office which Joseph Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI, headed at the Vatican for years (formerly the "Holy Office of the Inquisition") has been shown by recent review of official Vatican documents by canon lawyers, to have been responsible all along for hearing cases of sexual abuse by priests. However, the implication put forth by the Vatican spin doctors was that Ratzinger only took control in 2001.

According to a comprehensive, in-depth article on the failures of Ratzinger's office in the sexual abuse scandal, published in yesterday's NYTimes, church documents and interviews with canon lawyers and bishops cast a 2001 secret meeting and the future pope’s track record in a new and less flattering light.

The Vatican took action only after bishops from English-speaking nations became so concerned about resistance from top church officials that the Vatican convened the secret meeting to hear their complaints.
"And the policy that resulted from that meeting, in contrast to the way it has been described by the Vatican, was not a sharp break with past practices. It was mainly a belated reaffirmation of longstanding church procedures that at least one bishop attending the meeting argued had been ignored for too long, according to church documents and interviews." -- NYTimes, 02 July 2010.

  • Read the entire article 'Church Office Failed to Act on Abuse Scandal' in yesterday's NYTimes ...
  • Read SNAP's complete response to the Times article on the SNAP national website ...

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    Supreme Court decision to refuse immunity of Vatican for priest sexual abusers could be far-reaching 
    This week the US supreme court issued a decision against the Vatican the importance of which has been compared by one lawyer to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    That may sound like an exaggeration, but the court's decision that the Vatican does not have legal immunity in a claim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest could have far-reaching ramifications for the church.
    "But the real issue in the case has been immunity. The Vatican attempted to invoke the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) of 1976, under which foreign states cannot be sued. The supreme court refused to allow this." -- The Guardian, July 1, 2010

    Britain's news outlet The Guardian reported yesterday of one lawyer calling the Supreme Court decision comparable to the fall of the Berlin wall.

    Read the entire article 'Without its immunity, can the Vatican survive?' in yesterday's UK Guardian ...

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    Vatican diplomatic immunity ploy to evade prosecution in child abuse blocked by US Supreme Court 
    The United States Supreme Court has denied a Vatican petition to hear an Oregon clergy sexual abuse case. The decision to deny allows a civil lawsuit against the Holy See to proceed despite the Vatican’s claim of Foreign Sovereign Immunity.
    “Today’s action by the Justices is an answer to the prayers of literally thousands of survivors of sexual abuse who finally have a real shot at obtaining justice, and the truth, about the complicity of Vatican leaders in covering up the criminal acts of Catholic priests against innocent children." -- Plaintiff attorney, victim advocate Jeff Anderson

    Read the full news release on the SNAP Great Plains website ...

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    Catholic group urges disenfranchised laity to send bishops a strong message by withholding Peter's Pence 
    A group of distinguished Catholics, among whom are Fr. Thomas Doyle, and SNAPDFW's group facilitator, Lisa Kendzior, are calling on Catholics to send a strong message to their bishops in the only place it will be felt -- the collection basket.
    "Catholics have no elections, recall procedures, or impeachment processes that allow them to replace those in authority. Withholding donations is the best way for a disenfranchised laity to send, with one voice, a message to church officials in the only language they understand--MONEY!

    We urge Catholics to re-direct their Peter's Pence collection donation
    on June 27 to a non-church charity of their choice.

    The bishops have squandered our trust. We need to send them a strong message. We urge all Catholics to Send the Bishops a Message by withholding cash, check, and credit card donations on designated 'Withholding Sundays.'" -- Send the bishops a me$$age website.

    Join the movement! Stop the outrage!

    Visit the 'Send the bishops a me$$age" website NOW ...

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    Testimony archdiocese sought to repress shows cardinal protected admitted pedophile priest from police 
    Claiming that church policy at the time was to withold church knowledge of pedophile priests from the law, and that the victims, being "illegal aliens," (direct quote from the deposition) had already left the country anyway, the head of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, commented on testimony he gave concerning the molestation of children under his care.

    Speaking of the church hierarchy, of which he is a high ranking member, Mahony said,
    "I believed ... in our ability to treat and monitor (the pedophile priest) effectively."

    The archdiocese attempted unsuccessfully to have a judge seal the document from public view.

    KTLA, Los Angeles, reports today that according to church documents, the priest, Michael Baker, told Mahony in 1986 at a priests' retreat that he had molested two young boys from 1978 to 1985. Mahony did not notify police and sent Baker to a residential facility that treated priests for sexual abuse problems.

    In the years that followed, Baker was assigned to nine parishes but was barred from having one-on-one contact with minors. He violated those restrictions three times, according to church personnel file summaries previously released by the archdiocese.

    Baker was not removed from the priesthood until 2000, after two men filed a lawsuit alleging he sexually molested them between 1984 and 1999. He is currently serving 10 years in prison for abusing children.

    Responding for SNAP to Mahony's excuse for not reporting Baker to police because the children had already left the country, Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP, said:
    "This is among the most absurd excuses we've ever heard a bishop make - that he refused to call police because an admitted predator claimed the victims had left the country. The legal status of children who are molested is irrevelant and it's shameful that Mahony would claim otherwise.

    If, in fact, Fr. Baker's victims had left the US, Mahony's duty to call police was even greater, since the chances that the kids themselves would contact law enforcement was virtually nil."
    Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times ...
    Read the story on the KTLA website ...
    Read SNAP President Barbara Blaine's response ...

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    'Why I can't accept the pope's latest apology' - SNAP's Director comments on pope's year of priest speech 
    "No entity can effectively police itself, least of all an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy with a widely-documented track record with predatory employees and complicit supervisors." -- SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy

    Read Clohessy's complete article in Monday CNN news ...

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    Law Remains Above the Law - Pedophile Protector Remains ArchPriest Under Vatican Diplomatic Immunity 
    Dozens of protesters took to the sidewalks outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Sunday morning to voice their opinions on Cardinal Bernard Law.

    Law resigned as Boston’s archbishop in 2003 following the clergy sex abuse crisis. Area Catholics said he knew of sexual misconduct and covered it up.

    Law was transferred to Rome after his resignation where the last eight years he has been the archbishop emeritus of Boston and archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

    Members of National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Speak Truth To Power and People of Conscience picketed outside the Cathedral Sunday while a special mass to honor couples celebrating their gold and silver wedding anniversaries was going on.

    Protesters said they wanted to remind church goers that there was something wrong about Cardinal Law being allowed to maintain his position with the Vatican.

    Read more on the SNAP Great Plains website ...

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    Pope's apology to victims: The Devil made us do it, as thousands of priests gather in Rome to celebrate themselves 
    Implying that a world without priests is a world without God, the pope punctuated his long-awaited "apology" to the victims of priest rape and child abuse by blaming it on 'the enemy,' catholic jargon for the devil.
    “It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the ‘enemy,’” Benedict XVI said. “He would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world.” - Pope Benedict XVI

    "The term "the enemy" is a traditional Catholic way of referring to the Devil." -- National Catholic Reporter

    SNAP responds:
    "Tonight, the Pope passed up a perfect chance to:
    • announce bold steps that actually safeguard children,
    • urge thousands of priests to call police if they see or suspect or learn of child sex crimes, and
    • acknowledge and thank the few, brave whistleblower priests like Fr. Thomas Doyle, Fr. James Scahill and others who have found the strength, courage and compassion to expose their corrupt, predatory colleagues and supervisors." -- David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director

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    Decades of Victims attend "Year of the Priest" in Rome, say lip servant pope must do more than "apologize"  
    Victim of sexual abuse by a priest, Joelle Casteix , member of U.S.-based Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), holds a banner during a news conference in downtown Rome June 8, 2010. -- Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

    (Reuters) - Victims of sexual abuse by priests Tuesday demanded Pope Benedict take concrete steps to discipline clerics who have molested children, saying a public apology they expect this week from the pope will not be enough.
    Read the full Reuters News story ...

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    SNAP director says focus of cardinal's trip to Ireland obscures real problem: a secretive, self-serving hierarchy 
    "Focusing on the laity, especially regarding mass attendance and confession, more than "misses the boat." The problem has been and remains a rigid, secretive, self-serving all-male monarchy that consistently puts its own comfort and reputation above the safety and well-being of its flock." -- David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP

    Read the story and SNAP news release from June 7 ...

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    Clerical abuse shows Catholic church needs nothing less than total reform, says Australian Catholic bishop 
    Calling the current crisis facing the Catholic Church arising out of sexual abuse "arguably the most serious challenge the Church has faced since the Reformation in the 16th century," an Australian bishop insists that a total systemic reform of Church structures is needed.
    "An ecclesiastical environment which allowed such aberrant behaviour can no longer be tolerated." -- Pat Powers, Auxiliary Bishop, Australia April 23, 2010.

    Read the entire article in the Australian Jesuit magazine Eureka Street ...

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    Church pressure contributes to defeat of NY Child Victims Act for 5th consecutive year; SNAP director responds 
    On Wednesday, all seven Republicans on the Codes Committee and two of the nine Democrats voted no on the state's proposed Child Victims Act, which would have allowed greater flexibility to victims of childhood sexual abuse in civil suits against their abusers.

    Senator Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx and Westchester (was) one of the Democrats who opposed the measure, which had been vigorously opposed by Catholic officials.

    The other Democrat who voted no was Senator Neil D. Breslin of Albany. Senator Shirley L. Huntley, a Democrat from Queens, voted “no recommendation.”

    “I think (recent public awareness of the child abuse by Roman Catholic priests scandal) actually did increase public support, but that does not always translate into legislative remedy,” said David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

    Mr. Clohessy said the vote ended efforts this year in three states to pass laws suspending the statute of limitations for a limited period in sex abuse cases. Similar bills have already been defeated in Arizona and Wisconsin.

    California and Delaware are the only states to have adopted such legislation, though similar laws have been proposed in about 15 states since 2002, he said.

    Read the story in the NYTimes ...

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    Catholic officials oppose NY Child Victims Act to prevent child abuse, expose sex abusers; Senate votes today 
    Later today, the NY Senate Codes Committee is expected to vote on a bill that would help prevent child sex crimes, expose child sex abusers and help those who have already been molested get justice, healing and closure.

    The proposal, called the Child Victims Act, would open a one year ‘window’ to allow those under 54 years old who were sexually assaulted as children to file civil lawsuits against both the predator and any employers/supervisors who ignored or concealed the crimes. It is fiercely opposed by some Catholic and Orthodox Jewish officials.

    Read the SNAP statement on the national website ...

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