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.
Lynn, whose job it was to investigate reports of abuse in the archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, was found guilty of child endangerment.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, still defending itself while showing no concern for victims, issued a statement saying "fair-minded people will question the severity" of what it called a "heavy" sentence.
The so-called "heavy" sentence comes only one day after the NCAA made its own pronouncements concerning Penn state for essentially the same kind of coverup that protected the institution's reputation at the expense of young victims of pedophile coach Jerry Sandusky.
Read the full from Reuters new service ...
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Senior Penn State administration leaders, including the President and the head football coach, had “repeatedly concealed facts,” from authorities about the crimes of convicted child rapist, coach Jerry Sandusky. One of the main reasons given was ‘reverence for football.’
So said Louis J. Freech, the former FBI director commissioned by the university to investigate how the convicted pedophile could have gone on raping vulnerable children in his charge for so long.
In a televised news conference in Philadelphia, Freeh said that the most powerful leaders in the university and the program in which Sandusky worked had “repeatedly concealed facts” for years about the sexual nature of accusations against Sandusky and kept them concealed.
Parallels between the university and the Roman Catholic Church, or any religious denomination whose leadership conceals sexual abuse by its people “to protect its corporate brand, image, and market value.” should be obvious.
But as long as its leadership has a reputation for showing a “total and consistent disregard” for the welfare of children, the university will continue to face fallout, saida crisis-communications expert.
But as long as university leadership has a reputation for showing a “total and consistent disregard” for the welfare of children, the university will continue to face fallout, said a crisis-communications expert at TVP Communications.
Church, synagogue, mosque, sangha and other institutional religion cultures would do well to take this report to heart. Will they?
Read ‘Penn State’s Culture of Reverence Led to 'Total Disregard’ for Children’s Safety' in The Chronicle of Higher Education of 12 July 2012.
A Friday editorial in The New York Times says the Freeh Report “shows how slavish devotion to some institutional imperative can trump everything, including the law, basic human decency and the bedrock obligation we all have to protect defenseless children from harm.”
Read the full Freeh report on the NY Times website …
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In 1973, Americans trusted organized religion highest among American institutions – higher than the military or even the Supreme Court. But not today.
Only 44 percent of Americans today have a lot of confidence in organized religion, compared to 66 percent in 1973 when organized religion or church was the highest rated institution in Gallup’s “confidence in institutions measure.”
Religion, once seen to ‘witness’ excellence and the most revered examples of human moral fiber, is now increasingly seen to witness nothing short of moral bankruptcy.
- The hideous parade of pedophile priests through the courtrooms and prisons of the world, testifies to the church’s moral bankruptcy.
- The vicious and self-righteous cover-ups and counterattacks by bishops on victims who are seeking peace for their brutally disrupted lives testifies to the church's moral bankruptcy.
- The cowardly sheltering under 'diplomatic immunity' in the Vatican of America’s most notorious pedophile-protecting bishop, Bernard Law, testifies to the church’s moral bankruptcy.
- The spectacle of the Catholic church’s oligarchical elite, the Roman pope and his all-male administration, feigning remorse for scapegoated individuals, but claiming eternal innocence for its own corporate self, testifies to the church’s moral bankruptcy.
- The 15 consecutive years of ignoring the United Nations Committee on Rights of the Child for a report on how it deals with child abuse, but the immediate executive order to respond to the world banking community which had frozen millions in Vatican funds during a money laundering investigation testifies to the church’s moral bankruptcy.
- And today, the evidence that trust in church has plummeted to an all time low in the American psyche testifies to the church’s moral bankruptcy.
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"a devastating verdict against the Catholic Church," an editorial in the Dallas Morning News says that the case "involved sex abuse of minors by (a man} whose horrific crimes, to a great degree, were facilitated by an institutional failure to protect vulnerable children."
The case in Philadelphia "represents the first time that a senior official of the Catholic Church was held responsible for the abuse carried out by priests under his supervision."
"... Lynn was like many church administrators in that he knew the histories of abusive priests and yet did nothing to prevent them from preying on children."
"The significance of the verdict in Philadelphia, however, does not end with Lynn’s conviction. Evidence produced in the case offers indisputable proof that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, an ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church and the head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1988 to 2003, was equally guilty of endangering children. ..."
The significance of this cannot be overstated, says the News.
"While Lynn was the only church administrator on trial, the evidence on which he was convicted left no doubt that the hierarchy, beginning with Bevilacqua, was greatly to blame for what happened.
"Lynn’s conviction sent a clear message: Church administrators now know they will be held accountable for their actions. Bevilacqua himself may have been spared the ultimate judgment, but his legacy as an American prelate is forever tainted by his monumental failure."-- Editorial, Dallas Morning News 27 June 2012
Read the full editorial in the Dallas Morning News ...
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VATICAN CITY — The sexual abuse scandal has tarnished the image of the priest and contributed to a crisis of priestly vocations in the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican said Monday (June 25), while also faulting a widespread “secularized mentality” and parents’ ambition for their children, which leaves “little space to the possibility of a call to a special vocation.”
(A lack of priest careers, the Vatican, said is a result of "a widespread secularized mentality" and parents' ambition for their children." -- The Washington Post quoting a Vatican news release Monday, 25 June 2012.
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"Lynn was a smart, able manager who at any time could have called the police, warned parishes, or threatened to blow the whistle," McKiernan said. "He was not a helpless good guy. The only helpless people in this ongoing catastrophe were the children, the many hundreds of boys and girls who were sodomized and terrorized by the men Lynn managed."
Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org.
Read the story in ABC News ...
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Lynn is the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. to be convicted of coverup and child endangerment on charges related to sexual abuse by priests. In the landmark case, prosecutors said Lynn reassigned pedophile priests in Philadelphia while covering up allegations of sexual abuse.
Lynn faces up to seven years in prison on the endangerment conviction. He was denied bail and will remain in custody while awaiting a sentencing hearing Aug. 13.
Barbara Dorris, victims outreach director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called the day’s decision “long overdue.”
“This day—and the relief, vindication and healing it gives clergy sex abuse victims—is long overdue. The guilty verdict sends a strong and clear message that shielding and enabling predator priests is a heinous crime that threatens families, communities and children, and must be punished as such,” she said in a statement released minutes after the verdict was announced.
“It is also the criminal justice system's "shot across the bow," sending a clear signal to all institutions: “Protect kids, oust predators or go to jail,” Dorris said.
Read the full story in the LA Times ...
Read the item in the National Catholic Reporter ...
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Referring to the public relations “debacle” resulting from the Vatican crackdown on American nuns, Rome’s censoring of another nun’s theological writings, the USCCB’s investigation of the Girl Scouts, and the bishops’ pact against the Obama administration, Boston high priest Sean O'Malley’s solution proposed that the US bishops hire out better PR.
"The problem is a lack of substantive reform, not a lack of professional spin-meisters. If bishops would listen more often and take more decisive action – especially in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases – they wouldn’t have to worry about public relations." -- David Clohessy, SNAP Director
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It can take many years to come to terms with abuse and to be able to talk about it, much less pursue legal action.
However, under most current law, victims of childhood sexual abuse have only a short time after they reach adulthood, or after they first realize, as an adult, that they had been abused – to seek justice from the institution where the abuse occurred.
Clearly, state statutes of limitations favor the abuser over the abused.
However, in New Jersey yesterday, it was reported that the State Judiciary Assembly voted to lift the state’s 2 year limit on the rights of victims to bring civil suits against the churches, schools and other organizations that failed to protect the children in their care.
The bill, if finally passed, would lift the time limit on lawsuits against alleged abusers as well as the institutions that employ them, and establish a two-year window for anyone to refile a suit that was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.
Chief among those who argued to continue limiting the rights of their child victims was the Roman Catholic Church, as is typically the case in disputes over statutes of limitations.
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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.“
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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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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.
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