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.

Philadelphia Roman Catholic official imprisoned for child sexual abuse coverup 
NEW YORK — The highest-ranking US Roman Catholic Church hierarch to be convicted of covering up child sex allegations, Philadelphia diocese priest and monsignor William Lynn, was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday.

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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'Culture of Reverence' caused 'total disregard for the safety and welfare' of children, says Penn State sexual abuse report 

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?


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'Cover-ups in the Catholic Church' of priest sexual abuse may factor into all-time low of faith in organized religion, says Gallup poll 

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.

Read: ‘American Confidence In Organized Religion At All Time Low’ in the Huffington Post …

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Roman Catholic Cardinal 'equally guilty of endangering children;' says Dallas news editorial 
Calling the conviction of the Philadelphia diocese Roman Catholic hierarch for child endangerment
"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 blames lack of priests on secularism and parents; hires secular PR man from Fox News as answer to worldwide priest sex abuse crisis 

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.

Read the story in the Washington Post

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Conviction of US Roman Catholic hierarch called 'Watershed Moment' in priest abuse crisis by president of Bishop Accountability  
"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

Read the story in ABC News ...

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Catholic official convicted of child endangerment in covering up sexual abuse by priests in landmark trial 
A Pennsylvania jury Friday convicted William J. Lynn of child endangerment for covering up sexual abuse of children by priests.

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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Bishops' answer to priest sexual abuse, offensive nuns, non-party-line-toeing theologians and Girl Scouts is paying for better PR 

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

Read ‘Medium is message? Catholic bishops debate hiring a spokesperson’ in the Washington Post

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New Jersey Assembly votes to ease statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse in spite of strong Catholic opposition  

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.

Read the full story in the North New Jersey news …

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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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