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.
At least three former students of John Langworthy, the accused, have privately told their stories to former Prestonwood staff member Amy Smith -- who is now a Houston resident and local leader of the non-profit group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. Smith has been instrumental in bringing their stories to light.
While Langworthy was immediately fired from the Dallas area Prestonwood church, according to a WFAA Dallas investigative report, there are questions about whether Prestonwood church leaders tried to keep the incident under wraps.
Dr. Jack Graham, who had just been named Prestonwood’s pastor at the time the abuse was discovered, declined comment.
Executive Pastor Mike Buster offered this statement:
"In the summer of 1989, the church received an allegation that John Langworthy had acted inappropriately with a teenage student. Based on this allegation, he was dismissed immediately, removing him from all responsibilities with the church. In no way did officials of the church seek to cover up the actions of Mr. Langworthy or silence his accuser. The elected officers dealt with the matter firmly and forthrightly."
However, what is clear to SNAP's Amy Smith is that none of this would have been made public had she not worked so diligently on behalf of the victims.
Read the WFAA Dallas, TX investigative report of Langworty's confession ...
Read the WAPT Jackson, MS report of the arrest ...
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For nine grueling years in court, a single survivor of clergy abuse has prevailed in a landmark, precedent setting battle against the 'immunity' that the Roman church hierarchy uses to shirk responsibility for the global atrocities of priest sexual abuse, and the cover-up of those atrocities by the Roman hierarchy.
Although victim "John Doe" continues, rightfully, to demand his own identity be protected, what will not be protected any longer is the evidence the Vatican has secreted away about his abuse.
SNAP national -- also, rightfully so -- has focused on the last-ditch release of the records as further showing just how far the church will go to trivialize and re-victimize the survivors to protect itself.
"If anyone is tempted to see any kind of ‘silver lining’ in this, it’s important to keep in mind that the highest echelons of the Catholic hierarchy have been fighting this disclosure for nine years." -- SNAP spokesperson Barbara Dorris
Read the full story in today's Irish Times ...
Read SNAP's response in today's Irish Times ...
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But it is understood that the documents were not made available to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which condemned the Brothers of Charity in the 2009 Ryan Report.
It begs serious questions about how many other documents detailing horrific abuse may have slipped under the commission's radar.
Read the full story in yesterday's Irish Independent ...
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Bracamontes, coordinator of the theology team advising the Confederation of Latin American and Caribbean Religious, said these phenomena represent a shift in power that can be truly transformational when it is based on Jesus who rejected power that was abusive, and who emulated, instead, compassionate love.
Read: "Sisters listen and act on confronting institutional domination" in the National Catholic Reporter --
http://ncronline.org/news/women-religio ... domination
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In reaction, the Vatican has recalled its ambassador to Ireland (called, in Rome, a "papal nuncio"). And according to news analysis from Ireland today, Mr. Kenny's comments have seriously eroded the once rock-solid relationship between the Vatican and Ireland.
In Ireland, the reception to Mr Kenny's withering remarks - which came after the devastating report criticising the Church's handling of clerical sex abuse in the diocese of Cloyne, Co Cork, was published - has been nothing short of sensational.
"Victims of clerical abuse have bravely spoken out, while many ordinary practicing Catholics have applauded the intervention." -- Scotsman News analysis, 26 July 2011
Read Scotsman News Analysis: Catholic church's power over the state has been broken ...
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"Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict's "ear of the heart"......the Vatican's reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.
"This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded."-- Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
In making such a public declaration, Kenny spoke for victims and survivors of Roman priests and their bishop co-conspirators worldwide.
"No high ranking government official anywhere in the world has denounced atrocities committed by church officials as Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has. We commend him for speaking out about how the Roman Catholic hierarchy has put “… the power and reputation of the Church ahead of child rape victims.” These are words of comfort to the thousands of survivors of abuse.
"Mr. Kenny is the first government leader to demand accountability not only from his nation’s bishops but from the Vatican. We applaud his courage and we urge other world leaders to follow his example."-- Barbara Blaine, President, SNAP USA
Read: SNAP President Barbara Blaine's full response 'Victims thank Taoiseach Enda Kenny' here ...
Watch: Video of the Kenny speech here ...
Read the full speech by the Prime Minister here -> Read More...
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Barbara Blaine, national director of SNAP, called Regali's replacement, Chaput, "the worst possible candidate" for the job.
'He should have been fired in Denver, not transferred to Philadelphia." -- Bob Hoatson, Road to Recovery
To see Jusin Regali's record, all you have to do is read the three Philadelphia grand jury reports since 2003.
Here is Chaput's record on abuse. Judge for yourself:
CHAPUT ON REPORTING ABUSE
--- He has been accused of underreporting abuse in his diocese.
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/us ... nverco.htm
CHAPUT ON DISCLOSURE
--- He has attempted to sidestep the transparency of the court system by bullying victims into a church-run mediation. The mediation had no promises of discovery, disclosure, or public release of sex abuse cover-up documents.
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ne ... hReady.htm
No promises of disclosure.
CHAPUT ON THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
--- He fought against anti-crime legislation that would reform the statute of limitations for child sex offenders.
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ne ... ingThe.htm
CHAPUT ON BACKGROUND CHECKS
--- He has not confirmed whether or not he does background checks on priests in the archdiocese. They don't do background checks on volunteers.
CHAPUT ON PLAYING 'LEGAL HARDBALL' WITH RAPE VICTIMS
http://www.usccb.org/ocyp/2010-Internat ... riests.pdf
CHAPUT ON TRANSPARENCY IN THE ABUSE CRISIS
--- Because of anger at their exposure of child sex crimes and cover-up, Chaput held a childish and punitive six-year grudge against the New York Times, refusing to speak with reporters about sex abuse in his diocese and his Vatican-appointed investigation for serial predator Marcial Maciel
http://www.mediaite.com/online/archbish ... t-boycott/
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The report also characterized the Vatican as "entirely unhelpful," for downplaying the child protection policies that Irish church leaders established in 1996, but failed to follow. The report concluded that, in the case of Cloyne, those policies were "not fully or consistently implemented."
Speaking before the Irish parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Enda Kenny described the report as "damning."
Read: "Report by Commission of Investigation into Catholic Diocese of Cloyne" on Ireland's Department of Justice and Equality website ...
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"The phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and adults by Catholic clergy and nuns is more than the violation of innocent people and the criminal cover-up by the erroneously labeled “leaders” of the institutional Church.
It is the mind and soul boggling revelation, over a long period of time, of the reality that there is a very dark side to the Church. It is a revelation that this long nightmare is part of the very fabric of the institution and not an embarrassing and destructive problem that is extraneous to the institution."-- Canon Law expert Thomas Doyle
Read the Tom Doyle's entire speech as he presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Sipe at the SNAP National Conference, July 10, 2011 here.
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The diocese has been hit with several lawsuits under Walsh's tenure involving alleged child sex abuse by former priests.
Reports say that in 2006, Walsh was threatened with criminal charges for failing to report accusations of misconduct against Xavier Ochoa, a priest in his employ, for five days after the priest admitted the abuses to Walsh. Authorities said the delay allowed Ochoa time to flee to Mexico before he could be arrested.
Walsh underwent 'counseling' and was not charged. The priest is still at large. And the victims remain ignored.
Read the full story on the KTVU San Jose website...
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The victim's attorney, Tahira Khan Merritt of Dallas, strongly criticized the diocese, saying its officials were interested in "preserving their secrets." She urged victims to go to law enforcement rather than the church.
In 1976 a plaque was placed on a children center building named after Reilly on the St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church campus in Arlington, TX. The plaque read, in part, "His love for children brings men nearer to the Lord." Victims insisted the plaque be removed following a 2006 settlement against the diocese that also involved the priest.
SNAPDFW urges anyone with any knowledge of abuse by this predator to contact law enforcement officials, and not the church.
Read: Serial molester's victim settles with Fort Worth diocese ...
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County prosecutors have replied that the constitutionality of the law has been previously upheld in court, and that it would be dangerous and inconsistent to grant license to pastors which is not granted to other professionals--such as doctors, therapists, or social workers--in their interaction with clients.
Ramsey County prosecutors write,
"Like statutes prohibiting sexual relationships between patients and doctors, therapists, counselors and social workers, the power imbalance created in the clergy-counselee relationship lies at the heart of criminalizing any sexual relationship that may develop."
Minnesota and Texas are two of the states that have laws on the books for clergy as well as for others in the helping professions.
SNAPDFW has compiled a page of resources for survivors victimized by clergy as adults. See the link below.
- Read: St. Paul priest challenges sex charges ... in the St. Paul StarTribune
- Read: Resources for Survivors of Abuse Who Were Victimized as Adults ... on the SNAPDFW website ...
- Read: Why it is NOT an affair (Psychological Effects of Abuse) ... on the SNAP National website.
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One week before announcing his departure, however, the company Corapi owns to sell his right wing Catholic preaching books, tried to clear its inventory with a Corapi "Ordination Anniversary Sale!!" As far as we know, the sale is still going on, in case anyone is interested.
As we reported here recently, Corapi has been secretly under investigation by his catholic order of priests for allegations that he raped one of his followers.
Today, however, in an arrogant flourish of blinding self-righteousness, Corapi quit the priesthood.
Posturing as an innocent victim/martyr, Corapi "courageously" fell on his sword while:
- Blaming the victim he claims to have only "loved";
- Blaming the bishop-hierarchs (strange "bedfellow," eh?);
- Perpetrating one last rip off of his Catholic faithful followers with an "Ordination Anniversary Sale!!" to clear the inventory of his personal and privately owned book company one week before his announcement to quit.
Read: 'Father Corapi Has Lost It' in the National Catholic Register ...
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The bishops missed a real opportunity to show they really care about kids' safety. Instead, they sent a chilling message: the public relations plan we call our abuse policy is good enough, vague, weak, and unenforced though it may be.
Hundreds of US bishops over the past nine years could have pushed for improvements to the "charter." Not a single one did. -- Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
"This is a squandered opportunity and a disaster for children, not only in the United States but worldwide." -- Bishop Accountability
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to retain their policies on sexual abuse by clergy members with only minor revisions, disregarding victims’ advocates who had called for a more substantial overhaul. -- New York Times
- Read the SNAP statement ...
- Read the Bishop Accountability article ...
- Read the article in the New York Times ...
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Read: Kansas City diocese seeks dismissal of lawsuit, day after announcing plan to investigate abuse ...
http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/ ... e-Lawsuit/
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Additionally, the UN Committee on Rights of the Child reported recently that the Vatican is over 13 years delinquent in producing a simple statement required of all member nations concerning it's efforts to protect children.
By contrast, the Roman pope, just last year responded personally, forcefully and immediately to release millions of dollars in Vatican funds frozen by the international banking community during a money laundering investigation.
Actions speak louder than words.
Read: Vatican further stalls US court in child abuse case:
http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/jun/ ... e-lawsuit/
Read: Vatican 13 years delinquent in filing required UN report on how it protects children:
Read: Pope acts quickly and decisively to release Vatican assets frozen in money laundering investigation:
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A letter written by the principal St. Patrick Catholic School went unread by Robert Finn, the Kansas bishop, for more than a year.
It detailed allegations and suspicions about one of the school's priests, Shawn Ratigan.
Ratigan was charged on May 19 of this year for possessing child pornography.
The letter, written a year to the day before Ratigan’s arrest, lays out a laundry list of accusations. It even said that Ratigan, “Fit the profile of a child predator."
- KC bishop's publicity-provoked 'apology' for leaving priest reported as threat to kids in job ...
- KC bishop admits to ignoring letter reporting priest as potential abuser ...
- Second priest removed following press coverage of bishop's failure to act ...
- Protesters demand resignation of bishop in KC ...
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Read the story in NCROnline ...
Read the editorial in today's Kansas City Star ...
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"At the heart of the crisis was clericalism, the mind-set of ecclesiastical privilege in which leaders behave as an anointed class accountable to no one except those above them in the church hierarchy." -- Editorial in the Minneapolis - St Paul StarTribune, 27 May 2011
Read the editorial in the Minneapolis - St Paul StarTribune, 27 May 2011 ...
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Read the full story in the National Catholic Reporter ...
Updated 29 May 2011
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So says catholic canon law expert Thomas Doyle, author of the first report ever issued to the US bishops on clergy sex abuse, in 1986.
Of all the reports citing cultural causes of clergy abuse, the recently released John Jay College of Criminal Justice report exonerating the "arrogant" clergy from blame is the only one shifting that blame from the clerical culture out of which the crisis arose to the secular culture surrounding it, against which the bishops claim moral superiority while continuing to deny responsibility for protecting pedophile priests.
"Most of the (27 other) reports contained a section on causality. None of the reports said anything about the effect of the culture of the sixties or seventies as a factor of causality but every one of them pointed to the various kinds and levels of failure by the bishops as the essential cause of the phenomenon of sexual abuse of children and minors by clerics." Fr.Thomas Doyle, catholic canon law exert.
Although the report should not be completely written off as largely either irrelevant or enabling of the bishops’ never-ending campaign to avoid facing their responsibility square on, says Doyle, it definitely claims the moral high ground for the bishops again.
Tom Doyle is a priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and long-time supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse victims. He is a co-author of the first report ever issued to the U.S. bishops on clergy sex abuse, in 1986.
In our opinion, the bishops of the US Catholic Church, in allegiance to their European monarch the pope, have attempted to shift attention away from the victims of clergy abuse and onto itself again. The implication is that the church and its 'innocent' leaders are the victims here -- victims of circumstances -- the "circumstances" of an era in American cultural history.
Read Tom Doyle's commentary "'Arrogant clericalism' never assessed in John Jay report" ...
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