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.
Pope quickly accepts bishop's resignation only days before child abuse report that may implicate diocese is to be publishedThis is one to watch over the next few days.
A Catholic bishop in Ireland stepped down yesterday just six days before child sex abuse audits into two dioceses where he served are due to published.
Bishop of Derry Seamus Hegarty’s resignation on health grounds was accepted by Pope Benedict a mere two weeks after offering it. He left his post immediately.
Read the full story in the Irish Independent ...
Read 'Bishop quits over health days before abuse audits' ...
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'No one has suffered more' in sexual abuse crisis than Catholic church, claims head bishop; victim advocates disagreeA Reuters news service article quotes the head of US Roman Catholic bishops, Timothy Dolan, as saying that the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University 'opens a wound' within the church. "No one has suffered more," claims the Catholic leader of priests.
The victims advocacy community -- with all respect that may or may not be due -- would point out to the bishop that the victims of abuse are the ones who have been wounded, raped and sodomized by Catholic priests and attacked by bishops and their high-priced lawyers for years -- a fact dramatized by these very statements.
It is not the Catholic hierarchy that has been victimized. The bishops, like Dolan, in that "community" continue to provide and protect the criminal perpetrators of that abuse. You, Mr. Dolan, and your kind, are not the victims here.
According to victims advocate Kristine Ward of SNAPDFW's sister group, the National Survivors Advocacy Coalition (NSAC), the purpose of Dolan's comments were to opportunistically deflect attention away from his colleagues and underlings in the Roman hierarchy, which systemically perpetuates the environment of abuses, and systematically denies it and shields the guilty.
Once again, SNAPDFW asks the question we've asked so many times before:
Just how outrageous does outrageous have to get!?
Read the Reuters news article "Penn State scandal "opens wound" in Catholic Church" ...
Read Kristine Ward's NSAC Editorial "The Gall of It" ... Read More...
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SNAP National Director David Clohessy speaks about Penn State sex scandal and parallels to priest sexual abuse
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Penn State students, fans collect donations for ChildHelp, making support of victims the focus of the sex scandalSome 400 Penn State students held canisters on Saturday at Beaver Stadium asking game day fans to make a donation.
They collected money for ChildHelp -- a non-profit organization which specializes in the prevention and treatment of child abuse. "A lot of alumni (are) coming by and appreciate what we're doing and they know that this is what the student body is really about," said Penn State University Junior Ian Golden.
"... this is what the student body is really all about ..." - PSU Junior Ian Golden
Golden formed a group on facebook aimed at restoring Penn State pride by uniting students for a singular cause: "Show their support for the victims, really focus all this attention back on the victims and their families," he said.
Read: PSU Students, Fans Show Support of Child Abuse Victims ...
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Penn State sex scandal parallels Catholic crisis, except PSU leaders are being held accountable, says chair of NSACKristine Ward is chairperson of SNAP's sister survivors advocacy group, the National Survivors Advocacy Coalition.
In the mid '60s, Ward was a student at her alma mater, Penn State when Joe Paterno became football coach. She sees direct parallels between the Penn State disclosures of alleged sexual abuse of children and its coverup, and the Catholic church sex abuse scandal -- with the exception that the Penn State brass, who covered up the allegations from the beginning, have gotten fired while not a single catholic bishop has even been reprimanded, much less fired.
In the meantime, no one is paying attention to the real victims in these tragedies -- the children and the innocents.
Watch the Kristine Ward interview on Ohio News Network ...
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The patterns outlined in the 40-count indictment charging Sandusky are familiar:
- the grooming of vulnerable youth,
- using a trusted position and stature within the community to gain access to children and to fend off suspicion,
- descriptions of fondling and rape of children,
- reports of abuse being minimized,and
- a continued toleration of the abuser within a protective culture.
-- National Catholic Reporter
Read 'Abuse and cover-up: Penn State's Catholic-like scandal' in NCROnline ...
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Penn State trustees fire football coach and university president as sex scandal evokes Boston clergy crisisPenn State trustees fired football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier amid the growing furor over how the school handled sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach.
Boston attorney Carmen Durso, who has represented numerous clergy sex abuse victims, said the Boston and Penn State cases will likely share a lack of proper accountability for the people who allowed accused abusers to work with children years later.
"If you're a powerful person in any regard, the rules are different for you," he said. "That's why Cardinal Law just had his (80th birthday) party in Rome and that's why Joe Paterno is still a hero to people even though he let this go on."
Read 'Paterno fired over Penn St. child abuse scandal' at CBS News ...
Read 'Penn State scandal evokes Boston clergy crisis' at CBS News ...
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"When anyone reports to us the sexual abuse of a child ... it’s not a case for the kind of investigation that we might want to launch ourselves.
“This is a case for calling in the authorities, because after all, this is not just about determining what is taking place in any event or accusation but what is the credible threat that even now if we delay, similar children might be put in similar danger.”
Read more in the Associated Baptist Press ...
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Ireland closes Vatican Embassy established in 1929 when Mussolini declared Vatican state sovereignty in EuropeThe Irish government announced late on Thursday that it has closed its embassy to the Vatican. This has revived focus on a bitter public debate on the Catholic Church’s handling of clerical child sex abuse cases and the wider question of church-state relations.
Ireland's diplomatic relations with the Vatican began in 1929, the year that the 14 square block suburb near downtown Rome was declared a nation due to a 'Concordat' between the Holy See and the government of Italy.
The Concordat of 1929 was signed by Pius XI's curial emissary, Pietro Gaspari, a Cardinal, and Italian premier Benito Mussolini. Following the signing of the Concordat, several Catholic countries sent ambassadors, including Ireland. That relationship ended on Thursday.
The Lateran Treaty, as the Concordat was officially called, is one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, three agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, ratified June 7, 1929, ending the "Roman Question". Italy was then under a Fascist government; the succeeding Italian governments have all upheld the treaty.
The pacts consisted of three documents:
- A political treaty recognising the full sovereignty of the Holy See in the State of Vatican City, which was thereby established.
- A concordat regulating the position of the Catholic Church and the Catholic religion in the Italian state.
- A financial convention agreed on as a definitive settlement of the claims of the Holy See following the losses of its territories and property.
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Megan Peterson was abused by her priest in Crookston, ND for two years at the age of 14. She's one of the few who have come forward while the abuse was ongoing. Traveling the world with SNAP for the last few months, she now wants to reach out to others by starting a group in Fargo, North Dakota.
In this story, from Fargo's WDAY website, hear Megan Peterson and SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris as they encourage other survivors to come forward and to begin healing together.
Read and watch the story on the WDAY websiite ...
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“The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”
-- Albert Einstein
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.”
-- Edmund Burke
“I assure all the faithful that there are no archdiocesan priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.”
-- Cardinal Justin Regali, Philadelphia Archdiocese, shortly before a Grand Jury report resulted in his removing twenty-one priests from their ministries for sexual abuse allegations.
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First ever US Roman Catholic bishop and diocese to face criminal charges for failure to protect children from sexually abusive priestsBishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese have been charged with failure to report suspected child abuse.
The charges, filed Friday in a Jackson County, Mo., court and announced at a press conference this afternoon, represent the first time a U.S. bishop has faced criminal charge related to clergy sexual abuse, and the first time a diocese as a whole has faced such charges.
Read the full story in NCR Online:
KC bishop charged with failure to report child abuse
======== Follow links provided in a Special Edition of NSAC News today ===========
-- KC bishop charged for not bringing porn to police - KANSAS CITY (MO) - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
-- Jackson County grand jury indicts Catholic Diocese, Bishop Finn - KANSAS CITY (MO) - KCTV -[with video]
-- KC Bishop charged for not bringing porn to police - KANSAS CITY (MO) - The Associated Press
-- 'Underlying systemic issues' need to be dealt with in abuse scandal, nun says - CANADA - National Post
Also, read: Finn should be Finn ished on the Voice from the Desert website ...
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SNAP Director joins local members in protesting Episcopal School's decision to appeal $9.2 million abuse verdict against the schoolSNAP Director David Clohessy joined members of the SNAPDFW group of survivors to protest the decision of the Episcopal School of Dallas to contest a $9.2 million judgement against it in a case of sexual abuse of a student by a teacher at the school.
"“All that will do is drag these families through more pain and suffering,” said Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “[ESD] will be saying that its reputation and assets are more important than your child’s safety.”
The school, which had been found grossly negligent in dealing with the child's abuse by the teacher, called today's protest by SNAP members "disgraceful and offensive."
Dallas SNAP director Lisa Kendzior, one of the protesters, said after the press conference, "if one new person comes out of the shadows because of our effort, it will have been worth the discomfort."
Read more: Trio of SNAP Advocates Speak on ESD Campus | Preston Hollow People
http://www.prestonhollowpeople.com/2011 ... z1ZN6M59Nu
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Episcopal School of Dallas found grossly negligent in handling of teacher sexual association with underage studentFollowing nine weeks of testimony, the Episcopal School of Dallas was found grossly negligent in how it handled a sexual association between a teacher and a 16-year-old student, and has been ordered to pay the girl's family at least $5 million.
Calling the decision of a jury "wrong," ESD denied culpability and vowed to appeal the verdict.
"On the stand, ESD Headmaster Father Stephen Swann ... testified that at the time of the affair, he wasn’t aware of the age of consent, or that it was always illegal for a high school teacher to have sex with a student."
-- From D Magazine Oct 2011
Nathan Campbell, the former ESD history teacher who had the alleged "relationship" with the girl, is awaiting trial on criminal charges of sexual assault of a child and improper relationship with a student.
Unfortunately for those interested in this story, if you are not a subscriber to the Dallas Morning News, you will have to read the full story on the local ABC affiliate website, or on the DMagazine website - the links are below.
The ESD Sex Scandal
"When an exclusive private school discovered a teacher was sleeping with a student, administrators did their best to make the problem vanish."
-- Read this full account on the D Magazine website ...
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SNAP petitions international court to investigate the pope and top Vatican officials for possible crimes against humanityAs the clergy sexual abuse scandal, once dismissed as an American problem by the Vatican, intensifies around the world, SNAP is petitioning the International Court in The Hague to investigate the pope and top Vatican cardinals for possible crimes against humanity.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based nonprofit legal group, requested the inquiry on behalf of the Survivors Network (SNAP), arguing that the global church has maintained a "long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence" despite promises to swiftly oust predators.
The global church has maintained a "long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence" despite promises to swiftly oust predators.
Thousands of people have come forward in Ireland, Germany and elsewhere with reports of abusive priests, bishops who covered up for them and Vatican officials who moved so slowly to respond that molesters often stayed on the job for decades.
Barbara Blaine, president of the U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by priests, said going to the court was a last resort.
"We have tried everything we could think of to get them to stop and they won't," she told The Associated Press. "If the pope wanted to, he could take dramatic action at any time that would help protect children today and in the future, and he refuses to take the action."
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Pope defrocks child molester priest 2 years after his conviction - "What took them so long?" asks Dallas victims advocate attorneyA Fort Worth priest as been defrocked by the Vatican more than two years after a Texas jury convicted him of molesting an 11-year-old Texas boy, and decades after his first accusers came forward.
Kevin Vann, leader of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, announced Friday that he had learned that Pope Benedict XVI decreed that Teczar has been "dismissed from the clerical state." The action took place within the past several weeks, a Massachusetts church official said.
"I guess my reaction would be, what took them so long?" said Tahira Khan Merritt, a Dallas attorney who represented six of Teczar's victims in Texas and was a special prosecutor in Teczar's criminal trial in Eastland County.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that In 1988, shortly before being reassigned to Fort Worth the priest admitted to then-Bishop Joseph Delaney that he was "attracted to adolescents in every way, including sexually." The Eastland County district attorney has said Teczar abused eight children in Massachusetts over decades before coming to Texas.
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Former Dallas area youth minister faces child sexual assault charges in Mississippi thanks to efforts of Houston SNAP leaderA former youth music minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, who recently admitted during a sermon to molesting young students in the late 1980s when he worked with youth in Plano, has been arrested in Clinton, MS and faces 8 counts of sexually assaulting children under 14 years of age.
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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After 9 years of defying US courts, Vatican succumbs to 1 survivor's demand that the silence surrounding his abuse be ceasedVatican Radio website has announced that the Vatican has released documents ordered by a United States court.
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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Irish news discovers evidence of extensive abuse and coverup by already disgraced Catholic religious orderThe Irish Independent has obtained hundreds of pages of documents about the dreadful living conditions of vulnerable children in the care of the Brothers of Charity at Lota residential facility in Glanmire, Co Cork.
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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Traditional church hierarchy of power, domination breaking down, says Catholic Religious women's conference keynoteConfronting the institutional domination of authoritarian cultures such as Roman Catholicism is a global indication of the presence and actvity of "Ruah" the Holy Spirit. So says Sr. Maricarmen Bracamontes during the general assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Aug. 11.
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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Ireland's papal nuncio recalled after prime minister blasts 'elitism, narcissism' of Roman church in sex abuse crisisSpeaking to the Irish Parliament last week, Irish prime minster Enda Kenny attacked the "dysfunction, disconnection, elitism, the narcissism" within the upper echelon of the Roman Catholic Church.
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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