Victims of Priest Abuse Campaign to Help Others

By Becky Freemal
WBAY [Green Bay]
Downloaded August 25, 2003

They call themselves S.N.A.P.-- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. They stood outside the downtown Green Bay cathedral Sunday asking for support from fellow Catholics.

Two men who say they were abused as boys want new laws that will protect victims. Judith Shauer was among several Catholics passing out information about upcoming legislation.

"Victims of sexual abuse by clergy, under law, have a different standard. They are second-class citizens. Other victims of sexual abuse have more rights," Peter Isely contends.

Isely and David Schauer both say they were abused as children by clergy. Mr. Schauer explains, "The current bill proposes that it will extend the statute of limitations and that it will allow any future victims to bring a cause of action against any religious organization."

While happy to see such legislation, he wants people to call their state legislators and get the bill expanded to help past victims.

It's a topic, no doubt, that leaves a lot of people uncomfortable. As people walked out of church Sunday they took the fliers but they had little to say.

"I don't even think about this, because I am way back in the old school. To me it's all-- I just can't comprehend it," one male parishioner said.

The church handed out its own flyer calling those outside "protestors." The group says it is simply looking for support and it doesn't want the issue swept under the rug.

"We are responsible Catholics that want to do whatever we can. I think we saw that in the eyes of the people. Maybe they weren't real talkative, but they smiled and took the pamphlet," said Judith Schauer.


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