Clergy Abuse Victims Group Urges Sensitivity Training for Priests

Associated Press, carried in Mercury News [Los Angeles CA]
May 27, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Leaders of a national clergy abuse victims group urged California's Catholic bishops Thursday to begin mandatory sensitivity training sessions in sexual abuse for newly ordained priests.

In a letter to bishops of the state's 12 dioceses, leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, asked that men and women who had been sexually abused by priests be involved in the sensitivity sessions.

Priests about to be ordained would be required to hear victims' abuse stories during the sessions, SNAP said in a statement.

"Please help us to end the cycle of abuse by helping to make sure that these new priests walk a path that protects children, not reputations, leads to openness not secrecy, and causes accountability not cover-up," the letter reads.

Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said he hadn't seen the letter but noted that seminarians and priests already receive training in how to prevent and respond to abuse through various programs, including those set up under the church's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002.

"It's very disappointing that SNAP continues to always and everywhere deny any progress the church has made to protect children," Tamberg said.


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