Victims of Clergy Abuse Hold Conference

Associated Press, carried in Newsday [Norwalk CT]
September 27, 2004

The first statewide conference of survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Connecticut has been told that the work of holding members of the clergy accountable continues.

The daylong seminar was hosted Saturday by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Since February, two Connecticut SNAP chapters were formed in Bridgeport and East Hartford.

"The refusal of adult victim survivors to not back down and knuckle under and pay, pray and obey, has been one of the key features in bringing about accountability and healing for tens of thousands," the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer and SNAP's keynote speaker said.

SNAP state Director Landa Mauriello-Vernon of Hamden told the 150 attendees that when the chapter got its start, it had only eight members. Eight months later, the chapter has 58 members.

"There may not be articles in the newspaper every day, there may not be lawsuits filed every day as a result of the statute of limitations put on survivors, but it is in no way over," she said.

The conference came as the Diocese of Bridgeport released a report saying that its churches are in complete compliance with the Roman Catholic Church's policy for protecting minors from sex abuse.

"The measures we have taken have increased significantly the accountability within our parishes, schools and institutions, to continue to build a safe environment," Bishop William Lori said.

The diocese, which oversees 87 parishes in Fairfield County, was audited by Boston-based Gavin Group between June 2003 to the present.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.