Parishioners Asked to Pledge to Report Child-Sex Suspicions

Youngstown Vindicator
May 2, 2011

The Chicago-based group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, passed out leaflets in 70 cities across the United States on Sunday, including Youngstown, to ask Catholic parishioners to sign a pledge to report suspicions of child sex abuse to secular authorities.

Jerry Arnal, who says he was a victim of priest abuse in the Diocese of Youngstown, handed out leaflets Sunday in front of St. Columba Cathedral on Wood Street.

The event was timed to correspond with the events in Rome celebrating Pope John Paul II's latest step toward sainthood.

The leaflets ask congregants to sign the following pledge: "I will watch out for all the children in my church as if they were my own and I will immediately report known or suspected abuse to the authorities, no matter when it occurred."

The group calls the fast-tracking of pontiff's sainthood "a callous PR juggernaut honoring the man who presided over much of the ongoing crisis."

A spokesman for the diocese said policies now in effect call for notification of the local children's services board immediately when an allegation is made.


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