CA--Victims seek bishop’s help
By Tim Lennon
Victims seek bishop’s help
Deadline has been set for victims to step forward
According to court filing, 11 predators worked in diocese
But survivors’ group says “there are surely more”
SNAP: Anyone who believes they have a claim should act now
Organization is available to help survivors as they navigate this process
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
July 16, 2014
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
-- urge officials of the Stockton Catholic diocese to aggressively seek out abuse victims before an August 15th deadline;
-- list names the 11 predator priests diocesan officials admit to, plus identify additional child molesting clerics who have been accused, sued or convicted (and where they worked);
-- beg victims to come forward, report crimes and report their abuse before it is too late.
--give out contact information for local SNAP leaders who are available to help survivors as they come forward
Outside the Diocesan headquarters, 212 N San Joaquin Street (between Miner and Channel), Stockton
Wednesday, July 16th at 11:00 a.m.
Two to three victims of child sex abuse and their supporters who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org)
In January, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton filed for bankruptcy. The deadline for sex abuse victims to report abuse and seek compensation is August 15 at 4:00 pm.
The August 15th deadline, or "bar date," is explicitly for child sex abuse victims. (Other “creditors” have an earlier deadline.) After August 15th, victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Stockton will likely be unable to use the civil justice system to seek justice.
However, for almost two weeks, from June 25th through July 7th, a toll free phone line giving information to clergy sex abuse victims in the Stockton Diocese malfunctioned, according to a New Mexico newspaper.
(The complete text of the July 12th article is pasted below.)
While the faulty phone lines were being monitored by the California law firm of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones, SNAP feels the person ultimately responsible for outreach to victims of child molesting clerics is Stockton's Bishop Stephen Blaire.
SNAP is urging Blaire to step up efforts to find and help victims now. The group wants Blaire to personally visit every parish where pedophile priests worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to speak up. He should post the names of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric in every parish bulletin, SNAP says, and should “more aggressively than ever seek out those who are in pain because Catholic priests assaulted kids and Catholic officials hid those crimes.”
Church officials acknowledged in court papers that 11 predators were active in the Stockton Diocese. They have also supplied information on where in the diocese each of them worked.
However, using the resources available on BishopAccountability.org, SNAP has identified six additional names of child molesting clerics who have been or are in the diocese.
That list and information about each of the names on it will be handed out at the press conference. The survivors’ group will also provide a list of affected parishes and schools. Multiple offenders worked in eleven institutions in the Diocese of Stockton, including one parish where five offenders worked.
Well aware that even both lists combined may not be exhaustive, SNAP is begging survivors to come forward. They are recommending that victims report any criminal behavior to the police first. They also suggest that anyone wanting to press their civil claims contact local SNAP leaders before going to the diocese:
Tim Lennon (415-312-5820 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175 cell, email@example.com)
The survivors’ group wants to stress to all victims that they may lose all rights to compensation for their injuries if they don’t act quickly.
"There is only a very short period of time left for victims to come forward and seek justice," said Tim Lennon of San Francisco, San Francisco Director of SNAP. "We believe that there could well be hundreds of children who were abused by predators in the Diocese of Stockton. For their own healing, and for the protection of other kids, it’s crucial that they find the courage and strength to speak up."
Lennon and East Bay SNAP leader Melanie Jula Sakoda are willing to help survivors who want to come forward, or who are considering coming forward. If there is enough interest, they will return to Stockton and hold an informational meeting for victims.
Sakoda said, “I know it can be scary and intimidating to talk to anyone about your abuse, but if you don’t speak up now, you may not have another chance.”