Clergy Sex Abuse Victims New Support Group Set to Meet in Savannah
By Don Logana
August 8, 2016
An effort is underway to reach out to victims of clergy abuse in Savannah.
We caught up with Michael Corbett, the local director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), to learn more about the newly formed group's mission.
Last month, Catholic Diocese of Savannah paid out a record $4.5 million for a priest abuse case involving a child. Not all victims can afford lawsuits. Victims and advocates we spoke to say many victims of clergy abuse suffer in silence alone, and even money doesn't heal the wounds.
"Money can help provide some necessities, relieve some anxieties, but it can't bring back your childhood or all the years we lost in the meantime," said Corbett.
Corbett lives and works in Savannah, but he was a 17-year-old teenager in Boston when he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic Priest, Father Robert Gale. His story - along with many others - was told in the Academy Award-winning movie, Spotlight, which is based on the award-winning expose on child sex abuse in the Boston Archdiocese.
He says a confidential support group like the one they are forming in Savannah is a way for the victims who may not want to come forward publicly to start the healing process.
"You cannot do it alone. I know because I tried. I've seen other people try," said Corbett. "You have to talk about it. You don't need a press conference or a lawsuit, but you have to start talking about it with people who know what you are going through."
Barbara Dorris, the long-time national outreach director for SNAP, will be on hand to help launch the new support group, and she also commented on the launch.
"We hope that by starting these meetings we can reach out to local victims who are still suffering in silence. We urge both survivors and their supporters to join us on Tuesday. By sharing their truths people realize that they are not alone, and they can begin to heal,” said Dorris.
If you are a victim or the family of a victim who is looking for support, the location of the meeting is not being made public in order to protect the privacy of the participants, so those interested in attending or learning more should contact Corbett at 508.207.7418 508.207.7418 and Savannah@SNAPnetwork.org or Dorris at 314.503.0003 and bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org for the location of the meeting.