Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Tuesday, Jan. 27
Statement by Dave O’Regan, leader of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (434 446 6769)
We’re here today to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
For the protection of the vulnerable, we call on Catholic officials in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area to release the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of every proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priest who lives or works or has lived or worked in this area, be be they living or deceased, diocesan or religious order, priest, nun, brother, seminarian or other church worker.
For the healing of the wounded, we call on Catholic officials to both disclose predators’ names and use their vast church resources to aggressively seek out anyone who may have been hurt by these clerics. This includes using pulpit announcements, church bulletins and parish websites.
This morning, we learned that Fr. [Innocente] Clementi is deceased. We’re glad he can’t hurt other kids. But his passing does not relieve Catholic officials of their duty to
—reach out to others he has hurt
—reach out to others hurt by other child molesting clerics, and
—disclose names of other child molesting clerics, especially those who may be living or working among unsuspecting neighbors, friends, relatives and colleagues.
A brave victim told us he’d been sexually abused by Fr. Clementi. He told Salesian Catholic officials about his abuse too. Those Salesian Catholic officials settled a case last year involving Fr. Clementi and a different victim. A local Tampa attorney says he’s heard from other Fr. Clementi victims.
Yet Catholic officials, as they have done for decades, apparently told no one about these credible allegations against Fr. Clementi. The self-serving secrecy that caused the church’s global abuse and cover up crisis remains in force. Despite repeated pledges, over years, to “reform,” Catholic officials continue to put their comfort and reputations above the safety of kids and the healing of victims.
Why is are these action steps we’re proposing important?
Because this is what Catholic officials have repeatedly pledged to do: be “open” about clergy sex cases.
Because parents can better protect their kids if they know who and where the predators are.
Because police and prosecutors can better do their jobs if they have this information.
Because many victims are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame, and will only find the courage to speak up, expose predators, protect kids and start healing IF they’re prodded to do so by authority figures.
Because even if victims stay silent, their pain is often relieved when their predators are exposed.
Because this is what will make the church, and our society, safer: when the identities and whereabouts of dangerous and potentially dangerous predators are revealed.
We applaud the brave victim who settled a case involving Fr. Clementi last year. We applaud the brave victim who told us about Fr. Clementi recently and who is issuing a statement today. We applaud every single person who takes action to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
And we beg every single person who has seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area to speak up now, get independent help, publicly expose predators, help deter cover ups and begin to heal.
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