Survivors of Clergy Sex Abuse Hold Vigil
Albany Joins in Marking the Fifth Anniversary of the Scandal's Exposure

By Dan Higgins
Albany Times Union
January 8, 2007

Albany -- A national vigil marking the anniversary of the first news reports about the Catholic church sex abuse scandal included Albany this weekend.

About a dozen victims of clergy abuse gathered outside Holy Cross Church Sunday morning.

The event, held by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, included requests for bishops to disclose the names of clergy sexual predators. It also called for the church to stop its attempts to prevent cases from going to civil trials, which SNAP describes as "hardball legal tactics."

Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of the Boston Globe's first article on what would ultimately become 850 stories about priests who abused children, and church leaders who covered up the abuse. The stories sparked accusations against hundreds of priests, including many who were removed from the priesthood and some who were jailed.

SNAP held vigils this weekend in 54 cities around the country, including Albany, to mark the anniversary.

"It's important to remember that five years ago, had it not been for the brave men and women in Boston, the clergy sex abuse scandal would not have hit the national media," said Mark Lyman, the Albany chapter's president.

"Many survivors would still be silent and suffering," he said.

On Sunday, survivors stood outside Catholic churches with candles, signs and photos to mark the event, Lyman said.

On this anniversary, SNAP is focusing on families of victims who have suffered along with their loved ones.

Lyman said many abuse victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Lyman said that, in Albany, the church wasn't doing enough to help victims and to remove priests suspected of abuse. He said the diocese's mediation program, called IMAP, was inadequate because it wasn't independent, as the diocese claimed.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany released a three-page statement in response to the anniversary of the Globe stories, calling it "a day of great sadness for every person who has suffered in any way as a result of the tragedy of sexual abuse in the Catholic church."

The Rev. Kenneth Doyle, diocese spokesman, said the Albany diocese has helped 33 abuse victims through IMAP, which stands for the Independent Mediation Assistance Program, and was overseen by retired New York Court of Appeals Judge Howard Levine.

Doyle also said the diocese offered training to 49,000 children and 16,000 clergy and diocese employees on appropriate behavior. The statement said anyone who was sexually abused as a minor by a priest or deacon of the Albany diocese should report it to police or contact the diocese at 453-6646, or

Dan Higgins can be reached at 454-5523, or by e-mail at


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