Sixteen Months after Agreement, Church Still Won’t Pay; Sex Abuse Victims Respond


December 8, 2008

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)

This is a pattern we’re seeing across the nation: Catholic bishops making then foot-dragging or reneging on agreements in clergy sex crimes and concealment cases. They’ve done it with victims, prosecutors, judges and attorneys general.

Bishops feign compassion toward victims when facing public scrutiny, then act callously when that scrutity fades.

Church officials would have you believe there is some genuine legal dispute here. There isn’t. It’s plain and simple: they agreed, under pressure, to compensate deeply wounded victims. Now, they’re not doing it. Their actions are deliberate, hurtful and inexcusable.

Victims respond to such hard-ball tactics in two ways. Some remain mired in shame, depression and hopelessness, convinced that nothing will ever change and that staying silent is the safest course. Others, however, finally summon up the strength and courage to come forward, outraged at how their brothers and sisters who’ve been assaulted are being mistreated. We grieve for those in the former situation, and appreciate those in the latter.

And we are deeply grateful that Larry and others are bravely speaking out today, and exposing the shameful betrayal perpetrated by Charleston Catholic officials.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259,) Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)


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