SNAP Says New Bishop Isn't Doing Enough against Clergy Abuse

December 11, 2008

Leaders of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say there's been little progress on child sex abuse efforts during Bishop David Ricken's first 100 days in Green Bay.

Holding a news conference outside the Green Bay Catholic Diocese headquarters, SNAP officials said the new bishop has not made clergy sex abuse his top priority.

"I see a kid on the street, I know you guys feel this way, and I feel because we're out here in the freezing rain and cold we're doing this that child may never have to experience what we went through as parents and victims, and that's what it's all about," Peter Isely of SNAP said.

The diocese responded by saying the most recent incident of clergy abuse reported to the diocese allegedly happened 17 years ago, and that of the four allegations it received in the past two years, the incidents were reported to have happened 33 to 58 years ago.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau issued a further written statement, saying:

I believe that all children need to be safe and protected from sexual abuse. I support the diocesan policy of reporting all credible allegations of sexual abuse to the authorities. SNAP's recent allegation that I was involved in the cover up of criminal behavior by John Feeney, one of our former priests, is false. To accuse me of such a heinous act is heartbreaking. It unfairly damages my reputation and my credibility.

As a bishop, as a pastor and as an uncle to several nieces and nephews, I would never want to see a child harmed. I am committed to providing a safe and secure environment not just for children but for all people.

SNAP wants the diocese to release the names and addresses of 51 Green Bay diocesan clergy which, according to SNAP, church officials say sexually abused children.

SNAP says so far Bishop Ricken has refused to meet with the group.

"We just feel that at the end of the day it just is going to make sense to get together with us and have this conversation," Isely said.


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