|SNAP Statement on Seattle
Archbishop's Role in Christian Bros. Child Sex Abuse
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
May 24, 2011
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862
7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
We are victims who belong to a self help group called SNAP, the
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org).
Our mission is to heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.
First, we applaud the dozens of brave men and women who were assaulted
as kids by Christian Brothers and who have found the strength and
courage to speak up and seek justice. Because of their bravery,
kids are safer today. Church officials should commend them. We certainly
We're here today to beg Seattle's archbishop to "aggressively
seek out" others hurt by clerics, especially by Christian Brothers.
Three weeks ago, allegedly because of clergy sex abuse lawsuits
in Seattle, the New York-based Christian Brothers sought bankruptcy
protection. By doing so, they effectively are keeping church records
about child sex crimes hidden and preventing potentially embarrassing
We in SNAP are asking Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to use his
vast resources to help find others who were sexually victimized
by Christian Brothers throughout the Seattle area. Based on our
23 years of experience, we firmly believe that others who were hurt
by Christian Brothers here are still isolated, afraid, ashamed and
in pain. They need and deserve compassionate outreach by powerful
church officials who have the wherewithal to make a difference.
We can predict Sartain's response. He will distance himself and
his archdiocese from the Christian Brothers, stressing that the
two are separate legal entities. But according to church law, custom
and practice, a bishop is responsible for the well-being of all
Catholics in his jurisdiction. Because of this, we in SNAP maintain
that Sartain has a moral and civic duty to aggressively seek out
others who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Christian
Brothers. This is especially true, since the archdiocese owns O'Dea
High School, where some of the abuse happened, and because the archdiocese
has contracted with the Christian Brothers to run the school.
Specifically, we want Sartain post announcements with the names
and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused Christian
Brothers child molesters on the archdiocesan website and in parish
bulletins. This is especially important, we feel, because a bankruptcy
judge will soon set a 'bar date' after which those who were molested
will likely find it much harder to get any help or justice. We consider
such a deadline "arbitrary and unfair" benefitting only
Sartain can split hairs, make excuses and do little to help. Or
he can reach out to the wounded. He can be a caring shepherd, or
a cold-hearted CEO. We hope he makes the right choice.
Now, a few words about the Christian Brothers, who sought bankruptcy
protection a few weeks ago. First, we are highly skeptical of their
claims of claim they're experiencing financial hardship, Instead,
they believe the Chapter 11 filing was intended to ending legal
efforts to expose the corruption and complicity of the religious
In our experience If church officials will hide child sex crimes,
they'll certainly hide financial assets. (They were nearly found
guilty of doing so in the San Diego diocesan bankruptcy and, more
recently, have been accused of doing so in the Milwaukee archdiocesan
We see no proof that the Christian Brothers are hurting financially.
We see no proof that the Christian Brothers have tried to raise
money to help clergy sex abuse victims. We see no proof that the
Christian Brothers have tried to borrow money to help clergy sex
abuse victims (as Cardinal Bernard Law did in Boston).
We believe that the Christian Brothers, like a handful of other
Catholic officials, see Chapter 11 as an "easy way out,"
enabling those who recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained
and shielded child molesters to avoid scrutiny of their reckless,
callous and deceitful actions.
Why do we think this?
First, because the Christian Brothers raced into bankruptcy court
just a few months after an important court ruling that gave access
to potentially embarrassing secret church records about abuse and
cover up, including documents from Rome.
Second, because that is how other church officials have used the
Chapter 11 process - to replace civil trials (at which the truth
is exposed) with bankruptcy (at which only checks get written).
And third, because virtually no US high ranking Catholic official
has faced any real negative consequence for ignoring or concealing
child sex crimes. Why? Because nearly all of them have avoided facing
tough questions, under oath, in open court, about their complicity
in horrific child sex crimes.
Over the past decade, church officials have learned that they won't
suffer no matter how much they end up paying out in abuse settlements.
They'll only suffer if they allow the truth of their own wrongdoing
to surface. And bankruptcy court enables them to do that.
So we're highly skeptical when the Christian Brothers pretend to
be poor. We hope attorneys for victims will aggressively seek out
all of the Christian Brothers bank accounts, property, bonds, and
other assets. And we hope victims and their attorneys will aggressively
seek access to long-secret church records and expose those who ignored
and concealed child sex crimes. That way, citizens and Catholics
will know who is responsible for letting and helping child molesters
keep molesting. And that way, others who might ignore or conceal
child sex crimes now and in the future may be deterred.
Finally, we hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered
clergy crimes – by the Christian Brothers or any cleric – will step
forward, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing,
despite the burdens and pressures caused by this inappropriate and
insensitive misused of the bankruptcy process by Catholic officials.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the
world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
We've been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members.
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, SNAPclohessy@aol.com),
Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely
(414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688
home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)