Church Officials Go after Abuse Survivors, Call to Action Responds

Voice from the Desert
January 12, 2012

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the original Boston Globe series that began the revelations of widespread clergy abuse cover-up in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, a decade after the bishops vowed things would change, church officials continue to ignore their own norms intended to protect children and battle against survivors seeking justice. In a recent twist, church officials in two dioceses have ignited a legal battle against survivors, requesting that confidential files of abuse survivors be released without their consent. Today, Call To Action issued this statement:

Call To Action stands in solidarity with SNAP, the Survivorís Network of Those Abused by Priests, in decrying the recent request by lawyers defending the Archdiocese of St. Louis and lawyers defending Fr. Michael Tierney of the Diocese of Kansas City to release SNAP documents dating back more than 23 years.

Rape crisis centers and other groups that support abuse survivors or other crime victims are typically protected by law from being forced to release such documents so that survivors feel secure coming forward to these organizations; confident their information will be kept private.

SNAP has been one of the only places for those affected by sexual abuse by religious officials to turn, be they witnesses, survivors or family members. We have deep concerns that should SNAP be forced to disclose their confidential files, those affected by sexual abuse in the Church will no longer feel safe in reaching out to SNAP or similar organizations when they desperately need that support. The recent request for documents sends a chilling message to survivors who may be considering coming forward and sends an alarming message to those who have come forward in the past that their privacy may be violated even though their personal experiences may have nothing to do with the case at hand.

We hope all parties involved will modify their request so that the files may remain confidential and survivorsí lives that have already been broken by their abusers will not be painfully reopened to legal or public scrutiny without their consent.








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