SNAP Issues Call to Action in Protecting Churchgoers from Sexual Abusers

SNAP Issues Call to Action in Protecting Churchgoers from Sexual Abusers

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On Saturday, February 27, 2016, I was honored to be able to represent the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) at the Co-Cathedral for the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas. SNAP is a support group made up of concerned Catholics, clergy, victims of sexual abuse, and their loved ones. The goal of SNAP is to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and prevent more cover-ups.

Currently, the identities of 2,800 predator priests who have been accused of misconduct remain hidden. While about 30 bishops have publicly posted the names of clerics who have abused children in their own dioceses, most bishops have not taken this step. Many credibly accused, admitted, and proven child molesting priests, bishops, seminarians, nuns, and other church workers continue to work and live among parishioners without their knowledge.

SNAP says that this has to stop. This is a safety issue and is simply for the protection of children. All bishops should be required to post the names of credibly accused, admitted, and proven predator clerics. This is the cheapest, easiest, safest, and quickest way to warn parents, parishioners, police officers, and the public about the predators in their midst. It is also the least bishops can do as a public service since they recruited, hired, educated, trained, ordained, transferred, and shielded these predators. Many helped these clerics to avoid prosecution by keeping their identities secret until the expiration of legal deadlines.

This is a call to action by SNAP and there are many things that we can do:

  • Contact your bishop and tell him you want the names of conformed predators posted on parish websites.
  • Visit BishopAccountability.org to learn the names of any predator priests in your diocese.
  • Ask your family, friends, and other churchgoers if they suspected, saw, or suffered wrongdoing or crimes by clerics. If so, urge them to contact the authorities or pass along any suspicions or information to SNAP.
  • Urge your local legislators to eliminate or extend the dated, lenient statutes of limitations. This will lead to the exposure of more child molesters and better protect our children, regardless of what actions church officials do or do not take.
  • Donate to groups like SNAP that expose crimes, help victims, and deter future cover-ups.
  • Watch the Oscar “Best Picture” winning film “Spotlight” and encourage family and friends to do the same.

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