Sunday, January 30, 2011

Statement regarding abuse cover ups

Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director +1 314 862 7688 US cell phone

On January 28, 2010, German newspapers ran the first of countless articles about the clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Admitted and credibly accused Catholic clergy were exposed, resigned, or were suspended. Church officials, including bishops, cardinals and the Pope, were shown to have known about many of the crimes yet either stayed silent or helped keep them quiet.

We want to take this opportunity to honor the courageous victims who found the strength to speak up, report their dangerous predators, expose complicit bishops and protect kids, We also want to remind people that little has changed in the church hierarchy and that legislative action is desperately needed to safeguard innocent children and vulnerable adults now and in the future.

Survivors want to emphasize that "innocent kids and vulnerable adults are still at risk and church officials are still reckless and secretive. Bishops are working harder than ever at public relations, but fundamentally, they still protect their secrets more than they protect their flocks."

Throughout this year Catholic officials have been forced to admit that clergy sex crimes were more extensive than they previously admitted. They also had to admit quietly moving accused or proven pedophiles.

This tragic, on-going pattern - in country after country, diocese after diocese, school after school - is sickening. Instead of considering each disclosure as some shocking aberration, it is time we realize that church officials across the globe essentially follow the same playbook: hiding the crimes, minimizing the damage, deceiving the flocks, shuffling the predators and endangering unsuspecting families. . .until finally being forced to quit by brave victims, assertive prosecutors, investigative journalists, and outraged Catholics.

Apologies are meaningless public relations. Words don’t protect kids. Action protects kids.

All too often, Catholic hierarchy does "the bare minimum," and responds only to legal action, rather than taking the initiative to help law enforcement find victims, witnesses and information that can help build strong criminal cases against predator priests.

On this one year anniversary survivors say it is time for
-- bishops to disclose the names of accused predator priests, and
-- aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by a member of the clergy
-- turn over to law enforcement any files they may have about abusive clerics,

-- personally visit places where predators worked prodding victims and witnesses to come forward, get help, call police, protect others and start healing.

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