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Collateral Attack on Survivor Advocates Shouldn’t be Allowed in Missouri

6 comments

I've been following the stories concerning the Catholic Church's attacks on The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Missouri. Basically, they are using the discovery process in sexual abuse cases to request depositions of the SNAP leadership and document requests to obtain files on the survivors of sexual abuse. SNAP is maintaining that these documents are covered by Missouri Rape Shield laws.

A good look at the argument is provided by Joe Saunders with Gotham's Cowardly Lion

Ms. Magazine also noted :

Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal adamantly spoke out against the outrageous attempts to intimidate SNAP and compel the release of its records: "The bishops are playing hardball with survivors of priest abuse, but the bishops are not playing hardball with priest predators. The Conference of Catholic Bishops needs to focus on stopping cleric sexual abuse and the hierarchy's cover-ups."

The New York Times has reported:

The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

They also covered two very different responses from the Church's Lawyers and the Church:

Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”

Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

However, a spokeswoman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, said Mr. Donohue was incorrect.

“There is no national strategy,” she said, and there was no meeting where legal counsel for the bishops decided to get more aggressive.

There are way too many issues to address in these responses but here are a few:

– So is this the new national strategy? It wasn't enough to go after the survivors, the survivors' attorneys, but now they go after the group that has provided real help?

– What exactly does Donohue mean by the "need for alter boys"? Is he really that insensitive?

– I guess with the use of "buy lawyers" he really may be.

I look at these attacks as another desperate attempt to get away from liability. The Church refuses to take responsibility for what has happened. It doesn't practice "Zero Tolerance" except against those who try to bring the truth to light.

The best thing the Church could do is accept their responsibility and help make laws better for those who have been injured. They could stop SNAP and the lawyers by stopping the abuse.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there

6 Comments

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  1. JuneAnnette says:
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    “The greatest persecution of the Church today, was born from the sins inside the Church, not outside. The Church needs to answer to justice because forgiveness cannot replace justice.”
    Quote: Benedict XVI, May 11, 2010

    The words of the pope are found to be both empty and hollow in light of the hardball tactics the Roman Catholic “church” has resorted to in an effort to silence SNAP. The hostile initiatives directed against SNAP, callously designed to undermine their role as a watchdog, intimidate the victims, gag the media, and silence their critics are an indicator that it’s business as usual in the RCC!
    The pastoral response which the so-called princes of the church committed to providing to the victims of clergy abuse has given way to the cold, calculating self-preservation instincts that historically has characterized their conduct in these matters.

    So long as the “church” continues to subject the victims and those who advocate for them to this type of ongoing harassment and persist in their abusive treatment of them, they can expect the massive exodus from their pews to persist.
    The ignoble course they have embarked upon will also ensure they continue to endure the universal contempt and scorn being meted out to them and reserved for those who commit and cover up the abominable act of child abuse!

  2. Mike Bryant says:
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    It is and will continue to be a fight until they give the problem more then just hollow words. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  3. Kay4Justice says:
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    There is one other thing that must be considered when confronting this problem and that is the brainwashing that begins at birth within Catholic families. The priest is next to God and can do no wrong, the Pope is holy and good et cetera et al. Pay to pray. The priest is the only way to God. All of these are simply wrong, yet so many still believe and refuse to accept that any abuse has even occurred. Thanks for this article, it is well done.

  4. Mike Bryant says:
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    Thank you for reading and the complement.

  5. Norma Villarreal says:
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    Just one more way for the Catholic church to avoid taking on responsibility for alleged predators and those who protect them.

  6. Mike Bryant says:
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    But it’s a very dangerous way with the collateral attacks. Thanks for reading and the comment.