• SNAP responds to release of grand jury report

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    PITTSBURGH - Reaction to the Catholic church sex abuse grand jury report starting pouring in moments after the report was released Tuesday. According to the catholic sex abuse grand jury report, more than 1,000 child victims and 300 predator priests were identified in the six dioceses involved.

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    SNAP support groups are also available in the following locations:

    • Monday, Aug. 20 -- 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. meeting at Carnegie Library-Southside Branch, Pittsburgh
    • Tuesday, Aug. 21 -- 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Blasco Memorial Library, 160 East Front Street, Erie
    • Monday, Aug. 20 -- 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at McCormick Riverfront Library, 101 Walnut Street, Harrisburg
    • Tuesday, Aug. 21 -- 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Allentown Public Library, 1210 Hamilton Street, Allentown
    • Mon., Aug. 20 -- 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine Street, Scranton

    SNAP, the Survivors Network, released the following statement regarding the redacted grand jury report:

    SNAP commends all those brave victims who came forward and shared their heartbreaking truths. Without their great courage, this day would not have been possible. We also applaud Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who fought so hard to insure that those truths would be made public.

    After reviewing the entire document, Judy Jones, Becky Ianni and I will be holding media events in the six dioceses covered in the report (Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton) to highlight the findings on Monday, August 13th or Tuesday, August 14th.

    However, without even examining the almost 900 page report we know from Pennsylvania Chief Justice Thomas Saylor  that it will depict more than 300 clergymen as “predator priests.“

    We also know from Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III, who supervised the grand jury, that the jurors investigated “allegations of child sex abuse, failure to make a mandatory report, acts endangering the welfare of children, and obstruction of justice by individuals associated with the Roman Catholic Church, local public officials and community leaders.”

    The ominous warnings from these two judges tell us that the grand jury report will describe horrific crimes and the most callous disregard for the safety of innocent children, with the foreseeable consequence of grievous harm to those young lives.
    But knowledge of past crimes is only valuable if it is translated into actions that will help prevent future sexual abuse and cover-ups. Toward that end: 

    --We urge Catholics to wake up and hold church officials accountable. Believe victims when they come forward, and never tell them to "get over it."

    --We call on police and prosecutors in Pennsylvania, across the United States and around the world to recognize that cover-ups are the rule, rather than the exception in both Catholic dioceses and other institutions. Law enforcement can play a crucial role in protecting the vulnerable and comforting the abused when they aggressively investigate these old crimes.

     --We need Pennsylvania lawmakers specifically and all lawmakers in general to make sure that the courthouse doors are open to all survivors of these heinous crimes and cover ups, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.  PA legislators need to lift the civil and criminal statute of limitations for child sex crimes and open a window of opportunity for older victims to file a lawsuit to expose the truth and obtain justice.

    --We challenge bishops and other officials to do more than just say they are being open and transparent, and actually start doing it. Those who have not already done so should post the names of all church workers who have been found guilty, who have admitted, or who have been accused of the sexual abuse of children. In the interest of public safety and for the healing of victims, these men should also reach out to all of the communities where known predators worked and beg survivors to come forward and report to law enforcement.

    --We appeal to people of good will everywhere to insist that churches and other institutions voluntarily divulge the kind of secret records that Pennsylvania bishops were forced to produce during the grand jury investigation. 

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