Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is taking their efforts directly to church-goers today.
SNAP has been asking for many years that Louisiana’s bishops release the lists that each diocese has of priests and church employees who have “credible accusations” of sexual abuse lodged against them. Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell, now retired, acknowledged the existence of the list but refused to release it. Current Bishop Douglas Deshotel has to date refused to release his list as well.
Today, SNAP members will be handling out leaflets to church-goers as they leave church to let them know about SNAP’s position.
SNAP says they will be:
- Writing to all 5 Louisiana Bishops asking for the “immediate release” of the names and whereabouts of all Church employees proven, admitted or credibly accused of child sexual abuse,
- Prodding those Bishops to be “very inclusive” with the lists, and
- Urging lay Catholics to donate elsewhere until Church officials do better at protecting children.
SNAP will be handing out the leaflets at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans after noon mass.
“The five Louisiana Bishops may release the names of proven, admitted and “credibly accused” child molesting clerics. SNAP feels this should have been done years ago and that the Bishops should also disclose where these potentially dangerous men are now,” a release from the group states.
“SNAP also disputes Archbishop Gregory Aymond’s claim that putting out such a list is “complicated.” About 50 of the nearly 200 US Bishops have done so, some starting as long as 16 years ago. None who have done so have reversed course or expressed regrets, as best SNAP can tell,” the release continues.
The group also wants Bishops to include names of 1) religious order clerics (like Jesuits, Franciscans, Marianists, etc.), who typically make up about 30% of the priests in any diocese, 2) deceased clerics and 3) all types of church employees (brothers, seminarians, women religious, Bishops, lay people).
SNAP’s release states:
78 Catholic priests across Louisiana have been accused of molesting children, but much remains hidden about these crimes and cover ups. SNAP believes this is because Louisiana’s Bishops continue to be secretive and Louisiana’s Attorney General and local prosecutors are not being assertive or creative enough in exposing and pursuing these wrongdoers.
Only a handful of predators – and no complicit Church supervisor – have ever been convicted. No governmental body in the state of Louisiana has done a single investigation of this scandal. It is time to change this, SNAP asserts.
The Attorney General claimed that his office “has not received one single complaint against any clergyman of the Catholic Church in the State of Louisiana.” If true, SNAP contends that may be because he has not used his bully pulpit and public comments to encourage victims to step forward.
The group includes a list of “Catholic jurisdictions in the state and the number of proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics in each, according to the public database maintained by Boston-based archive group BishopAccountability.org:
Diocese of Alexandria (5),
Diocese of Baton Rouge (7),
Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux (6),
Diocese of Lafayette (25)
Archdiocese of New Orleans Archdiocese (35)
Diocese of Lake Charles (0)
Diocese of Shreveport (0)
SNAP writes that its members are “disappointed with Attorney General Landry’s opposition to a statewide investigation of the Church.”