SNAP rallies against church abuse scandal

The group wants the pope to take action against those clergy involved
April 21, 2008 2:56:37 PM PDT
The pope promised an end to the child sex abuse scandal plaguing the church-- and today, a group held him to that promise. Eyewitness News reporter Lisa Colagrossi has more from Saint Patrick's Cathedral.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, distributed a 5-point plan to those attending morning mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral and anyone walking by. They want to see the pope's words turn into action.

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    "The pope has now said that this problem is real, so we're here today to let people know it's time to act now," SNAP board member, Peter Isley said.

    Today the victims rights organization, SNAP, is demanding the pope follow his words with decisive actioning against the priests guilty of sex crimes, especially those victims who were children.

    The victims group protested during the Pope's visit and some, don't expect much from him now.

    "The worst criminals that ever lived on earth, he represents the worst criminals," said Isley.

    SNAP members are calling on the pope to discipline or reprimand bishops who have transferred known sex offenders. SNAP is demanding the pope order bishops to hand over to prosecutors all sex offender clerics and any evidence of child sex crimes.

    Pointing to the pope's address to the United Nations, SNAP says the pope must insure the Vatican complies with the UN charter on the protection of the rights of children.

    "When you really hear our suffering you may feel less rosy about the pope's recent remarks...and feel even more motivated to help us protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded," SNAP SW Regional Director, Joelle Casteix said.

    SNAP, also wants the pope to close a loophole in chuch law which allows priests to remain in the ministry, even after they have abused children.

    More Information on SNAP:

    The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, established in 1989, is the oldest and most active support group for women and men abused by religious authority figures in the United States. [1]

    SNAP is an independent, 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with no connections with any churches. Barbara Blaine, MSW, JD, herself a victim of sex abuse by a priest, is the founder and president. Currently it has over 4,500 members in 55 active chapters.

    The rally began outside St. Pat's at 8:30 this morning.

    Stay with Eyewitness News and for more on this story as the rally goes on.