Friday, February 24, 2012

a cause worth supporting

Email from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP):

Dear friends;

As you are a cherished friend to SNAP, we want to explain what Kansas City and St. Louis Catholic officials are doing to attack us and those who seek our help.  We've included a lengthy "Q & A" here that outlines the details. But the bottom line is this: Catholic officials are desperately trying to conceal their wrong-doing by attacking victims. They're trying to silence victims, and others , by trying to severely weaken  SNAP. In October, SNAP Director David Clohessy was served with a subpoena in Kansas City by church defense lawyers. They demanded emails, correspondence and other records (some going back 23 years) including deeply private conversations with victims, their names and the details of the abuse they suffered.

Last month, Clohessy and SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris were hit with more subpoenas, this time from the St. Louis archdiocese.  Naturally our first concern was, and remains, the privacy of victims, most of whom never have or never will speak publicly or take any kind of legal action. We also quickly realized, however, that these wide-ranging demands also sought communications between SNAP and thousands of other individuals we help: family members,witnesses, whistleblowers, journalists, therapists, concerned Catholics and law enforcement officials.  Our first duty is to those who seek and sought our guidance. For that reason, we fought tooth and nail to keep David from having to testify. Ultimately, we lost that fight. David was deposed. But he adamantly refused to give any names or private details about victims. And we're refusing to turn over any documents with similar information.

The ramifications of these actions have already hit SNAP hard. Owing to massive legal bills which we cannot pay at this time, we have been forced to ask our attorney in Kansas City to withdraw from the case. The fact is we can no longer afford to pay him and still keep the lights on. We are seeking pro-bono help as the case moves forward and will update you as to our progress. Meanwhile in Kansas City, attorneys for the Catholic Church have moved forward with a "Motion to Compel" SNAP Director, David Clohessy to reveal private information about members and victims connected with SNAP and the case against Father Joseph Tierney. We will not reveal any of the information the church is requesting. The privacy of our survivors and members is absolutely paramount! So, David is preparing himself and his family as he faces jail time if necessary.

Over two decades ago, we in SNAP pledged ourselves to protect and help victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists, in fact anyone who was working to stop and expose child sex crimes and cover ups. That promise has not and will not be broken, no matter what forces are arrayed against us. The fact that we have been so successful is the chief reason that we now find ourselves in this painful and threatening situation. However it is one we shall win.
Your support has been critical in our accomplishing our mission and is even more essential now. We, therefore, ask that you consider making a donation in order to help us meet the unprecedented challenge which faces us. In order to donate, simply go online to our donate page. Alternatively you can or mail it to SNAP: P.O. Box 6416, Chicago, Illinois 60680-6416 or call our Development department at (312) 455-1499. Meanwhile,. I want to assure you that SNAP remains as committed to end clergy sex crimes and cover ups as ever. These are difficult times, but we will prevail together. 

Warm Regards,

Barbara's signature  
Barbara Blaine 
.DC sig 

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