It’s been more than a decade since the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal rocked Boston. In that time, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has provided national support to victims of abuse. But recently SNAP is finding that the Church’s new approach to managing national lawsuits is not apology and reparation but counter-attack. Seeking to prove that SNAP is not a “rape crisis center” the Church is subpoenaing to access confidential communication between SNAP and victims, thus exposing victims to public scrutiny.
From Laurie Goodstein’s fantastic New York Times article today, “Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group”–which includes perhaps one of the most telling statements*, from William Donahue, on the Church’s impatience with these cases:
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.”
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.”
*Ok, ok, this quote is right up there with Richard Doerflinger, Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, telling me that our bodies aren’t our own.