Thursday, February 5, 2009

SNAP News Conference Today in Cheshire


Holding childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will harshly criticize a controversial, Connecticut-based, world-wide Catholic religious group, and urge them to
-- launch an independent probe into new accusations that their high profile founder fathered a child as well as molested kids,
-- be more honest about the new sexual misconduct allegations against him,
-- use their 'considerable' resources (websites, newsletters, parish bulletins) to 'aggressively' reach out to others with information about his crimes and beg them to come forward, get help, and
-- publicly apologize to the more than 20 men who say the prominent cleric molested them when they were boys.

Thursday, Feb. 5 at 1:30 pm

In front of the headquarters of the Legion of Christ, 475 Oak Street, in Cheshire, CT

Two-three sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

The group will hold a photo of the accused predator and a book and a DVD about him.

Yesterday, the New York Times and other media reported that the Legion of Christ has determined that its founder and long time head has fathered a child out of wedlock and is guilty of conduct that is "surprising, difficult to understand, and inappropriate for a Catholic priest."
The Legion is a large, growing, controversial, secretive and ultra-conservative religious order based in Cheshire. It has been called 'cult-like' and accused of targeting rich Catholics. Several US bishops have limited the organization's work in their dioceses.

In 2006, Maciel was ordered by the Vatican to suspend his public ministry and live "a life of prayer and reflection." The church hierarchy admits that between 20 and 100 men report having been sexually assaulted by him as kids and young seminarians. He's also been accused of illegal drug use. Maciel, who died in January 2008, is originally from Mexico and was very close to Pope John Paul II.

SNAP wants an independent investigation into all the charges – child sex abuse as well as his alleged parenthood. The group also believes the many current and former Legion members who attacked Maciel's victims should publicly apologize for their callous and misguided actions.


Anonymous said...

SNAP is losing its touch! It apparently never sought strong bonds with mainline Catholics. It is now moving away from whatever tentative bridges did exist. Is this SNAP's goal? If not, the leadership must reassess its tactics and strategy. The incessant demonstrations, confrontations, leafleting parishioners, news conferences, etc. are counterproductive and serve but to polarize the situation, and make churchgoers wary of SNAP representatives and their message. What comes across is an organization that is trying to function raucously and “on the cheap.” The image is not attractive. If SNAP wants to sell its message, it first has to sell itself! That means consulting a reputable, no nonsense PR firm that can do a makeover of the entire organization. New methods must be found to project what SNAP is all about and how it wants to announce its epiphany. How best can SNAP reach out to people so as not to alienate them? Watch Tower techniques do not work, not with a sophisticated, urbane public. This is going to demand soul searching and discussion. Failure to reassess the movement from top to bottom will only continue the same impression that generally prevails: a rowdy, noisy bunch of schoolchildren, carrying on, yammering and otherwise making nuisances of themselves in front of a parade.

Anonymous said...

What a diatribe! Maybe you need some couseling.

Anonymous said...

Once you can spell "counseling" we'll consider it.

Anonymous said...

Aren't we pissy and needy.

JB said...

SNAP can kiss my a**. I might despise the Legion, but I loathe and despise SNAP, who have no love for the Church Catholic.

pissy said...

No, I'm pissy.

Clevelandgirl said...

"The image is not attractive. If SNAP wants to sell its message, it first has to sell itself! That means consulting a reputable, no nonsense PR firm that can do a makeover of the entire organization."

What, hire a firm of spokesholes like RCC Inc does to spin their crimes and discredit survivors (like you're doing here)? SNAP doesn't have the billions of dollar of disposable income that RCC Inc has (for every dollar paid out in settlements, at least the same amount has been paid to high priced lawyers and PR firms). Are you a member of a RCC Inc hired PR firm? Have you been tasked with posting anti-SNAP diatribes anywhere SNAP is mentioned online? Are you a low-level PR flunky too new or inexperienced to actually show your face at press conferences, so they make you do online postings? Or are you just a tool, a stooge, a patsy apologist of RCC Inc?

SNAP has the truth on its side. When you have the truth, you don't need to hire liars to spin your message - like RCC Inc, the organized criminal child rape cult.

JB said...

" RCC Inc, the organized criminal child rape cult."

LOL. Such over-the-top statements such as this are exactly why SNAP is competely untrusted by the vast majority of Catholics who, while they can't stand their bishops' duplicity, absolutely abhor organizations like SNAP who try to exploit an already ugly situation, and who clearly couldn't care less for them, the layfolk. It is therefore no suprise that they would show up here too: Like maggots on a gangrenous member of the Body of Christ, expect SNAP to be there, spreading its filth, concerned only about where they'll get their next meal.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anyone else standing up for Maicel's abuse victims in any way.

JB said...

Don't flatter them, Anon: TO my knowledge, SNAP did nothing to get MM's original victims media attention. We have to recognize that organizations like SNAP have a symbiotic relationship to the crises they claim to decry: no crises, no SNAP. Ergo, it is imperative to seek out crises to exploit, in order to maintain a sense of relevancy. I am reminded of a case in which SNAP persecuted a priest until the 'victim' admitted she had made up the allegations, in and of itself bad enough, but made much worse by SNAP then refusing to offer any retraction or apology whatsoever to said priest. He admitted later in an interview that he was nearly driven to suicide over the row, which surely would've implicated him in the abuse, and vindicated SNAP and the alleged victim. SNAP, in the meantime, merely moved on to the next scene, the next crisis.

They are not necessary to the healing process here, and are worse than merely being a nuisance--they are parasidic. No true-blue Catholic should offer them but the dust off their heels.

Anonymous said...

The original victims were given support and counseling through SNAP, not media coverage.

JB said...

In the 70s when they first surfaced? SNAP wasn't founded until the late 80s. Fail.

Anonymous said...

JB, please, I did not say in the 70s or when at all. I do not have a dog in this fight, and I can understand your reluctance and suspicions of SNAP. However, SNAP has given this support to Maciel's victims in the past years.

Anonymous said...

SNAP's MO is notification. Megan's Law requires registration and notification of convicted sex offenders. So, Megan's Law goes one step further than SNAP. The following article references studies that indicate Megan's Law is a failure and waste of taxpayets' money!
February 7, 2009

Megan's Law not a deterrent


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A new federally funded study examining sex offenses in the state where Megan's Law was created concluded that the law hasn't deterred repeat offenses.

The report released Thursday found that registering sex offenders in New Jersey makes it easier to find them when they are accused of crimes, but does little to alter the types of sex crimes committed or the number of victims. The study also suggests the costs associated with the laws may not be justified.

The study estimated the cost of implementing Megan's Law in New Jersey at around $555,000 in 1995. By 2007, the annual costs of maintaining the programs totaled around $4 million.

New Jersey was among the first states to enact laws requiring community notification and sex offender registration. The laws, now in all 50 states, are named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed in 1994 by a twice-convicted sex offender who lived near her home.

Megan's Law requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living in their communities.

When the most dangerous sex offenders move to a neighborhood, police go door to door to personally notify citizens and past victims. Those considered to have a lower risk of re-offending are listed on an Internet registry available to the public. The lowest risk offenders must register but aren't subject to notification laws.

Kanka's mother, Maureen Kanka, says the laws were never intended to alter the behavior of sex offenders.

"It was to provide an awareness to the public, which it has done," Kanka said Friday. "We never said it would stop them from going somewhere else and sexually abusing."

She added: "Would having that knowledge have made a difference for my daughter? Absolutely. She'd have been alive and well."

But Kristen Zgoba, one of the lead authors of the report and a research supervisor for the state Corrections Department, said that increased awareness alone doesn't result in safer communities.

"There's no other way to increase safety other than to decrease the likelihood of these crimes taking place," Zgoba said.

A public defender, Michael Buncher, said the money spent on Megan's Law would be better used for improved supervision of sex offenders and sex offender therapy in prisons.

The report is among only a few to use hard data to evaluate the effect of the laws on the crime rate. Recent studies in New York and Arkansas have come to similar conclusions. Other previous studies, however, have used mostly anecdotal evidence to support use of Megan's Laws.

The New Jersey study was conducted by the state Department of Corrections with help from Rutgers University. It was funded by the National Institute of Justice.

The authors found that New Jersey has seen an overall reduction in the number of sexual offenses since the early 1990s, but that reduction can't be directly associated with the passage of the notification laws in 1995.

Other factors may be at play. In 1998, New Jersey started civil commitments of sex offenders deemed the most likely to re-offend.

Those who treat sex abusers say registration and notification programs are helpful, but aren't comprehensive enough and don't help rehabilitate the offenders.

"There's a whole containment approach that means that people from a bunch of disciplines — probation and parole, sex offender treatment, victim advocacy and local law enforcement — are working to make sure they don't re-offend," said Alisa Klein of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.

"Those types of programs seem to be the most effective way to ensure they don't re-offend, opposed to programs that monitor where they are or residence restrictions that a lot of states are investing money into now."

Some studies suggest that notification laws are counterproductive. A 1999 study noted that the fear of exposure may cause offenders to avoid treatment, and may encourage pedophiles to seek out children as a result of adult isolation.