For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)
In thousands and thousands of clergy child molestation cases, church and law enforcement staff can't turn back the clock and get a "do over". Thousands and thousands of times, at a bare minimum, church and law enforcement staff were naive and passive and mishandled clergy sex abuse reports.
More accurately, thousands and thousands of times, church staff actively shunned victims, deceived parishioners, stonewalled police, destroyed evidence, transferred predators, and recklessly, callously put kids in harm's way. Often, criminal authorities turned a blind eye or even cooperated in these injustices.
Here, however, is a chance to do it right. Here's a chance to help ensure that no other child is hurt by Fr. Cristancho, a priest who obviously broke his vows, deceived his flock, hurt his children and devastated their mother.
All it takes is a little courage and a little outreach. If there are others who witnessed or experienced Cristancho's misdeeds, there's a chance they'll step forward, do their civic duty, and help get him locked up so that other kids are safe. They just need a nudge, an invitation, a plea.
We in SNAP have made this plea. Now it's time for the prosecutor and bishop to do likewise. They've got far more resources and clout than we do. And if they do this simple, inexpensive outreach, they can help stop future child sex crimes and help those who've already suffered child sex crimes.
Please, we beg them, take this easy step, to both protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)