September 13, 2012, New York - Since the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) filed a formal request for an investigation one year ago to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Hague alleging that top-ranking Vatican officials are committing crimes against humanity including abetting and covering up the rape and sexual assault of children by priests, hundreds of additional survivors are coming forward.
In this short year the movement of survivors across the globe has grown significantly. SNAP now has members in 67 different countries. Visits to the SNAP website come from 122 countries. “Survivors are creating a worldwide movement in response to crimes by priests that have been committed across the globe,” said CCR lead attorney, Pam Spees.
Survivors have discovered that in spite of coming from different time zones, countries and cultures and even though they speak many different languages, all had similar experiences. SNAP President Barbara Blaine said, “First we were sexually violated and assaulted by priests, nuns, brothers or other authority figures, and then we were betrayed by church officials who enabled and covered up the crimes. Regardless of where they occurred, our experiences are eerily similar.” The insights and mutual support survivors give to each other also challenges survivors to recognize how their healing is intrinsically tied to their efforts to protect others and stop sexual violence.
“SNAP members continue to welcome and invite anyone seeking support and information to contact SNAP,” Blaine says, “while we continue to work to hold those who enable and cover up sexual violence and torture to be held accountable.”
Spees says, “We encourage anyone with information about sex crimes and cover ups by church officials to report it to police and to contact us so that we can add it to our complaint.”
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. 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 and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.