Groups Condemn False Conflation of Sexual Orientation and Sexual Violence in Former Vatican Ambassador’s Letter as “Wrong and Dangerous”
August 30, 2018, Washington D.C. -- Clergy sex abuse survivors and human rights attorneys today are calling upon Pope Francis to order the release of all church files related to all allegations of sexual violence, including by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. They are also demanding the Vatican condemn any suggestion by church officials that link the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults with the sexual orientation of either the victim or the offender.
“There is absolutely no link between sexual violence against children, minors, and vulnerable adults and sexual orientation,” said Peter Isely, clergy sex abuse survivor and founding member of the global group Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA).
“Making this false link is immoral, dangerous, and wrong,” continued Isely, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, who operated the only inpatient treatment center for survivors of sexual violence by clergy.
The call for release of church files was made by survivors and attorneys who lead three global groups concerned with the Catholic church abuse crisis: Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). The news conference was outside the Vatican embassy, where documents that allegedly implicate the Pope in the cover-up of McCarrick’s offenses are thought to be filed, according to former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.
“The infighting between factions of the hierarchy does nothing to protect children around the world,” said Becky Ianni, board member of SNAP. “Any attempt by Viganò and others to use the abuse crisis and victims of clergy sexual abuse as leverage in the struggle for church power must stop.”
Tim Law, president and board member of ECA said, “We are looking to the Pope for clarity and leadership. The world needs to see transparency and direction from the Pope right now about how he is going to protect children from predator priests and hold bishops accountable who cover up for them.”
Pam Spees, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “Vigano’s letter incriminates himself and many others in sexual violence and cover-up. In his indictment of Pope Francis, he makes no mention of any steps he himself took to report these serious allegations to civil authorities, which he could have done at any time.”
Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) is a worldwide organization of survivors and human rights activists who compel the Roman Catholic Church to end clergy abuse, especially child sexual abuse, in order to protect children and to seek justice for victims. ECA assembly members represent over 18 countries and 4 continents. http://www.ecaglobal.org - @ENDCLERGYABUSE - firstname.lastname@example.org
Survivors Network of the those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has been working for 30 years to support victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org Becky Ianni, SNAP Board Member, email@example.com, 703-801-6044
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.