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SNAP fights back

This is news update on the struggle SNAP are having in the American Courts to stop the Catholic Church from trying to obtain confidential information they hold on communications between them and their survivor clients in response to a subpoena issued in a compensation case against the Catholic Church.

“Dear SNAP supporter,

Thanks to your help and encouragement, we have been able to marshal our resources and begin fighting back against the recent attacks by Catholic bishops against victims. In the past five days, we’ve filed two lengthy legal documents – one in Missouri and one in The Hague.

Last week in Kansas City, we responded in court to a motion by church lawyers trying to force us to answer even more invasive deposition questions and turn over confidential information about victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and concerned parishioners across the United States.

In that document, we again detail how we’ve never spoken to the man suing Father Michael Tierney, nor broken any “gag” order. We explain how church officials and lawyers are trying to violate the freespeech and free association rights of many individuals. Our filing also includes a new, long affidavit signed by SNAP President Barbara Blaine which gives the judge more information about the work we do and the people we help.

Contrary to a few loud claims, SNAP does not try to “destroy” the Catholic hierarchy. We seek justice for those people who lives were destroyed by the hierarchy. And we work to prevent more lives from being destroyed by the hierarchy.

To that end, yesterday, we submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) new evidence and extensive documentation showing ongoing child rape by Catholic clerics and continuing cover-ups by Catholic officials. The filing underscored the urgent need to prevent future child sex crimes and cover-ups and hold top Vatican staff accountable for widespread human rights abuses. Much of the new material includes evidence that has come to light in the six months since our original submission. These developments demonstrate again both how widespread this human rights crisis is and how it tragically continues.

Since September, when we first contacted the ICC, nearly 500 victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and supporters from 65 different countries have reached out to us. We’re doing all we can to help them.

As a reminder, the jurisdiction of the ICC includes rape, sexual violence, and torture as crimes against humanity. It also provides for individual criminal liability for those with command or superior responsibility over those who directly commit such crimes.

In addition to the new evidence, our tireless attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights informed the ICC prosecutor about the “retaliatory and harassing” legal moves church officials are making against us since our ICC complaint was filed.

We could not have accomplished any of this without your consistent help, your moving letters of support and, of course, your donations. Your generosity has been crucial in helping us recover from these new “get tough” assaults by Catholic hierarchy and to fight back, for the sake of the already wounded and the still vulnerable.

Thank you from all of us!

Barbara's signature

Barbara Blaine, SNAP President David Clohessy, SNAP Director”

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