S.N.A.P. Sues Pope for Crimes Against Humanity


The clergy sex abuse victims’ advocacy organization S.N.A.P. (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) and the CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights) have filed an international lawsuit today against the Pope and others for crimes against humanity.

S.N.A.P. is holding a press conference tomorrow (Sept. 14th) at  2 pm outside the Archdiocese headquarters in Philadelphia at 222 North 17th Street.

“Hague Is Asked to Investigate Vatican Over Abuse,” by Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, September 13, 2011

“Child Abuse Victims Sue Pope for Crimes Against Humanity,” in Times of Malta.com, September 13, 2011

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29 Responses to “S.N.A.P. Sues Pope for Crimes Against Humanity”

  1. Victims4Justice.org Reply September 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    SNAP sent me an email today. I posted the link of what they’re planning to do. In the email I got, this was the message: “Dear SNAP Leaders,

    Today we are having press conferences in New York and Washington to discuss our International Criminal Complaint vs. the Vatican, filed just hours ago. We are happy to send you that press release below. Similar press conferences are being held globally all week.

    This is a historic moment for SNAP. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done to get us to this point.

    Barbara Dorris”

    I absolutely despise SNAP. They are as much of liars as the Catholic Church, and this coming from a clergy abuse survivor. Again, this email only proves how much they are for themselves and their organization without regard to victims when they use the phrase “This is a historic moment for SNAP. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done to get us to this point.”

    SNAP is not a network. As I have found many SNAP members, there are also just as many who have been alienated by the organization, because SNAP leaders want everything done exactly by their standards. I have dealt with liars and psychological thieves within their highest ranks. Myself and quite a few other victims of clergy sexual abuse have dealt with personal attacks and rumors slung by SNAP leadership. They care nothing about victims and their suffering and more about their own facade and how the public with view them. Last year, when Barbara Dorris accused me of “screaming at her during a protest because I wanted to hand out flyers to children,” she flat-out lied. Anyone who knows me well enough, during protests, know I don’t hand out flyers to anyone. I hope my signs do the talking. This rumor, which carries no truth at all, was spread through email to other SNAP members. When I decided to pull myself away from SNAP and start my own meeting in NE Philly, and after I sent an email out to all my fellow victims who have been fed up with SNAP and their politics for years, Barb Dorris replied “Rich means well, but he does not have the patience to conduct a meeting and I fear any victim who gets in his way.” Typical lunicy!

    The meeting that I have started has nothing to do with leaders or organizers. There’s no group moderator or anyone to tell another that they are wrong in their thinking and they don’t belong. If there’s a problem, not one person will make the decision. The group with handle the matter. This is called diplomacy. SNAP cares nothing for victims and even recently is responsible for creating havoc with a non-SNAP meeting that’s been going strong for 7 years in NYC. What took 7 years to build, SNAP managed to destroy it in less than 2 weeks.

    If you stand on your own two feet, SNAP will push you down. If you argue with SNAP about what you want to say of your own abuse to the media or the public, SNAP will leave you hanging. And above all, if there’s a difference of opinion SNAP will spread rumors like wild fire. I don’t trust this organization as much as I don’t trust the Catholic Church. Both organizations care about three things; Money, money, and money. Shame on SNAP!

    (By the way, if anyone thinks they can refute this post, I still have the emails from Barbara Dorris and Barbara Blaine. I have let others inside and outside of SNAP read them. Tell me I’m lying?! I don’t lie and when people lie about me, it’s like stepping on a venemous snake.) Other than that, I’m usually a pretty decent, patient, compassionate person, who’s also a little bit messed up in the head.

    If the idea didn’t originate with SNAP, well then it’s no idea at all… http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/07_08/2010_08_03_Baumann_PartingCompany.htm

    • V4J,

      I don’t know much about SNAP, other than what their members have in common. Obviously, do what you want, but you (and I) are fighting against over a billion people who don’t really care about your problem.

      You don’t have to be friends with the other people who fight your enemy, but if you fight SNAP publicly, you make the enemy stronger.

      The Catholic church has a billion people, a lot of them paid, including the Cathholic Leaggue, and they will love your opinion. All they will need is a quote that shows that “even victims don’t like SNAP”, and you give a billion Catholics another excuse to forget about the problem.

      The way I look at it, I give a LOT of slack to the way any victim deals with the problem.

      You have a difficult fight against one of the world’s most powerful enemies. I’m just asking you to think before you write publicly. You can’t win every fight, and you’d have to be the best fighter in the world just to win one of these.

      • Victims4Justice.org Reply September 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        Just like the Catholic Church, I refuse to sit back and listen to lies. When a organization like SNAP claims to represent all victims of clergy sexual abuse, I think it’s my right and my responsibility to speak out against the deceit of this organization.

        Yes Neil, you don’t know much about SNAP. I was involved with them for over 2 years. Maybe you should keep your opinions to yourself when you don’t know too much about something?!

        I don’t fight against SNAP. I just call it the way I see it. Instead, I fight for victims of the same kind of shit I went through in my life. If doing so means I have to lie, cheat, and steal like leaders of SNAP, well then, that’s not for me. Instead I’ll use the Church’s lies to tell the truth.

        I’m already winning, Neil. Because of my voice, I have inspired others to use theirs, and in case you haven’t noticed, more and more victims are coming forward everyday, especially in the city of Philadelphia.

        The Catholic Church has no integrity whatsoever. Having said that, I do not want interaction with a supposed “support organization” that has no intergrity either.

        If you found out that Walmart employees were systematically abusing kids across the world, would you go shopping at Target even though they treat their customers like shit?

      • Yes.

        If I found out that Walmart employees were systematically abusing kids across the world, I wouldn’t shop there no matter what.

        A better analogy is that there is only one competitor, called Tiny-Target, that run by the children abused by Walmart, and is a little local store struggling to get by. I’d fight Walmart in any way I could, and I’d shop at Tiny-Target even if they actually shit on my head when I came through the door. I’d consider that treatment part of what the public deserves for allowing the owners of Tiny-Target to be treated like they were. I can wash off later.

        I’d fight the biggest criminal and do whatever I could to bring them to justice. I wouldn’t fight both, because fighting Tiny-Target makes Walmart stronger, and Tiny-Target is probably going to lose anyways.

        If I hated Tiny-Target so much that I couldn’t shop there, I’d keep it to myself, and be thankful they were also fighting Walmart, who committed much, much larger crimes.

      • Victims4Justice.org Reply September 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        Well then, Neil, I guess it’s a good thing that you weren’t abused like so many of us by trusted Catholic priests, only to be re-victimized by organizations who vow to support you. I guess your life is all sunshines and rainbows. Good for you!

  2. Victims4Justice.org Reply September 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I actually don’t care what SNAP does, just as long as they keep their paws off of unsuspecting victims who will fall for their bs and drama. As a victim of clergy sexual abuse they DO NOT represent me. If they did, they wouldn’t mind my opinion or my participation. Instead, they create BS and gossip. I used to just sit back and try to forget about them, but when I take a hundred calls and emails monthly, and many victims are complaining about SNAP and how the organization has treated them (similar to the way the Church has treated victims) I will not stand by and do nothing.

    I insist that other victims do not contact SNAP for support. When I first learned of SNAP, after I came forward in early 2009, I was surprised to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and call 77 phone numbers in 41 different states, only to have 1 person answer the phone. In two years of dealing with SNAP and protesting along side of Barbara Blaine and Barbara Dorris I have seen nothing but lies and deceit. I knew that if I didn’t withdraw from this organization that eventually their lies would mask who I am as a person.

    Sometimes I can’t think of who is more manipulative, the Church or SNAP. Just like the Church, SNAP is similar to the mob and if you don’t follow their rules, you’ll get whacked. Trust me, I still have the scar.

    Just take a look at their tax returns on bbb.org, then read the contridiction on their website and how they use their donations. Sounds like SNAPs David Clohessy, Barbara Blaine, and Barbara Dorris are piling up the money in their own bank accounts while forgetting about victims.

    Bob Hoatson’s Road-to-Recovery.org is the only organization I have ever found that actually helps people. Bob dedicates his time to meeting with victims and finding them the help they need. He also donates money to victims who are unable to work because of the psychological fallout from the abuse, allowing those victims to pay their rent, mortgages, cell phone bill, and to put food on the table. I can assure you that SNAP does none of this.

    • Hi: It is disappointing, but important, to learn of how SNAP has adversely affected some survivors. Please, however, try to focus on the ICC complaint filed by CCRJUSTICE.ORG. What is important here is that a very competent human rights organization is moving forward publicly to bring the hierarchy to account. Whether the ICC will eventually pursue the case remains to be seen. It is influenced by some political considerations, but for countless survivors, it may their only opportunity to get some real justice. You must get behind this case in any way you can. The case is not about SNAP; it is about countless victims throughout the world. Focusing on SNAP’s shortcomings here mainly serves to undercut the case.

  3. Victims4Justice.org Reply September 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    SNAP should be sued for crimes against victims!

  4. I have to agree with Rich. I too have had some pretty bad experiences with Snap. I first got involved with snap back in the early to mid 90’s and was head of SJ Snap for some time. It wasn’t until I made a decision to concentrate on my therapy at a deeper level that snap disposed of me. I had in their eyes betrayed them with my lack of loyalty. When i reached out to them to help me with flyers and what to put on the flyers and to support me in confronting my perptraitor in Phila, I received No help and finally did the best I could on my own. As a matter of fact, only VOTP showed up and stood with me Fr. Hoatson and my therapist.Snap has their own agenda and in my personal observation has lost their way. Sadly, they are reacting more like the very institution they blame. Snap needs to do a good housecleaning and really look at their own behaviors. Now you have heard from 2 survivors about snap and I know i speak the truth as does Rich. Indeed, shame on them!

    • Thanks for the insight. I heard different things from people within the church about SNAP but did not know how credible they were. I was surprised to hear the above from both of you. But what you say makes sense. I also saw the notice from SNAP and it does say……..SNAP makes history that seems like it is gloating rather than……..saying something like Surivors may now get justice or something like that. It is good to hear what some victims really think about SNAP and who you should really have them go to to seek help. As if you don’t already have it hard enough to have to be savvy enough to see thru their real intentions.

      • Beth, thank you! It is people like yourself who really listen to survivors. That in itself is a gift. Rich and I have been around snap for a lot of years, we know what we are talking about. My one intent on this blog is to tell the truth from my own experience. That is my value and my intergrity.

  5. Victims4Justice.org Reply September 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    You know, Vicky. I bet if we had the money to advertise a site dedicated to those people who have been re-victimized by SNAP, we could probably be a hurting on their 10,000+ member list.

    • Rich, What I wish I could do if I had the money, is start our own organization with only truth and intergrity. I would set up a program that would support all survivors with their financial difficulties, I would hire excellent therapists who would sincerely help victims and our organization would pay for it all. Their is so much I would do and with your help and Fr. hoatson and a few others, we could show snap what REAL support looks like and much more importantly, our focus would always be the victim. When you have ANYTHING to do with supporting victims of priest and nun abuse, honesty and intergrity and consistancy all of which promotes a foundation of trust which is imperative for ANY survivor!

  6. I think what has happened over the last several years is that it dawned (loud and clear) on district attorneys, prosecutors, grand juries, lawyers, victim support groups, the secular world, in general, and, indeed, on all Catholics, how the clergy operate… how each level of the hierarchy is controlled and bullied by the one above it. “It’s a top-down operation.” NOTHING bishops and cardinals do or say (or fail to do or say), NOTHING, is not directed by the Pope. NOTHING priests do or say (or fail to do or say), NOTHING, is not directed by bishops and cardinals. The Pope runs the show. The Pope IS the show. Everyone under the Pope vows unconditional obedience to him, directly or indirectly.

    When scandal erupts, everyone relies on a convoluted and elaborate system of denial, acutely developed and nurtured throughout the centuries. Particularly sickening and pathetic is that there are clergy members who are willing to be fall-guys, willing to pay for the sins of everyone or anyone. According to Richard Sipe, they are rewarded in a number of ways, including monetarily.

    I think that what is happening, today, is that, finally, there is evidence supporting how this modus operandi is wholly responsible for the ongoing sexual abuse crisis and the catastrophic inability of the Church to resolve it.

    Not only should the Pope be sued for being the orchestrator of the sexual abuse crisis, he should be sued for maintaining a cult.

    Catholics should ponder long and hard how well the modus operandi exemplifies “priesthood.”

    In my opinion, the people best suited to effectuate the sick and evil modus operandi are religious sisters. They have found their voices. They are intelligent, experienced, informed, rational and moral. In my opinion, the people who could most benefit from their voices are parish priests. Parish priests need to integrate the sisters into their insulated, think-tank groups where they scratch their heads about what to do and what to say when the laity eats them alive. The religious sisters know how to unify voices. They also know how to circumvent oppressive forces. They also know how to follow their consciences. They also know new models for creatively and relevantly living and working according to the Gospel values.

    Undoing the top-down modus operandi depends on informing, empowering and transforming the priests at the bottom.

    • I have, since leaving RCism , sometimes attended mass with my bride and family for a variety of reasons [ I now have no intention of continuing to] and overall— I find that the most common [and infuriating] way the abuse crisis is “handled” there is the “silent treatment.” Complete denial.

  7. I’m sorry that there is such bad feeling about SNAP. Perhaps a bullying organization is the only thing that will make the RCC accountable. I don’t know.

    The only thing I do know is that the RCC needs change. They need to accept the fact that the people are the Church. They need to know that they are as human as the laity and just as in need of guidance and forgiveness.

    Whatever organization brings effective suit against them, I’m for it. We may see the whole edifice of the RCC crumble. If that happens, we have ourselves to blame. Those of us who are left can either pick up the pieces, work in the image of God and Christ, or forget the whole thing. If we are the Church, we will have to do the work. Are we up to it???

    • Elizabeth T. posted in part: “If we are the Church, we will have to do the work. Are we up to it???”
      Here is the thing: All we can really trust today vis a vis “Church” is the bible- it is protected and preserved miraculously by almighty God; therefore, we learn there that the “church” — in Gk. “ekklesia” is the invisible organism scripturally referred to as “the Body of Christ” as distinct from all other instances in the bible where “church “is mentioned [and there are many.]The next “step” is to recognize how we, as individual believers are joined in the Body, and we learn this from the scripture Christ revealed for us for that specific purpost— the letters of Paul. There we learn, from careful attentive study, that only by believing– by the faith of Christ – are we “baptized” into this Body, and into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. That done, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ– a mystery [secret] never revealed in the scriptures prior to when Christ revealed it to Paul from heaven.
      Israel has a different future entirely, it is not heavenly, it is on the earth. God promised them a earthly kingdom, from which their King well rule all thGentilele nations as well as Israel. The 12 apostles will “judge” or rule over the 12 tribes,on the earth and in the New Jerusalem. The Body of Christ has a heavenly destiny , that’s why Paul wrote that even now our home is in heaven with Christ and one day Christ will meet us in the air to be be with Him forever, even when He sets foot back on earth in Jerusalem. But Israel has never been promised a heavenly home, but a home and a kingdom right here on earth. This is bible truth and is not consistent with Roman fiction and counterfeit systems of control and manipulation by the enemies of the cross of Christ.

      • Correction: “baptism” by the Holy Spirit– this is the “One bapism”— water is ruled out [if it were both water and Spirit it would not be One but two.]For Israel water was commanded, for the Body of Christ it is now meaningless according to the revelation of the mystery revealed to Paul. Paul wrote: I was sent NOT to baptize, but to preach Christ crucified [The gospel.]

  8. To Rich and Vicky: I know very little about SNAP except for what I read (through their eyes) and it is good to have opinions from people who actually had dealings with SNAP. In response to Neil, why should they be quite and not speak up if they feel there is something wrong with the orginazation. Isn’t this what got us here in the first place, silence, the Church hiding the truth, the Church not wanting people to talk about the problems and evils that were hidden within. Thank you to both of you for speaking up and being courageous enough to tell things as you see them no matter what the Church or anyone else does with it.

  9. I don’t know anything about the inner workings of SNAP.

    I am however elated that someone, anyone, has filed an international lawsuit against the Pope, and others within the Vatican for crimes against humanity. Even if the suit goes nowhere, it keeps the issue of The Roman Catholic Church, and Her sexual crimes against children visible for the entire world to see. The RCC keeps saying that child sexual abuse is an issue that is largely a thing of the past in order to take the eyes of the world off the crimes of the Church.

    It’s our job to let the world know that the Church’s crimes against children are anything but crimes of the past. WE NEED TO KEEP THE RCC’s pedophile crimes FRESH and VISIBLE to everyone.

    The fact that the Hague Has Been Asked To Investigate The Vatican For Crimes Against Humanity is a BIG WIN for our side! To me it’s secondary who brought this to the attention of the Hague. I hope that numerous groups and countries take the RCC to the International Court for Her worldwide sexual abuse of children.

    • Amen.

      If God and Jesus were running the Catholic church, you could rely on the truth.

      However, there isn’t a single Catholic that would bet their life on the Catholic church telling the truth, and no Catholic believes that the “best Catholic on earth”, the pope, will tell the truth in this situation.

      No Catholic would bet their life that the pope would tell the truth, but every Catholic believes he is telling the truth about the afterlife.

      Amazing.

      • Patrick, I love the truth you so skillfully and persuasively expose; and I quite often agree with your conclusions vis a vis this continuing crisis in the whole world. My qualification, if you will, is that I don’t believe we, or anyone else, can take the place of Christ as the Judge of the priest abusers, and that even they, and those in power over them are sinners whom Christ died for — and that if they believe the gospel of grace as revealed in scripture, NOT BY CATHOLIC COUNTERFEIT, they also may be saved. In other words I don’t agree that , as you have said, they are already condemned to Hell. Just so, I don’t believe the pew sitters are condemned for they know not what they do. But ANYONE that rejects the Word of God that tells us we all are sinners, without one plea to get us into heaven on our own merits, and that we get in as a free gift and that way ONLY , they will be lost and be in Hell for eternity as you have put it.

  10. Victims4Justice.org Reply September 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Most victims I know, myself included, are defiant of authority figures. Many victims cannot work because of the psychological turmoil caused by childhood sexual abuse and an authority figure that spent so much time with us, breaking down our defenses and manipulating us into something that should have never happened. In my own case, I have been involved in quite a few of my own business ventures. I don’t like answering to anyone. Furthermore, if I’m the boss I can go about my business in the way it makes me feel comfortable and is conducive in my own healing. Working for someone else doesn’t always allow me to deal with my own emotional issues when a panic attack strikes me out of nowhere. In fact, I have lost two very good jobs in the past because of my issue with panic attacks and depression.

    Now when you have an organization who claims to support victims of childhood sexual abuse, in my opinion, forcing them to do everything their way is not healthy for their own recovery. Some of these organizations are too busy piling up the donations to feed their own banks accounts, while spending the money on First-Class airplane tickets to extravagant destinations while staying in some of the most luxurious and lavish hotels and fine dining. This should not be the message from a non-profit organization who claims to help victims recover. SNAP uses “zero” donations to help victims. Only Bob Hoatson, founder of Road-to-Recovery.org is the only charitable organization that uses its money to actually help victims find psychological and medical help, to pay their rent, and put food on the table. Yet, Bob Hoatson doesn’t drive an expensive car and he doesn’t stay in luxury hotels, and Bob doesn’t seem to get the dollar amount in donations like SNAP. Even more, you can find Bob Hoatson somewhere in the country and even all over the world providing support to victims, protesting in their favor, and accompanying victims coming forward legally and publicly during press conferences. SNAP does none of this. They simply follow the news hoping to get their names and faces in the public eye.

    Neil totally missed my point when I pointed out just how SNAP operates. This is not an organization who provides support to victims. This is an organization that wants to further the popularity of their names and claim they support victims. Maybe they do support victims. I just haven’t found that many. Most victims I know have been completely wronged by SNAP. In a time in our lives where we need understanding and comfort, it is wrong to “re-victimize” a person who has suffered from childhood sexual abuse and all the bullshit that follows by telling that person, “You follow our rules, or else…” That’s no way to support someone.

    When SNAP writes in their own emails to their members and speaks to media citing “this is a historical event for SNAP,” they are speaking about them. How about a historical event for all victims who have suffered childhood sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy? Then SNAP goes on to thank us for all our hard work. Geez… that’s nice. All I did was get raped and tortured by my religion teacher when I was a kid. I guess because of that I get a big thank you from an organization that’s furthering it own cause, while completely alienating victims. Seems like something is wrong to me.

    So my point is, from what I have seen over the passed 2+ years is that SNAP has never supported me and a quite a few other victims I know. To the contrary, SNAP has actually continued to make our lives miserable. In all honesty, I think they’re a bunch of f#cking doughnuts! And how ironic it is that not more than an hour after I post something about SNAP, a former regional SNAP leader agrees with me.

  11. My sharing is simply to put out my side of things about SNAP.

    My husband and I approached SNAP seeking a listening ear and to know we weren’t alone, and we were welcomed with open arms. Maybe it’s the specific meetings we’ve attended? I don’t know. At a certain point, my husband and I wanted to do some things in our area in regard to his dealings with the diocese and SNAP would not/could not support us in that approach. I don’t blame them for that…they have their own agenda. We knew then that our needs outweighed what SNAP could offer. I didn’t expect much from them so I wasn’t disappointed when they couldn’t follow our path/approach. I know they offer support to victims through regional support meetings, but those meetings are only as good as a moderator allows. SNAP’s focus has shifted from individual to a more broad one.

    I had my own dealings with several members of SNAP…and I attribute those qualities to those people, not the organization they are affiliated with. SNAP is made up of all kinds of victims, survivors, and supporters…and each comes with their own “issues,” pain, wounds, and perspective …myself included. To expect an organization to be fully “evolved” given how it originated would be lofty.

    I don’t belong to SNAP for a variety of reasons, BUT, I support their broad, collective approach to taking on the rcc. It’s not black and white for me with SNAP…yet.

    Changing directions here: Rich, I understand your explanation of victims and authority figures. In a similar vein, my husband has a built-in bullsh** detector. He can spot manipulation, control issues, and a lack of inauthenticity much more quickly than others. Why? Because it echoes the rhythm of the abuse…and when you have survived something like that, you become vigilant about those clues that placed you in danger. Truly a survival technique. The other side to that is…because he was extremely sensitive to spotting those qualities, it didn’t always mean someone (authority figure or institution) was abusive. Dysfunctional? Perhaps. Abusive? Time would tell.

    All we have is the truth of our experiences. There’s more I want to add, but time does not permit right now.

  12. Victims4Justice.org Reply September 15, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Yeah, yeah… it doesn’t matter. We all know you’re illiterate. Hahaha… I crack myself up. 🙂

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