In response to the Archdiocese of Hartford publishing the names of clergy accused of the sexual abuse of minors since 1953, SNAP Connecticut issued a statement Tuesday calling for the archdiocese to release more information about the men, including their current locations.
SNAP stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national organization which calls itself “the largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious and institutional authorities (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns, coaches, teachers, and others).”
The statement is as follows:
It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.
However, we believe that Archbishop Leonard Blair could have included more information that would be helpful to survivors. In the list released today, the Archbishop omits photos and the current whereabouts of those accused who are still alive. While he does provide a list of assignments in the Archdiocese, he does not include the dates of those assignments. He also neglects to provide information about when the allegations were received, except in those cases where the priest died prior to the victim coming forward.
Where these priests are now is important, as it provides a warning to those nearby about a potential threat to young people. That is the best step the bishop could take to prevent more horrific crimes against more innocent children.
How these clerics looked in the past, and when they worked in a particular parish, is important because that information helps victims identify those who hurt them. It usually takes decades for survivors to come forward. The victim might only recall the priest’s name, what parish he/she attended when the abuse occurred, and a face. Even parents who were long-time parishioners may have trouble remembering a clergyman who only worked in their parish for a short time.
When the Archdiocese received the allegations is important because it reveals how long it took the Church to respond. Along with the priest’s assignment history, including dates, it also shows where he was and what he was doing in the interim.
We hope that Archbishop Blair will continue to add names to this list. Ultimately, it should not only include the names of every accused cleric, Archdiocesan and order, but also brothers, women religious, and lay employees who abused children. When the perpetrators of child sex crimes remain hidden, young people remain at risk. Disclosing the full truth is the best way to safeguard the vulnerable, heal the wounded and help the Church move forward.
We urge anyone who may have suffered, seen, or suspected clergy crimes or cover ups in Connecticut to contact Attorney General George Jepsen and encourage him to open an independent investigation.
For more information, visit www.snapnetwork.org .
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.