Sunday, January 7, 2007

Sex Abuse Victims to Hold 54 Vigils on Anniversary of Catholic Sex Scandal

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They will ask bishops to disclose predators' names & stop 'hardball legal tactics'

Self help group highlights two 'egregious' multiple murder & suicide cases SNAP wants church officials and members to display photos of two wounded families

CHICAGO, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In over 50 cities this weekend - with candles, signs and childhood photos - supporters and victims of sexually abusive clergy will stand outside churches and hold vigils to mark the five year anniversary of the Catholic molestation and cover up crisis.

On January 6, 2002, the Boston Globe ran the first of what would ultimately become 850 stories about pedophile priests, sparking the exposure and suspension of some 900 proven, admitted and credibly accused child- molesting clerics across the US.

Member of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are organizing the events, designed to emphasize that "innocent kids and vulnerable adults are still at risk and church officials are still reckless and secretive," according to Barbara Blaine of Chicago, the group's president and founder.

"Bishops are working harder than ever at public relations," Blaine said, "but fundamentally, they still protect their secrets more than they protect their flocks."

At the vigils, victims will briefly highlight what they call two 'particularly egregious' cases:

-- a Wisconsin priest, Fr. Ryan Erickson, who murdered two men in 2002, after one of them confronted him with allegations that he was molesting children,

-- a Kansas priest, Fr. Robert Larsen, whose sex crimes against kids led five of his victims to commit suicide.

SNAP members will ask that

-- church employees and lay Catholics download photos of families hurt by Erickson and Larsen and display them in local churches, and

-- bishops to disclose the names of accused predator priests, stop using "hardball legal tactics" and display photos of several victims in churches across the country.
[...Snip] SNAP

SNAP indicated that they would have demonstrations in Duluth, St Paul and La Crosse.
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