Clergy abuse survivors call for more transparency

Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 3:55 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Victims of clergy sex abuse are calling for a new level of transparency when it comes to abusive priests. They say under new church doctrine victims are entitled to see the files on abusive priests.

They gathered in front of Notre Dame seminary, to call for a new level of transparency when it comes to information on sexually abusive clergy

“Child rape is bad but the cover-up is so disheartening,” said Tommy Crane, a supporter of the ‘Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests', or ‘SNAP'.

Alleged victims say in December of last year Pope Francis abolished what is known as the ‘pontifical secret’ which they say should clear the way for survivors to view files on their abusers.

“We are due that right to see the documentation and what they did to do nothing to protect us as children,” said alleged victim Steve McEvoy.

Local leaders of SNAP say Catholic church officials hide information on abusive priests, as evidenced when Pennsylvania law-enforcement took action.

“In 2018 the attorney general of Pennsylvania raided every diocese to get into the archives and that produced 300 credibly abused priests and 1000 victims,” said local SNAP leader Kevin Bourgeois.

Survivors would like to see the Louisiana attorney general do the same thing however he says that’s up to Parish authorities.

The archdiocese acknowledges that the so-called pontifical secret was lifted last year, and in a statement said, that lifted barriers between the church and law-enforcement working on abuse cases.

But victims say they too are entitled to see church abuse files.

“The only way we are going to find out the truth is to get in there and find out what those documents are all about,” said victim John Anderson.

SNAP is asking that all victims and survivors of sexual abuse support their call For open case files on abusive clergy.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans when it comes to the request to open files for victims, it is only obligated to open those files to law enforcement, as outlined in the Papal directive.

SNAP is reaching out to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Vatican City, in an effort to review ‘confidential’ documents.

The archdiocese says it continues to update it’s 2018 clergy abuse report as new information comes to light.

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