Church’s Lawyers Have SNAP in Their Sights
In October, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the oldest, largest, and most visible peer counseling group for victims of clergy sex abuse in any denomination, received a subpoena from a Kansas City, Missouri, priest being prosecuted for sexually abusing an older male victim SNAP has never met. The subpoena demanded a sweeping range of documents and correspondence concerning thousands of the estimated 100,000-plus people SNAP has counseled over two decades.
In December, the group received a second subpoena from the other side of the state, from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, facing its own charges concerning the alleged abuse of a 19-year-old woman. SNAP has fought the requests, citing Missouri laws protecting the privacy of rape survivors, and describing the records-request as a coordinated Church effort to bully sex abuse victims into silence and harass a longtime opponent into bankruptcy.
While the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has denied that there is a national strategy for the Church to fight sex abuse cases more aggressively, even the Church’s staunchest defenders see the pattern.