Parting Company with SNAP

Update:  If you are coming into this blog post from click here to see my response to Mr. Pierre’s use of my post to support his attack on SNAP.

I began writing this post over a month ago. It was put aside as my attention went to other, more important events in my life. But now I have a moment, so I thought I would finish my thought process and assess my relationship with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

I sent a note to the National Leadership of SNAP to request that my name be removed from their website as the Point of Contact for the Southeastern Virginia area. In effect, I was removing myself from SNAP because I no longer think that the organization speaks for me as a survivor. This is a decision I made after a great deal of thought and it was not easy for me. But I have decided that for me, personally, I am more comfortable being on the outside of the organization than within. I have too many questions and I have some concerns about leadership, vision, and technology as well as the tone of the conversation between the leadership of the organization and its members.

SNAP is not a network, as the name of the organization would lead you to believe. In the time that I have interfaced with the organization (I reported my abuse in 2007 and started searching the web for organizations of people like myself), I have been frustrated by the lack of communications with other members. My perceptions have been that in order to communicate within the organization, all conversations seem to flow through the National Director. Most of my experience with the National Director seems to surround him squashing any ideas or initiatives that did not originate with the National Leadership. The organization is not networked to facilitate communication between survivors, it does not make use of the various forms of social media to bring an important story to a larger audience. Instead, SNAP seems to be focused on handing out leaflets outside of churches, writing letters to editors and many other methods of discourse that are not as effective today in the digital age as they may have been 22 years ago when SNAP was born.

I find the tactic of holding short notice press events that seem to be focused on promoting the National Director at the expense of survivors with ties to the community where the hit and run event takes place to be pretty odd. I also think that holding vigils and protests that more resemble prayer meetings than actual protests is ineffective. It almost seems that the Catholic Church has a hand in the organization. I am beginning to believe some in leadership positions in the organization may be trying to keep the survivors separate and without an effective way to communicate. Funny, that is precisely what the Catholic church does to victims.

Last spring, when I promoted a letter writing campaign to the Pope organized by an Irish activist, the National Director made a point to email me to tell me that writing letters to church leaders was ineffective. A few weeks later I see that the National Director, in contradiction to his own admonishment, had a letter to the Pope published for all the world to see. The message I take from all this is that any effort by survivors outside of the organization is frowned upon, but when the National Director pens a letter, it is newsworthy. Mr Clohessy was quick to express his concern that the Irish letter writing campaign was a waste of time. So what? If it makes people feel like they are participating in getting the word out, especially to the boys in Rome, that they are not going to sit by and allow business as usual from the bishops, I think it is a good thing. Mr. Clohessy knew better than all of us and recommended that others not participate in letter writing.

A SNAP event I did attend was a vigil in front of the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C..   Billed as a show of solidarity with the victims in Ireland, we stood outside of the embassy with candles while a Catholic Folk group from Maryland played spiritual songs. The embassy was dark, no media was in attendance and only passing motorist and the law enforcement officials that safeguard foreign embassies watched from a respectful distance. We should have been in front of the Vatican Embassy, only a short distance away, expressing our continued outrage very loudly at the Holy See’s inaction.

Although the technology is available, the SNAP website does not promote the blogs of people, many of whom are survivors, that regularly discuss the challenges of survivors, pass information to survivors or provide information on predator priests and others involved with the ongoing cover-up of the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church. The discussion boards are old and outdated and the list of points of contact is not updated on a regular basis. (despite my request to be removed from the listing, my name still appears). The website, for the most part has become a cob-website.

There is some buzz out there about the origins of the organization. Was it a formed by the church itself? I don’t think that really matters. Is it funded by lawyers? Is it funded by the Catholic Church? Good questions! We don’t really know because financial records for this non-profit are not available for review.  But, I am not sure if the source of funding is really relevant. When it comes right down to it, this organization has the potential for doing so much more for survivors and to force a public discussion that could lead to real change and progress in the development of laws that will force organizations to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. It could work with other like organizations to try to open a dialogue or force a change in the Catholic Church. It has the potential to force the truth out in the open. Instead it seems to have become stagnant.

The other complaint I have concerns SNAP’s lack of information for local points of contact or leaders. When I volunteered to be the SNAP point of contact in Southeastern Virginia, I was promised a binder of information on the organization, information on what was expected of local leaders and a listing a resources that I could pass along to survivors in my area. That never materialized. I did have limited contact with the leaders in Northern Virginia, but not a lot of support from the National folks. I was invited to attend a 4 hour leaders training in Ohio recently. That would have been a 12 hour trip to attend 4 hours of training.  SNAP needs to train local leaders, especially in areas that do not have active chapters, allow the organization to grow and to allow for effective communications with survivors.

After thinking about the organization and the way they conduct business I am increasingly uneasy with what I see as a disconnect between the organization’s mission and their methods. I would like to see a change, maybe one or two fresh faces on the national scene. (That does not equate to removing existing leaders). I would like to see an overhaul of the way technology and social media is used as a tool. I want to see this organization actually network survivors. If the national leadership would embrace such a change I will return, volunteer again and do my part to keep the network going.

For now, I will continue to blog my ideas and talk to the survivors that write to me after they find me on-line. I welcome a discussion on SNAP, I just won’t take dictation from the organization.

148 thoughts on “Parting Company with SNAP”

  1. Boy do I agree with you! You’re way to easy on the whole “shootinmatch”

    I have had a hard time with SNAP,since 2001 when we(my husband and I left the RCC on our 50th wedding anniv.) as I absolutely felt it was started by the (RCC)church so they could know what’s going on. The same way that confession to a priest is mandatory, so they can know what’s going on with their priests, nuns and laity. Also to scare the living hell out of the little children, so they can abuse them and no one would ever believe them….I’d like to continue this dialogue. GS

    I wrote e mails to them but never heard back except for send them money!

  2. Everything you say about this organization”MIRRORS”the RCC to a “T” I’m so glad you have taken this stand.

    I do believe most people in SNAP still go to the Catholic Church. We could no more go to this church than curse our Lord.


    We love and adore our LordJesusChrist and know HE is the ONE who said LEAVE, WHEN WE DID. I BLOG EVERY DAY AND HAVE SINCE 2001. GS

  3. SNAP was started by survivors of clergy abuse, not by lawyers, not by the church. SNAP has no affiliation with any church. It is not funded by lawyers or the church. There is no mystery or secret about this!

    1. SNAP is largely funded by the very same lawyers who have gotten rich suing the church. Hypocrites!

  4. GS, I don’t think you are correct when you say most SNAP members still go to the church. Perhaps we can find out the actual statistics. But the majority of SNAP members I know left the church long ago, and I know many members.

    1. I have to agree with Sally, I think a large number of survivors of sexual crimes committed by clergy leave the church. There is simply no comfort there.

      That said, I have seen some very religious people at SNAP events who still cling to Catholicism.

  5. Michael,
    As I perused your comment I did not see one word about the real blood and guts of SNAP — “Survivor Support Meetings”

    You mentioned your 2007 step from the shadows of silence, excellent – but if you are confused about the formation of SNAP talk to those of us who have been around for 20 years, not the gossip columnists. How can you possibly make any connection to the officials of the Catholic church funding SNAP? How ?

    Bob Schwiderski

  6. Michael, maybe this article that was in the Post Dispatch a couple of months ago.. will help you clear up some of your misgivings about SNAP… Tks, Judy

    “Advocate for those abused by priest ramps up since European scandal”

    BY TIM TOWNSEND > 314-340-8221


    The daily drumbeat of news about clergy sexual abuse began in Ireland last year. This year, the stories spread ­ to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Norway. The drumbeat got louder.

    In Chicago and St. Louis, where leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests are based, e-mails from across the ocean continued to pour in. By last month, SNAP decided to respond.

    Despite revenue that has declined sharply in the past three years, the U.S.-based nonprofit group dug into its depleted coffers and found $6,000 for two members of its staff to fly across the Atlantic and talk to victims and the European press.

    SNAP founder and president Barbara Blaine and outreach director Barbara Dorris spent 10 days opening new SNAP chapters in Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and England. They slept on couches, rushed between buses and trains and grabbed snacks on the road. In Germany, they met with the justice minister and members of parliament about changing laws.

    In its 22 years, SNAP has seen tremendous success in its mission to protect children. Many credit the group with bringing change to the Catholic church ­ which tends to resist change ­ since the clergy abuse crisis erupted in Boston in 2002.

    But the organization has also been criticized for the way it raises money, its aggressive pursuit of headlines, and its methods of publicly identifying priests accused of abuse by anonymous plaintiffs.

    For the group’s leaders, the crisis in Europe feels familiar, in a sickening way. And in recent weeks, e-mails from Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador have begun to arrive.

    “People all over the world are struggling to get their minds around this,” Dorris said. “They want to know how anyone would have known about a child molester ­ a church leader ­ and failed to take action. It feels a lot like the early days here.”

    Blaine reported her own abuse to the church in 1985, and the experience led her to start SNAP three years later. She recognized that victims of clergy sexual abuse and their families needed their own kind of support, and says now that the group’s overriding mission is to support victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy, and help protect children at risk of abuse.

    Clayton lawyer Ken Chackes ­ whose firm represents plaintiffs in most clergy sexual abuse cases in St. Louis ­ said SNAP leaders were “extremely generous, minding to people anytime, day or night, and meeting with families about what happened to the victim.”

    That’s the kind of support Mary Ellen Kruger needed when she first heard about SNAP in 2002, at the height of the priest abuse scandal in the United States.

    Kruger’s son, Stephen Hippe, had been abused by a priest in 1985, when he was a 15-year-old student at Bishop DuBourg High School. Two years later, the Rev. James Funke pleaded guilty to the abuse and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    After years of struggling with depression over what Funke had done to him, Hippe shot himself in the heart in 1991. He was 21.

    Funke served five years; in 2006, the Vatican permanently removed him from the priesthood. Today he lives in Dittmer.

    After her son’s suicide, Kruger joined a bereaved parents group. She contributed to several charitable organizations in her son’s name and decorated his grave for every occasion she could think of.

    “But it was never enough, and eventually, people become tired of hearing about your son who died,” said Kruger, now a SNAP volunteer. “When I found SNAP, they gave me the outlet to do something positive.”


    The year Kruger discovered SNAP, its leaders were quoted in just about every newspaper story about the abuse crisis. They facilitated relationships between abuse victims, their attorneys and the press, helping to animate a scandal that would spread to every corner of the American church, eventually forcing it to reform.

    David Clohessy, the third of SNAP’s three full-time staff members and its national director, said the group’s founding mission remained the same today, “to expose predators and to protect children.”

    In pursuit of those goals, SNAP’s leaders have been relentless critics of what it considers the Catholic church’s policies of secrecy and self-preservation at any cost.

    Since 2002, SNAP has kept pressure on the church by alerting reporters to victims’ lawsuits, some with depositions and other documents that proved bishops moved problem priests from diocese to diocese. The group has also fought statute of limitations laws the church has used to limit the size of financial settlements. “While it is an exaggeration to say that the priest scandals would not have been reported without SNAP, the group has been central to encouraging victims to talk to the media,” said Debra Mason, executive director of the Religion Newswriters Association.

    Even some U.S. church officials acknowledge that SNAP has made a difference.

    Bishop Blase Cupich, head of the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D., and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, said SNAP “has done some very important things.”

    Despite its success, several factors ­ church reforms, a finite number of lawsuits, waning public interest in a difficult and graphic story ­ have contributed to a slowdown in donations to the nonprofit group.

    SNAP’s contributions grew nearly sixfold between 2002 and 2006, when its revenue was more than $900,000, according to IRS records. But the following year, SNAP brought in half that amount. In 2009, revenue fell again, to $420,000, with expenses of $499,000. In the last year, the organization, which has about 9,000 members, moved into a smaller headquarters office in Chicago and cut its treasurer from full time to 10 hours per week.

    Blaine works there, in her hometown; Dorris and Clohessy ­ a former community relations director for the Riverview Gardens School District ­ live in St. Louis.

    Clohessy’s own story of abuse made him a natural subject for news profiles during the height of the scandal. He was molested by a priest during a canoe trip when he was 12. His brother, the Rev. Kevin Clohessy, was accused of abuse in 1993 and removed from ministry in 2000. In 2002, David Clohessy sat on Oprah Winfrey’s couch, and People magazine put him on its list of “25 Most Intriguing People,” alongside Jennifer Aniston, Martha Stewart and Saddam Hussein.


    SNAP’s critics often claim that its aggressive methods ­ leafleting the neighborhood around an accused priest’s church, or calling news conferences to herald the name of a newly accused priest ­ are irresponsible. Such tactics, they argue, permanently damage the reputation of a priest falsely or mistakenly accused by an alleged victim who can remain anonymous behind the shield of a John Doe lawsuit.

    But Clohessy points out that SNAP does not name a priest unless a civil lawsuit has been filed, or the priest criminally charged or named in the press. He’s unapologetic.

    “You’ve got to err on the side of protecting the physical and emotional safety of children rather than the reputation of one adult,” Clohessy said.

    Many church leaders and other critics also question where SNAP’s money comes from. Although nonprofit groups do not pay taxes, they must file annual IRS reports detailing the sources of their donations. Those details are not public, though some nonprofit groups make that information public in other ways, such as annual reports. SNAP doesn’t, leading to charges of hypocrisy.

    “For an organization that demands transparency from the institutional church, why can’t SNAP be open and specific about its sources of funding and its expenses?” said Ned McGrath, director of communications for the Detroit Archdiocese.

    The theory among McGrath and other church officials is that victims come to SNAP for support and are directed to law firms that handle clergy sexual abuse claims. Those firms have helped pry more than $2 billion in settlements and judgments from the Catholic church in the United States since 1992. A portion of that money, some church leaders suggest, is kicked back to SNAP in contributions.

    Attorney Ken Chackes said some clients got his firm’s phone number from SNAP. Chackes said both he and partner Susan Carlson had donated money to SNAP, “like we would to any not-for-profit organization,” he said. “We don’t have any sort of arrangement with SNAP.”

    Blaine said the organization protected its list of contributors out of respect for the privacy of victims and declined to provide a list of attorneys or law firms that have contributed to SNAP.

    “I don’t see us making some major change in exposing our donors,” she said.

    Legal ethicists said the issue of law firms’ contributing to nonprofit advocacy groups that send them business is complicated. They said individual states have provisions allowing lawyers to contribute to nonprofit groups, even if they benefit from referrals. Some said that as long as there is no explicit agreement between attorneys and the nonprofit group, the law firms are in the clear. Others said that regardless of the law, it creates an appearance of impropriety.


    If SNAP’s success in the United States can be measured by the change it brought to a 2,000-year-old institution, then its accomplishments have been significant.

    Few people close to the scandal deny SNAP’s impact. Some are more demonstrative. “I kind of feel these people deserve the Nobel Prize,” said Terry McKiernan, founder and president of, a database of priests accused of sexually abusing minors. “That’s the only thing that could express their achievement.”

    Although officials probably would not go that far, some acknowledge SNAP’s impact, even as the organization prepares for its next battle with the Catholic church, this one across oceans.

    “The archdiocese and bishops here believe that SNAP can be commended for helping to bring some of this to light,” said Monsignor John Shamleffer, judicial vicar for the St. Louis Archdiocese.

    Shamleffer said that in the last decade, the archdiocese has started two offices to help protect children, hired an outside firm to perform annual audits tracking compliance with its own policies and does criminal background checks on all clergy and lay staff who work with children.

    “We have taken and continued the work that SNAP began, and we’re doing that as a diocese,” Shamleffer said. “Both the archdiocese and SNAP want same thing ­ the welfare and protection of children.”


    SNAP Staff

    The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has three full-time employees.

    Barbara Blaine, president ­ Founded SNAP in 1988 to help other survivors of clergy sexual abuse, after reporting her abuse three years earlier. Lives in Chicago, SNAP’s headquarters. 2008 salary: $75,750.

    David Clohessy, national director since 1991 ­ Abused by a priest from age 12 to 16 when he was an altar boy at St. Pius X. Lives in St. Louis; serves as SNAP’s main spokesman with the press. 2008 salary: $75,750.

    Barbara Dorris, outreach director; joined SNAP in 1991 ­ Victim of abuse as a child. As a teacher in a parish school, caught a priest molesting a child. Lives in University City. 2008 salary: $52,000.

  7. I believe the leadership of SNAP operates on a shoe string and works very hard to do as much as they can – though they are spread very thin. I happen to think that their methods have drawn a lot of attention to an issue the Church wanted to keep secret. I say thanks to SNAP for doing more to prevent further child abuse in the Church than the bishops have, and in a more timely manner.

  8. Michael, what a great coincidence that you and I blogged today about SNAP. I think it’s clear that SNAP means different things to all of us. While SNAP is not perfect, many good people do significant good, Take care. Peace.

  9. This was sad to read. I only know SNAP from a distance, but I have to say I think it’s one of the most honorable and admirable and zealous activist groups I’ve ever come across. In my mind, SNAP is almost singlehandedly responsible for putting clergy abuse on the front burner in our society. SNAP got the New York Times to take on the Vatican, for God’s sake.

    At the same time, Michael, I’ve been very moved by your Off My Knees blog. You’re a wonderful writer and a very effective advocate for abused children. So I just can’t imagine having to take sides between your efforts and SNAP’s.

    I think what happened was administrative disagreements, and maybe I would have had administrative disagreements too if I had been within the organization. I guess I can say that if I was told by someone, no, don’t write that letter or don’t send that petition or don’t protest at the Vatican Embassy, I suppose I’d be very put off by that, so I kind of get what you’re saying, Michael. I am very much hoping that you will continue the great work you’re doing and perhaps simply not need to work in conjunction with SNAP. Maybe your best work is work that is done alone or by your own inspiration. Some people aren’t group people. I’m one of them.

    I don’t care whether SNAP does things exactly as I think they should be done. I don’t care if they picket churches instead of embassies. I don’t care if their National Director is so incredibly articulate that of course he has to be featured repeatedly. In my mind, whatever they’re doing is working for them. And what I’m doing, writing letters to the editor, is working for me. And what you’re doing, writing your Off My Knees blog, is working big-time for you. God bless all of us who are fighting for children in our own well-thought-out ways. We don’t all have to be on the same page. It’s enough that we have the same goals and are trying out different ways of achieving them. There’s never going to be one uniform way of reaching people. To reach all the people, we need many different forms of expression, sometimes aggressive and in-your-face, sometimes moving and quietly meaningful, sometimes artful, sometimes angry. I myself thank every single person who takes up for the abused child no matter how they go about doing it.

    Michael, thank you for writing this very stirring column today. I had no idea that there were people who considered SNAP to be an RCC organization. That’s so far out of left field for me, but if there are such suspicions, thank you for airing them. SNAP will be a better organization because of it. I wish you great luck and success in all your endeavors.

  10. My only comment is that my wife and I were the ones who organized and promoted the event in front of the Irish embassy. I am sorry that this did not meet your criteria for being effective. During the 2 weeks that followed we did events in front of other embassies including several in front of the Vatican embassy.

  11. Thank you, Michael, for bringing intelligence and credibility to things so many survivors are saying. There are hundreds of voices of pedophile priest victims that are SILENCED by SNAP, no matter how much Bob Schwiderski and others insist it’s not true. Your experience, Michael, genuinely reflects the experience a lot of survivors have. Very few survivors are embraced by SNAP, any new ideas from grass roots are shot down. I’ve experienced it and watched it happen over and over for years. It takes people being willing to say out loud what their experience has been. Something is very wrong with an organization that throws people out of “support groups” and snuffs out anyone with original ideas.
    Thank you. i have been crying out for years, SNAP is not what they say they are. Whatever SNAP is doing, it is not a Network, it is not Support, and the end result of the work of SNAP is damage control, with people like you and I snuffed out and silenced.
    something is VERY WRONG there.
    Thank you thank you thank you, Michael, we need more survivors to show cojones and tell the truth about what they experience at the hands of these “healers.”

  12. A lot of people will defend SNAP pointing at all the good things they do. But look again. Look at how much of the stories did not come out. In every city, SNAP shows up to put a lid on the story, and funnel victims to attorneys who then say, don’t say a word. The end result is as little of the truth about these crimes has gotten out to the public as possible.
    Damage control, very professional and pre-planned all the way back to 1986, damage control.

  13. To me it all comes down to leadership style. A number of us have suggested for some years that SNAP’s senior leadership go ahead and spend the organizational money to take some workshops and to develop a leadership style which is collegial and above all NOT like that of the Church of Rome which they so often criticize.

    Unfortunately, these dedicated people who work their hearts and souls out for survivors (I really believe that) seem unable to take Step 1: Admitting that they have a problem.

    As a result, they have a great deal of difficulty in dealing effectively with that part of their constituency who, perhaps as a result of their experience of abuse by authority figures, mistrust authority figures.

    I’m sorry that they’ve made the decision not to listen to those of us who’ve tried to intervene, and to help.

    I will continue to support SNAP’s mission, to help out where I can, and to work beside (but not inside) SNAP for a common purpose.

    And I pray that SNAP leadership will find the motivation to grow where they need to grow and to explore alternative styles of leadership which may be more effective and less threatening to the survivor community.

  14. Why? What exactly is SNAP doing? You’re not really saying anything here. What is it? How do they show up and put a lid on a story? How have they interfered with you, Kay? I’m trying to believe you. Are you saying they aren’t interested in your ideas? How were you and Michael snuffed out and silenced? Your City of Angels has been excellent. Did they try to stop you from writing it? I like your blog and Michael’s blog. What does SNAP have to do with it? I’ve become a bit curious at this point.

  15. i found early on that snap and linkup and votf and ba were not for me.

    i was raised catholic but it didnt really take that well in me.. i did notice that most leaders of the groups were very catholic even though some claimed to have left..

    I had many of the same insights as Michael.. that was many years ago after i had been run over by the catholic support groups, the religious orders, attorneys on both sides and everyone in between.

    I must admit at this point that i did amazing things on my own just following the nudge of my higher power that made the good that the groups did happen.. In fact now i see if it was not for me and a few others on the outside working undercover.. nothing would have happened like what did and does… if it were left up to the groups, i doubt this would have gone global… and that organized criminal activity other than child molestation by priests would be coming to the surface because i learned that good brainwashed catholics appear to want to close the door on their abuse and not look at the truth of their religion and church and it’s global human rights violations and criminal activity

    I think the worst part of the groups is that they are deceived.. they are so catholic brainwashed that they fail to see that millions of people all over the world who are not catholic are part of exposing what happened..
    catholics appear to think they are all that exists on the planet and only their abuses count.. only their groups count only they count sorry but that is not what christ taught.
    I say this because of the billions of dollars in settlements received by catholic victims, attorneys on both sides, and other professionals, i have yet to hear of any who cared enough about their fellow victims (especially those who had their lives destroyed to help) put together a fund so that those who got nothing( and who were run down by attorneys and lawfirms and groups who had no trouble raping information and work out of the victims) could be compensated for their work and their help..

    I do thank those people though who are so arrogant as to ignore their fellow victims because this arrogance and cruelty of other victims and the big shots who helped them has shown me that i am blessed to be free of that false relgion and the competitive, delusional greedy people who are stuck in it…

    I think being on the outside gives one a much bigger perspective on things. It is a lonely place to be a whistleblower .. but it also can bring one closer to truth/light/christ…

    I have found loving generous people outside the catholic church.
    So i know for a fact that Christ lives outside the catholic church..

    I dont see that the groups have done much for native americans and canadian indian abuses and other indigenous abuses around the world by the catholic machine…

  16. I’m grateful that SNAP does what it does. I also believe that there is always room for others to voice their concerns and take action against pedophiles and their protectors.

    I’m grateful that SNAP exists. I frequently receive responses from SNAP leadership.

  17. The weirdest thing is watching SNAP stand in front of the press and say,”We give voice to victims” when you know as a victim from personal experience that behind the scenes they are doing everything they can to shut victims up.

    For evidence, well, look at what happened to City of Angels. It should have thrived and gone national. instead no one even found out it was there. SNAP made sure no one heard of City of Angels, or the activist writer in L.A.

    They told people “Don’t talk to that crazy lady in Hollywood.” They told L.A. survivors not to talk to me.

    That’s how SNAP supports survivors.

    They work behind the scenes to cut down victims who aren’t swallowing their line. What do you think happened to all the activists in L.A. And Boston? More survivors have left SNAP in frustration than stay in the “movement.”

    Dealing with this group who look you straight in the eye and say one thing while doing the opposite, it is just TOO MUCH like dealing with the Church.

    Greg, you are assuming SNAP wants to fix itself. When an organization makes the same mistakes over and over, no matter how many people point them out, such as throwing press events together so haphazardly few people can participate.

    Those last minute frenzied unorganized events SNAP runs in every city, you can’t do that over and over without it being your genuine MO.
    SNAP was set up to fail, or to do no more than it absolutely had to.

    Why wasn’t there an organized project planned months in advance when the pope visited in 2008? Instead SNAP did everything at the last minute, and was frenzied, disorganized, and ineffective. There’s no excuse, no explanation, except that being disorganized and messed up is their MO, to keep SNAP from really being successful, while making it appear they are “selfless survivors” doing all they can.

    One way they “keep a lid on the story” is beat down people like me and Michael who had a lot to contribute, but how long can you beat your head on a boarded up door expecting it to open.

    There is no one there behind the door. SNAP is one big press event.

    The reason so many survivors have quit and gone elsewhere is SNAP. The Church doesn’t intimidate us and vibe us so bad that we finally go away.
    SNAP does.

  18. Oh, let’s not forget, in New York on the Pope’ visit. One Boston activist worked on his own, no help at all from SNAP, and put together a very successful event in a bookstore on Manhattan during the Pope’s visit. Then the Boston activist watched as Barbara and David breezed in, took the microphone, and co-opted his event, turned it into another promotion for SNAP.

    Don’t ask them, if you ask too many questions you end up like Michael Baumann and me, on the outside, cut off, while the charade goes on and on.

    This after SNAP did nothing at all to help him organize the event, The Barbara and David Show came in and took over the event and prevented others from having time on the microphone, instead the audience were treated to a long speech about how “SNAP heals.”

    That survivor who organized that event has pretty much quit out of defeat since then.

    SNAP did the exact same thing 2006 Easter in Chicago. The message board people worked hard on their own, no help from B&B or SNAP, put together a vigil in Chicago. Then B&B showed up the same day doing sometihng else in a different location, using all their resources to take attention away from the project genuine grass roots organizers spent months presenting.

    And the message board got closed.

    You know it when you experience it. It’s like that Judge once said about pornography. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is SNAP does to beat down victims, but you know it when they are doing it and you are experiencing it.

    Little belittling comments whispered in your ear when you are about to embark on something. Telling me I’m too sick to run a project for SNAP?

    Throwing people physically out of “support groups” when they don’t go along with the EST developed mind control techniques they subject people to in those groups? The Group leader tells you to listen without showing or displaying emotion, which means it is not really a support group you are attending, not run “the way AA does it” as people are told.

    Keeping a blank stare while someone is saying something horrendous, that is a mind control technique developed in the 1970s by Werner Erhart for Erhart Seminars Training, EST.

    There is no support there, just blank listening.

    Just because someone puts out a press release saying they are doing something, does NOT mean they are doing it. Watching the press act like stenographers and just write down everything SNAP says, you see that SNAP was created to work perfectly with today’s corporate media. Just provide them a sound bite, and the reporters will go away.

    I have to say, dealing with this support organization while they do everything in a counter-intuitive way, watching people self destruct in SNAP- this has been the weirdest four years of my life. Right out of The Twilight Zone. I know survivors right now who are so beaten down and confused by the way this organization treated them that it caused more damage than they already had experienced.

    Oh and if you want more Twilight Zone fun, try contacting the Board of Directors of SNAP with your concerns. They respond like zombies too.

    How did SNAP know in 1986 that a network was even going to be needed? Who else knew in 1986 that thousands of survivors were going to come forward and the Church would need some kind of structure to keep the victims under control?

    Who created SNAP to begin with?

  19. I agree with most everything Michael wrote. SNAP is a wonderful organization but it appears the leaders feel threatened or think someone
    might upstage them. A successful organization must treat their members
    with respect and a true leader allows others to lead as well. There are
    many followers and they need leaders.
    I agree with Gloria can anyone stay with “the church” knowing what is going on…the built in guilt – being taught that the Catholic
    church is the only true church..which is NOT True! We worship and believe
    in our LordJesusChrist- we do NOT and should NOT worship a church. We
    who believe in Jesus our Savior of other denominations should worship
    together. WE need each other. No church is perfect…but we cannot serve two Masters.
    I enjoyed the SNAP conference in Chicago and I did see some of the
    faults among leadership but it only means we need to work together and learn from each other. Divided we fall.
    My heart goes out to anyone who was a victim and would fight to the
    end to protect them.
    With love in my heart and a willingness to help others.

  20. I put out the newsletter and website for the OTHER national support group, The Linkup back in the day. At that time, SNAP sometimes acted as spoilers for our events, but we tried to work with them. I always thought a “good-cop, bad-cop” strategy against the RCC was the way to go.

    However, I too, have noticed much of the same behavior over the years. Ideas that I put forward, like World Catholic Abuse Survivors Day, were put down, and then later stolen and used usually in a half-baked fashion for SNAP’s own greater glory. It is enough to make one wonder what the agenda really is.

    But what are survivors to do? SNAP’s the only game in town.

  21. Your experience is not my experience. That’s fine.

    The local bishop here openly & publicly disses SNAP, so it seems far out weird to hear SNAP’s really a Catholic organization.

    Just as there is NO One True Church, there need not be one survivor support group. Go, if you must, but make a better group for survivors that reflects your goals and experience.

  22. Hey, Mike, right on! And keep writing on. I was recently elected head of SNAP Los Angeles, the first elected SNAP leader that I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve been in the “movement” since the 1990s. I was told by Joelle Casteix and Barbara Dorris that I was “not leader of anything.” And would be “In big trouble.” I live in a democracy and I expect SNAP to be a democracy, not a dictatorship by the “committee for victims’ safety” i.e., SNAP.

    Why are people having the same awful experience with SNAP all over the country? Who are they working for? Themselves? Others unknown? Certainly not for victims I’ve had contact with.

    I went to jail for handcuffing myself to the Cardinal’s throne. I was told by Mary Grant that I had “deeply hurt victims” by doing that. For three solid hours I was told by Mary Grant.

    SNAP’s policy for the past eight years has been “to protect the children.” And SNAP vows to watch the hierarchy to make sure they are protecting the children. I’m not interested in watching the hierarchy anywhere other than in a court hearing or Congressional hearing.

    How about you, other victims, what do you want? Has SNAP ever asked you what you want? I’m interested in getting to the truth of the coverup. Ireland’s had hearings, Germany England and Canada has had hearings. Our government has yet to be forced to have hearings. And SNAP is one of the major reasons why.

    SNAP says it want to protect the children, then reporters go up the stairs and talk to the press secretary for the hierarchy and they say they do protect the children. Story over. And over and over and over.

    Who benefits from this political line? The victims? Not on your life. I and others have been dealing with this leadership for the past eight years in Los Angeles. And we are fed up. That’s why SNAP only got fifteen people to donate of the 660 settlements in L.A. in 2007.

    I say, follow the money. Ask the people who’ve been working with SNAP for eight years in Los Angeles. Never once have we had time to prepare for a news conference, we’re just asked to show up and give imprimatur with our presence.

    SNAP owes me. SNAP owes all of us. Our presence gave them credibility, that they’ve used to gather money and spend on themselves. Salaries of $80K a year, plus travel expenses.

    One year gave SNAP gave $200 directly to victims services out of a $900K annual budget. This is a sin. And should be a crime.

    It’s Fraud.

    Three people do not decide what Victims want. Yet SNAP behaves that way.

    I want elections, don’t you?

  23. PS: Have you guys ever heard of a “sweetheart union”? In the labor movement of the 20th Century, company owners would form a fake union that represented the owners, while appearing in public to represent labor.

    This is not the first time in history that a fake organization has formed to divert energy and attention from genuine activists.

  24. Nice blog Mike, first time I’ve seen it.

    I chose to not be a member of SNAP years ago, for some of the same reasons you mentioned and for some that you didn’t.

    I will resist the urge to use your blog a place to post my all of my own feelings about SNAP as cathartic as it might be.

    I will simply state that I am a survivor and that I do not view SNAP as being a force for any real change inside the church or out. I feel SNAP’s aim is to maintain the status quo, which is ultimately damage control, which is totally unacceptable.

    There are many things in my experience with SNAP that causes me to say this. But rather than going through the details of these experiences, let me take a quote from SNAP’s own website.

    From SNAP’s website…

    “SNAP’s healing model – that both survivors and the institution that hurt them must be healed – focuses on helping individuals and changing the church that allowed the abuse.”

    The first part of the above quote, “SNAP’s healing model – that both survivors and the institution that hurt them must be healed” …….I feel is symptomatic with what ails SNAP.

    **The institution that hurt us DOES NOT need to be healed. **

    It needs to cease and desist from all litigation aimed at hiding documents it has agreed to turn over to us. It needs to come totally and utterly clean and release ALL of it’s documents pertaining to child rape, and the sexual abuse of adults as well.

    The church needs to be proactive in assisting law enforcement in locating all living victims and providing them the counseling and assistance that they need.

    In short, the church does not need to heal, it needs to do the right thing, then and only then should it or anyone else be concerned with healing the church.

    That SNAP cannot grasp this simple truth…..after we have fought epic court battles with an underhanded dishonest clergy, speaks volumes, and in my opinion it speaks them in deafeningly loud voice.

  25. I apologize that I did not read all the comments before I posted. Having read them, I cannot remain silent.

    First, GBullough’s post sounds as reasonable and as logical as ever. I have had tremendous issues with some authority figures in my life, and yet, there have been some authority figures for whom I’ve had great respect as well. I guess it depended upon the authority figure as much as anything.

    But I have to say Kay’s comments are true. They simply are, there is no other way to put it.

    Anyone who has read her blog would have to confirm that there is absolutely no other source in ANY media that is more accurate, more detailed, or more first hand than her coverage of the LA clergy litigation.

    None. It simply does not exist.

    Kay was in the courtroom. Kay went document diving. The rest of the media was silent or simply repeated AP or UPI stories. Many times there were no reporters in the courtroom at all……except Kay.

    Kay, who is a trained journalist.

    So, why, didn’t this self described “network” of survivors link to her blog? Why? SNAP is a network……..right? They could have linked to her site with a simple disclaimer to avoid any litigation concerns they may have had.
    SNAP links to other sites. What gives here?

    Again, I have to ask, you should all have to ask, why would this self described network deny their readership/membership the coverage of this litigation that was critical to so many survivors!?


    Hello my old friend and yes, you did knock it out of the park.

  26. I’m going to start a letter writing campaign to Bishop Brom of San Diego for not releasing the documents in 2007. Please upstage me if you like>I’ll give you some time too?!

  27. I did not have time to read all of the comments, but will note to Bob Schwiderski of Minnesota that if “the real blood and guts of SNAP — Survivor Support Meetings” is TRUE — then SNAP could not have been a bigger failure than in the Metropolitan Detroit area.

    Pretty darn big demographic, population, and social center. Ain’t had one gall-darned locally run meeting here led by an actual survivor — to my knowledge.

    Stunningly, all three of the supposed “leaders” during the time frame when I was actively attending SNAP events in metro Detroit were not survivors.

    The metro SNAP Detroit mailing list was bloated with numerous active church contacts, and abusive non-survivors, not removed from the list when pointed out to list admin.

    Dave and Barb both were known to not call folk back, after saying they would in gut-wrenching phone calls of sobs and tears.

    The local sub-group in Oakland County was going to meet on Jesuit-owned property — yeah.

    Support groups the backbone? I guess our backbone has been broken here in Metro Detroit since SNAP was formed. They’ve had their chance here, my friend. Token Catholics, or Catholic apologists leading groups didn’t cut it. Support groups? Ain’t a one of them ladies or gents ever re-contacted me to see why I quit coming. Wouldn’t know if I was even alive or dead.

    Funny, my e-mail addresses and telephone numbers are the same.

    Also, Michael Baumann is 100% correct about both the technology and tactics issue. The site does have cob-webs. SNAP’s message has no permanent moral resonance in the US Media. SNAP has been far out-pointed by the Catholic League and the USCCB. What a freaking pity we have been set up for glorious justice and the empowerment to overcome HORRENDOUS INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL, only to lose to the CCRCC again. Makes you sorry you re-triggered all the memories to begin with — just to get whipped a little more.

    I figure if Dave or Barb actually gave a crap whether or not ol’ Kenny S rolled up his windows in his car, then duct-taped a hose to the exhaust and started the heap — they’ve had their chance to ask. I sent Barb and e-mail 07JUN10 expressing my “disgruntled” status with her trip to Rome. I’m still waiting for an answer, my friend.

  28. Kay: SNAP was created by survivors of abuse by priests. There is no question about that and absolutely no reason to suggest otherwise. Perhaps it would be helpful if you used your skills as a journalist to research the origins of SNAP. Even if you have a problem with the organization, questioning the truth of their beginnings is irresponsible and unneccesarily suspicious, especially when they are clear about how they started.

  29. I keep hearing “Change the Church”….How in God’s name can any HUMAN do that?

    There will be no change in the Roman Catholic Church and any one who thinks you can change millenium (s) of carefully thought out practices, laws etc., is barking up the wrong tree.

    It hasn’t changed any of the real things that matter, since it’s inception. Those things that CAN’T be changed, are concerning the Holy Bible. Pick and Choose is what the’ve done. IT’S ONE WAY OR THE OTHER , NOT BOTH. GOD CANNOT BE DIVIDED.

    They always talk of tradition. That’s good, as long as there is a backing up of that tradition, with the WORDS OF CHRIST.

    It’s a man made church and I do mean MAN.

  30. Paul, I’ll take part in that letter writing campaign. I believe you’re talking about the fake bankruptcy in San Diego?

    I’m still listening to the discussion here. Generally, I’m a bit alarmed at the possibility that SNAP isn’t what I thought it was, in terms of whether it is connected with the Catholic Church, which is just so dam hard to believe, but clearly a number of you think so. I’m still trying to hold on to the notion that all of the various groups are doing their best in their own ways to promote this movement to undo the child-abusing culture in the Catholic Church. I remember reading great stuff over several years from the Linkup. I have the highest respect for Kay and the City of Angels which has been consistently fascinating. Off My Knees has been and continues today to be very moving and thought-provoking. And there’s another guy out there in Pittsburgh, PA who’s doing a knock down, bang up job reporting there. GBullough had a great comment here about the difficulty with authority figures, etc.

    SNAP rose to the top, but it isn’t and never was a monopoly. There were going to be some people who could work with that group dynamic and some who could not. I’m not a group person so I never got involved in any group or organizing or team work and I’ve never been involved with any of the lawsuits which I can imagine were gruesome and draining and debilitating and frustrating. But I offer support to anyone and everyone in these efforts. For my own part, my family suffered great collateral damage from the Catholic Church. More recently, my cousin freakin killed herself over there in Maryland, left three children behind. And then her idiotic family buried her in the Catholic Church anyway. God, the things we have to put up with.

    I hope everyone will keep commenting here. I think everyone has much more to say. It is cathartic. If SNAP was bad to you, say it. Yes, they definitely should have linked to and promoted Kay’s blog. They should have worked with and not against the Linkup and Off My Knees and AZ and Gloria and so many others. God, I hope I’m not gonna hear that they interfered with Kathy Shaw and the Clergy Abuse Tracker or with BishopAccountability. I still want to say though that they did and are doing fantastic work and bringing in the New York Times to take on the Vatican was the big game changer in my view. But … if they are members of the Catholic Church, or if anyone supporting survivors is representing the Catholic Church, then there’s just something too weird and freaky about that for me. VOTF, I guess they’re cool, but I really don’t think there’s any chance for change from within or any hope that the laity can exert any influence whatsoever over this church.

    Mike has created a great sounding board here. Another one of his many contributions. Much appreciated, Mike.

  31. Kay E,
    SNAP was founded by clergy abuse survivors. This is very clear and always has been. It is irresponsible (and a bit paranoid) to suggest there is something mysterious or sinister related to the creation of SNAP. Given that you consider yourself a journalist, perhaps you could do some research on the origins of the organization about which you are writing?

  32. Sally, Kay does not “consider herself a journalist,” she IS a journalist, and a damn good one. She is very clear on her blog when she has hard evidence and when she is stating her opinion. I do not always agree with her opinion, or anybody else’s, because I refuse to engage in groupthink, but I have tremendous respect for her investigations into abusive clergy and the coverup, and even more, for her transparency.

    The transparency issue is a real concern with SNAP. Operating behind closed doors is a big factor in creating the abuse crisis. Resolving it requires a different way of doing business.

    I agree with those whose concern is not in changing the Catholic church, but in bringing these criminals to justice.

    Jim, if what you said is true- and since I don’t know you, I can’t say if I believe it- about leaders saying”you’ll be in trouble,” that is extremely chilling. A vicar general said the exact same words to me, trying to get me to quit asking questions about an abusive priest with HIV.

    What’s needed is truth, transparency and, yes, a democratic organization that more closely resembles the US government than the RCC institutional model.

  33. A very wise person (one of my first managers in my professional life) used to tell me, over and over again “perception is reality.”

    In other words, it doesn’t really matter whether it is true or not that SNAP is an arm of the Church of Rome (and I’ll stand up and say clearly— as
    far as I’m concerned, it isn’t).

    That certain smart, erudite, active, effective people PERCEIVE it that way indicates that there is a problem. Kay, AZ, and a number of the other folks here, I am privileged to have known as correspondents and fellow travelers on this “adventure.” They’re no “lightweights.” Their perceptions matter.

    It saddens me that SNAP’s leadership seems to dismiss them as “difficult” or as “crackpots.”

    One of the things I like least in my advocacy activities is finding myself between people I know, care for, and respect, and SNAP, whom I know, care for, and respect.

    I refuse to choose between the two.

  34. Well, it’s a tough discussion, but it’s one we need to have, and I thank you for providing the forum, Michael.

  35. It’s becoming real clear here that SNAP mishandled survivors.

    SNAP appears to operate in a manner similar to the Catholic Church, which is to say rather viciously.

    Jim Robertson, I didn’t know your name, but I remember the thrill of reading about you handcuffing yourself to the throne. It’s that kind of bravery that kept me in this battle. And I guess that kind of bravery is not promoted or even allowed by SNAP. What a revelation.

    It’s sounds like the brave people are going to have to form a counterpart to SNAP. Kenny S’s memories were re-triggered for a reason. And everyone else’s too.

  36. One more image I want to share. Last Easter week, Jim Robertson, who is not the healthiest guy, was on his own, holding a vigil in front of the L.A. Cathedral. He contacted the few activists still around in L.A. and we were all going to join him throughout the week when we could.

    He started it on his own, the vigil was growing into something.

    Then SNAP showed up.

    Virtually on top of Jim, with no recognition of his being there, up shows the SNAP Show, holding a “press event” with their gaggle of TV News cameras and spokesmodels.

    Practically standing on top of Jim, SNAP held their press conference, then SNAP was off as always, not to be heard from again.

    Only response Jim got as he sat there in the middle of it all vigiling was someone from SNAP hollering at him for daring to consider himself leader of SNAP L.A. when they have this woman from South Orange County who drives up to run their press events here.

    It’s all a sham, a horrible picture, a nasty experience for those of us on the ground. And worst part of it is all the survivors who know this, and still file into SNAP events and shower praise when SNAP comes to town again.

    They are the only survivor group because they make sure they are the only survivor group. Anyone who starts something on their own can count on the SNAP Show to arrive in the middle and steer the gaggle of reporters elsewhere.

    I watched them hold press events based on news stories that I BROKE in City of Angels, and SNAP did not mention City of Angels instead linked reporters to OC Weekly who repeated my story.

    It is better as a survivor to look at SNAP and laugh, otherwise it hurts too much.

    And I HAVE researched the origins of SNAP. That is why I came to the conclusion they are part of the church. Not at a survivor membership level, I’m talking about the 2-3 people at the top.

    Look at the backgrounds of Blaine and Clohessy. They have plenty of ties to the Catholic Church, as professionals.

    I wrote all I want to write about it at City of Angels 2, Feb 2010 to April or so. Read it there.

  37. Dear SarahTX2: SNAP is NOT affiliated with the Catholic church! While a couple of people here may believe it is, you can ask tens of thousands of other SNAP members who will assure you it is not. There is no evidence to support this theory. While I certainly understand that some have criticisms of SNAP (and I share some of them), coming to the conclusion that SNAP is related to the church is just ridiculous and irresponsible, in my view.

  38. Dear SarahTX2, And, I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. My heart goes out to you and your family. Godspeed.

  39. From my very first phone call, I was not happy with SNAP. I got passed from the bottom up. Each time they kept pushing me for public statements.

    I was looking for support and I didn’t want to release the names of my clergy abusers, but I was pushed real hard to consider some type of campaign against the priests/local church. I stuck my ground and because of that I feel I got no further support. All of the calls would pretty much ended there. I felt like they wanted to use me to further their “political agenda” and they really didn’t care about how I felt and the reasons for my call in the first place. I was looking for collegial support; not to be the next victim in a press release (literally and figuratively).

    I did end up on a mailing list and was disgusted to receive an appeal to pay for them to go to Rome to stand in an audience. They tried to bill it as working with other survivors, but what did they do while they were there?! I haven’t seen any reports to the donors for the sake of transparency or accountability.

    They call themselves a support group; however, it appears to be nothing more than a bunch of ego-filled press releases just to see their names in print. If I want to see the headlines, I’ll go over to the Bishop Accountability Abuse Tracker. At least Shaw doesn’t feel the need to pepper each story with her own two cents…and as a reporting site, I would be OK with seeing it out of her long before SNAP.

    It seems to me that a support group oriented organization would work hard to put effort and resources (hours and dollars) into developing a support network system.

    They won’t open the survivor discussion board. This only further separates survivors since the face-to-face meetings are lacking, and when you do attend one, it is a coffee clutch griping about current events. Sadly, there is someone on the discussion board I have been wanting to reach out to. He is also looking for information on one of my abusers. If there is a positive out of that, I was relieved to see I was not alone, yet I can’t share in mutual healing.

    SNAP is nothing more than a funny farm that keeps fertilizing egos with each piece of manure [press release] they issue.

  40. I agree with Micheal Baumann ! It has been my expierence as well . When I deviated from the adgenda of Snap I was left in the cold. I saw No Networking really but a few token invitations and a few phone calls upon close timing of my settelment only to be approached for money . When I reapeatedly asked to be connected as I was so isolated the ones whom reached out were not really sent by SNAP . I did however have a 2 invitations by Mary Grant to a meeting . Aside from that Nothing over the years of my anguish . Fortunately some Other outside Snap survivors reached out to me an allowed me to re-connect. No matter how many times I contacted SNAP I still was left Alone . So what the hell are they talking about NETWORKING my arse. I have done more in the media main stream without them then with them I made my own phone calls and arrangements an if it werent for my own strength to reach out over an over again an people like Paul Livingston an his brother Joe bothering to call an check up on me as well as Kay Ebling I would of surely hit the ground 6 ft under. Thanks to Kay an Paul taking the time to call me I am thriving and living my life more whole today . The rejection and further isolation SNAP propeturated was a tradgedy within itself. We need to bond and Band together as a Real Network an do not derseve to be mislead anymore as I feel Snap often does … AS Far as I am concerned I will always side with my Gut Feeling and my Gut tells me SNAP is up to no good . If they were true blue then Y is it they always shut people down whom are go getters for the cause? HUMMM Someting Fishy there no doubt . I never felt support form them at all even Judy Jones told me not to have my dogs during a interview in Charleston wv with the media … ! My dogs give me the ability to function as I have severe PTSD from my childhood rape by Rucker I was a tiny little girl and the aftermath is crippling at times how is it Judy could not understand the importance of making the use of my dogs to heal part of the interview I will never know. She too is limited in her ability to be free from Brain Washing
    Cynthia Falter

  41. There is evidence of a relationship between SNAP and the church. There is the testimony of people like Kay and John.

    There are documents like this one.

    I have been told by people I respect that this document is meaningless. I respectfully disagree. This document makes a couple of things crystal clear.

    One, it certifies that SNAP is a project of the 8th Day Center for Justice.

    Two, it states that the 8th day center is an institution of the Catholic Church, and gives verification of this.

    Whatever this document ultimately means, one thing is clear. SNAP is much closer to the institution that has fought against survivors than I could ever be comfortable with. And it is evidence. What it is evidence of..exactly, is up for debate at this point but it is definitely evidence.

    There are items in the form 990s that have been found without any help from SNAP that I consider alarming as well. Here are just a few but by no means not all.

    This is a partial list of expenses, filed by SNAP in 2004.

    Some things that jumped off the page at me are….

    Internet Fees $4727.68

    Computer software $11,468.

    Website expenses $17,003.40

    Gratuities $2373.47

    Ouch. This means bell hops, waiters and cab drivers may have received tips far in excess than assistance that was distributed to survivors, according to these returns.

    I have asked SNAP leadership about these expenses several times, to no avail.

    Again, I repeat, I am calling this evidence. It does not constitute proof of any wrong, but it does raise questions.

    I do not ask that anyone accept my opinion as their own. Nor do I say that those who believe that what this constitutes is really normal for an operation like SNAP, are wrong for having a different point of view than I do.

    This should not divide the survivor community.

    But those of us who do feel that is evidence of something more serious are not going have our minds changed by charges of paranoia or irresponsibility. That has been going on for years, and personally I’m used to it.

    Still, it’s time that we all had respect for the right of all survivors to have reasonable concerns about the organization that claims to represent us. I say again that this should not be a stumbling block, it should not separate the survivor community.

    I posted these documents ( and there a many more on Kay’s site, thank you Kay ) because when some people say that there is no evidence and that our suspicions are based on what it is inferred to be some type of mental instability, I feel we need to respond to that.

    I hope that I have done so respectfully and without malice. I do not wish to engage in the cycle of insults and I refuse to do that. Doing so in the past served no purpose whatsoever and was a tremendous mistake on my part when I did it myself. I apologize for that. It took me 50 years but I’m finally moving beyond that.

    Thanks again Michael for giving us an opportunity for us to communicate.

    1. I don’t see a smoking gun here. The letter can be explained and should be. I recommend that you ask SNAP for clarification.

      As for the charges, they don’t seem out of line with expenses for a non-profit with a $1Million or less operating budget.

      I think we should be focused on reestablishing a network and focusing on our real adversary in the dioceses around the country.

  42. Dear AZ,
    I asked only that Kay research the ORIGINS of SNAP, given that she wrote the following: “How did SNAP know in 1986 that a network was even going to be needed? Who else knew in 1986 that thousands of survivors were going to come forward and the Church would need some kind of structure to keep the victims under control? Who created SNAP to begin with?” If she knows all about the organization, she would not question how, why and by whom it was created. The answers are not a mystery. Thank you.

  43. AZ, After responding to you, I just saw Kay’s recent post saying that she has researched the origins of SNAP and after doing so, concluded that the top 2-3 people are a part of the church. Her conclusion is incorrect.

  44. Kay, I hear you and I stand for the brave people. Jim Robertson and all. I am forever indebted to him. And you.

  45. I’m not scared of SNAP or any of those. I was never a member, though I don’t remember why. But I am down for the brave people who fight the priest predators. A bad thing for Americans of any persuasion.

  46. SNAP showed themselves to be nothing more than a fraudulent support group When they turned their backs on survivors in Michigan and supported and promoted Bishop Thomas Gumbleton into their ranks. Gumbleton was Vicar General for 38 yrs with the Archdiocese of Detroit and personally handled some of the reported cases of sexual child abuse.

    In fact, Gumbleton was named as a co-defendent in some civil cases involving the mishandling and secretcy of reported sexual abuse , allowing the pediphile priest to be moved to other parishes, different Dioceses and even different states.

    This is acase that named Gumbleton as a defentent in a sexuakl abuse case against the church and Jason Sigler. Please notice the 12th person named as a defendent, just above Jason Sigler’s name, and look at Gumbleton’s name. the case was dismissed by the Court Of Appeals on the grounds of expired Statute of Limitations. Here it is in the Court Of Appeals records.

    The evidence used to name Gumblrton as a defendent was a letter found in Jason Sigler’s personnel file that contained a Latin term which transulated to “messing around with boys”. This letter followed Sigler while He was transfered, loaned out to other Diocesed, and transfered to the Paraclete Center and finally transfered out of state to the ArchDiocese of Santa Fe where He was arrested and convicted of several charges of child abuse in New Mexico. Sigler was later charged in Michigan on several more child abuse charges, while He was still in prison in New Mexico, because the Statute Of Limitations stopped running on the criminal charges the day Jason Sigler left the state. Jason Sigler was turned over to Michigan authorities to start serving his Michigan sentence after He finished his sentence in New Mexico. Jason Silger is scheduled to be released 12/03/2011 in Michigan unless He gets paroled earlier.

    Here is a photo of Gumbleton’s buddy Jason Sigler.

    Here is another civil case that provided enough evidence to keep Gumbleton named as a defendent because evidence was provided that He had prior knowledge that Jason Sigler was sexually abusing boys

    Please note that these are all Court Of Appeals Discisions and the Court Of Appeals can’t make a discision on any case unless there was a decision already made by a state judge and that the evidence that was presented before him was sufficient for him to make his judgement and keep all names as defendents based on evidence that they actually were connected to the case.

    Also please note that these cases were filed and decided under expired Statute Of Limitations (Timely Filed)

    And YES SNAP was aware of these cases because we were only notified of all press conferences and court appointments through very short or last minute notifications through mass e-mails from the SNAP e-mail list or phone calls from SNAP leaders.

    If you want to get off of $NAP’s e-mailing list, just start questioning Barbara and David about why they are not holding Gumbleton accountable for his crimes against children and watch them drop you like a hot potato, you will also get removed from the “asking for money list” too!

  47. Michael Baumann, thank you for your blog and your comments on SNAP. It is so good to see so many friends posting again.


  48. Call me irresponsible. If anyone has a better explanation for why SNAP treats survivors, as revealed n these comments- and there are many more incidents like these- Let’s hear the answer.

    Funniest thing is the silence from SNAP when people come forward like this. They never respond or explain criticism, just act like it never happened.

    That’s how it always is, you never get an answer. You are left using the same terminology to describe your experience with SNAP as for dealing with the church. The end result is the same.

    Today the bishops are as powerful as they were ten years ago in the USA. No one has gone to jail but a couple priests. America is tired of hearing the story.

    I think that’s exactly what the bishops wanted in 1986 when they created SNAP. That’s what I think. Damage was controlled and nothing much changed inside the hierarchy.

    Survivors get filtered to lawyers, then the story remains secret, anyone who tries on their own to go public finds themselves buried under a SNAP press event that goes nowhere.

    And I’m working on Anger Management these days.

  49. Hey Mike, I see you censored all the comments that did not agree with you and in so doing also removed the agree/disagree activity.

    How can you possibly claim to be “open and transparent” when you eliminate desenting comments and saturate the comment section with confused understandings?

    1. MN- SNAP Bob: I deleted the MN-SNAP meeting schedule comments that you have sent to me repeatedly. It seems you are not getting the hint that I am not promoting your meetings through my blog. If you would like to send a link to your group I will put it on the links section.

      You have no idea what I have recieved in comments so you are making assumptions on “censoring”. I have deleted comments that are personal attacks on individuals (from both sides of the discussion), have nothing to do with the topic (prop 8, medical experiments, abortion, Obamacare, little green men from the upper midwest…) or promoting meetings (such as yours), products, conferences, books or trips to planets in the outer solar system. I did edit a sentence out of your last comment. But that is my choice.

      You are grasping at straws to start a fight, I am not playing.

  50. With all due respect, Sally, you haven’t had time between your first comment and second to read everything at city of angels 2 about SNAP.

  51. SallyMurphy posted:

    “AZ, After responding to you, I just saw Kay’s recent post saying that she has researched the origins of SNAP and after doing so, concluded that the top 2-3 people are a part of the church. Her conclusion is incorrect.”

    In my opinion Kay’s article and resulting conclusion is dead on the money, so we will just have to agree to disagree about that.

  52. I *have* read all of what Kay has to say about SNAP on her blog.

    That includes what is purported to be a “smoking gun” memo that purports to prove that SNAP was an institution of the Church. It doesn’t. What it does show is that at one very early on, probably before it had its tax-exempt status, SNAP may have operated under the funancial auspices of a foundation operated by a religious order in order to allow them to raise tax-dedcutible funds.

    That is also very likely at a time when SNAP leaders were more naive about the possiblity of cooperation with the Church.

    Weren’t we all? After all, my activism began when I asked the pastor of my former parish to take the name of his predecessor who was well-established to have abused girls, down from its place of honor on the parish center. Imagine my surprise when his response was a bald-faced lie! Imagine my surprise when the Bishop of Oakland and his (female) chancellor (inventor of the ‘No More Secrets’ PR campaign) dragged their collective feet in doing the right thing! Imagine my surprise when the “Msgr. Vincent I Breen Knights of Columbus 4th-Degree Assembly” refused to simply change their name and stop honoring the predator! Imagine my surprise at, when we didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and said our next step was the media, being accused of being “confrontational!”

    Since then we’ve learned a lot.

    While I respect Kay and her work, as regards SNAP it is not “journalism” but rather “activism.” Both honorable choices but very distinct choices as well.

    Kay clearly set out to find the facts in support of the conclusion that SNAP had a sinister connection with the Church of Rome. The concludes that she has done so.

    However, she has not done so in a manner that is convincing at least to this reader.

    The important question, however, is this: “What has SNAP done to make certain individuals so angry that they would seek to connect SNAP with the Roman Catholic Church?”

    It is not, as our friend from Minnesota seems to suggest above, simply that those who are this angry are dishnonest, or deranged, or disloyal to the community of survivors.

    While I do not agree with Kay’s and AZ’s conclusions, I do agree that they have been given more than adequate cause to have difficulty trusting SNAP’s leadership team.

  53. First of all, I’d like to say HI to AZ, Judi, Tina, Kenny S and Kay. Good to see you guys alive on another site.

    I also notice that my first comment is still waiting approval? Why am I still waiting approval?

    Those on here that know me, know that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to SNAP silencing those who know the truth of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and his role in covering up and moving known pediphiles. I was present at the court hearings. The links added show proof that evidence does exist that links Gumbleton to taking part in crimes against children in Michigan, and if SNAP protects Gumbleton from being held responsible for his crimesagainst children, then SNAP’s leadership is also guilty of crimes against children

    As for how poor SNAP’s support groups go, There have been and are some SNAP leaders who are still with the church, not victims, or don’t live in the area they are supposed to be leaders of. In Fact some SNAP leaders live in entirely different states then the group they are listed as leading. To me that is all fraudulent behavior and should not be allowed in any survivor’s support group!

    1. You were waiting for approval because I was in Natural Bridge, Virginia for the weekend and I left my laptop at the house. Doing the best I can!

      I have been told this is a 24 hour newscycle we are in. I just don’t want to be a slave to the clock or the laptop.

  54. “Kay clearly set out to find the facts in support of the conclusion that SNAP had a sinister connection with the Church of Rome. The concludes that she has done so”.- GBullough

    I’m having some issues with your post, Greg.

    Perhaps I’m not reading your comment correctly, but it sort of sounds as though you may be saying that Kay set out to find facts that support a conclusion (that SNAP and the RCC have a sinister connection) that perhaps she didn’t even necessarily believe to be true. She just piled things on without regard to how they actually related to the story.

    The story is entitled “The Whole SNAP Story, from City of Angels perspective… All based on true experience”

    I would emphasize the part that says from City of Angels perspective. That’s quite a qualifier.

    Her SNAP story, from her perspective, is based on her actual experiences.

    I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea, especially from someone who is emphasizing their familiarity with her blog .

    I’m not trying to nit pik here, but Kay has come in for a lot unwarranted criticism and a lot of insults as well since she wrote about her experiences with SNAP.

    So with this in mind I really do feel that I need to point out that she did not simply decide one day that SNAP was an anti-survivor arm of the church, and then go on a fact cherry picking spree in order to support this notion.

    I know you didn’t mean that or anything else negative, so please don’t get me wrong, but I feel the way your comment is worded that that’s what one may incorrectly infer.

    As to the 8th Day Center for Justice stationary that you say in effect that Kay is purporting this doc to be a “smoking gun”.

    This is from Kay’s blog, directly above the document. The caption states in capitol letters…… NOT a SMOKING GUN.

    Again, not to nit-pik, but I have to point this out. That is an important detail. Kay is not purporting this document to be a smoking gun.

    It is not strange or paranoid that some of us would like to know why a document exists that clearly states that SNAP is a project of the RCC. Perhaps there is a perfectly logical and reasonable explanation. That’s fine, I would love to hear it.

    All Kay said about it in her story was this…

    ” Some of my friends are saying this is a smoking gun.

    ///I don’t think it is, but other friends are saying, yes, do post it, because it answers a lot of questions I’ve had in my mind.

    SNAP incorporating paper, click to enlarge, they were set up in 1993 as “an institution of the Catholic Church”\\\

    Nor am I calling it a smoking gun, although when I first saw I did say something to that effect, but I am saying that it naturally raises serious questions that deserve to be answered..

    I also feel this needs to be clarified.

    “What has SNAP done to make certain individuals so angry that they would seek to connect SNAP with the Roman Catholic Church?”

    The answer to this one is so easy that I am kind of baffled why you would need to ask. First off, it’s not all anger anymore. That phase passed long ago, at least for me. Now, it’s curiosity, a need to know the truth and a need for justice.

    “The Whole SNAP Story, from City of Angels perspective… All based on true experience” details it well. Email me or one of any number of people who suspect that SNAP may indeed have a sinister connection with the church.

    Speaking for myself, I’ve never sought to connect SNAP with the RCC, rather I begin to suspect a connection after observing a culmination of SNAP “mishandling” one situation after another over the course of several years. My suspicions about SNAP have evolved over time. Many have similar experiences and suspicions. I didn’t jump to a conclusion.

    Kay can speak for herself here, but I do know her and I believe that she too went through a period of evolution where she went from trust to suspicion, that she too could not understand why SNAP conducted itself the way it has and began to seek answers.

    SNAP really should explain some things. A lot of things actually. We have raped by Catholic clergy. SNAP claims to exist for our benefit, on our behalf. SNAP claims to speak for thousands of us, some say tens of thousands. That’s a big deal. Such being the case, SNAP should have some dialogue with us and should even be accountable to us if they wish to claim to represent us.

    But SNAP simply continues to ignore those who question it, and remain silent through it all.

  55. Michael,

    Just FYI, The SNAP leaders have been asked several times for an explanation of the 8th day document, by several people. No one has ever received any reply.

    I totally agree that a network needs to be re-established and that it should be the main focus. I would like to be assistance in that endeavor as soon as I can. Unfortunately I’ve been getting my behind kicked in by neuropathy and I have got waaay behind in my work and education.

    However, although I was loath to do so, I agreed to an increase in pain medication which will start in a week. Once out of pain, I expect to regain lost ground quickly, or at least as quickly as I can.

    My posts are always too long. And I use lots of spaces to separate ideas. Being a ninth grade dropout I lack formal English writing skills. Sorry about that.

    Such being the case I may accidentally give the impression that changing SNAP or getting answers to my questions about them are somehow a priority in my life. I assure you, NFW is that the case. I really don’t care what SNAP does, I quit caring long ago.

    But a real network for survivors…now THAT would be fantastic. We’ve lacked it for a long while and it’s way overdue.

    I just want to say a few words about message boards. When SNAP booted several of us out a few boards sprang up to take their place.

    I don’t want to offend anyone, but IMHO these boards were a disaster. They disintegrated from within. They all started out well I think and with good intentions, but down they all went and I certainly bear responsibility for not doing a better job.

    One of them was one I started. I did a poor job as moderator and there were all kinds of other problems as well.

    I say this because a network may well be a message board.

    This is some of what I encountered……People who re-register using more than one name. People who are abusive, people posting private information, people who seem to generally want the board to descend into chaos.

    To be public, where all are welcome, or to require a password and try to be private. Lawyers from the clergy will peruse the site. Clergy will post on the site. People will post things that are purposefully triggering to others. How much obscenity to allow, how much smack talk to allow people to use on the moderators…..

    On and on and on. All this occurred on my board. I gave up after a while. Being a mod is major headache. On a survivor board that headache is exponentially worse. We’re mostly childhood rape victims, we have issues. Some have been working on their issues, some haven’t started yet. Not being judgmental, just factual. And it effects a message board.

    Yet, if we want a network…..some kind of message exchange is needed. I just wanted to alert you to the potential pitfalls. You may want to start considering who will use for mods, if in fact you go this route. They will need to be level headed and thick skinned. No offense to anyone, but I think that for most survivors this is a very tall order. It may be best to bring in non survivors as mods.

    I’m just throwing stuff out there, it’s your site and it’s a nice one too. I am not trying to tell you how to run it, not at all. And I am not campaigning for a mod spot, trust me, I don’t want it.

    I do very much want to see survivors have an effective network, with people who know how to handle the problems that networks face, especially one of this nature.

    An effective network for survivors will not be something that makes the church happy. The history of the RCC is to infiltrate those who oppose them and let them destruct from within, with a little help here and there.

    I was in litigation with the RCC for 7 years. They play rough and if this network is effective, it… my opinion, it needs to be prepared for this.

    If what SNAP does costs a million dollars a year, then an effective network will also need some kind of support as well.

    I hope that you can do it, I really do. If I can help in any way I will glad to.

  56. And I thnk this is where Ironman and Az meet in the middle, on some common ground after struggling for months and years to do so.

    My question about “what has SNAP done…” to anger people was, of
    course, a hypothetical one to which I know the answers but feel like
    the SNAP leadership hasn’t sincerely asked itself.

    But where the three of us agree is squarely on the question of accountabliity.

    Mike, as the guys mentioned, the questions have been asked.

    First quietly, then more directly, then more and more stridently.

    The response has always been the same…silence.

    Now perhaps the SNAP leaders resent the questions. And so choose
    “not to dignify” the questions with answers. Well, that’s a choice.

    In a world where your constituency has trust issues, that’s a dumb

    In a world where the opposition has used secrecy as one of its hallmarks,
    that’s a dumb choice.

    And so the circle goes on. And the next question is “so what does SNAP
    have to hide?” Which of course is not dignified with a response.

    And then comes the conclusion: SNAP has something to hide and is hiding

    Pretty soon, the imagined or speculated reality is likely to be worse than the real reality.

    I’m not saying that it’s the correct conclusion. I think it might not be.

    But I am saying that, considering the mileau in which SNAP operates,
    it is the inevitable one.

  57. Hello Ironman.

    Yeah. Ironman kept my e-mail address all these years — simple. Wrote me every once and then, asking how’s I doing. Thanks, Buddy.

    Now, about them expenses:

    I used to research numerous non-profits and charitables on web data-bases [such as Guidestar]. When reading 990’s and similar documents, certain items do stand out.

    Salaries, for one. Hoo-boy, didn’t know it was employment opportunity helping latent-reporting rape victims.

    Factor in numerous trips to Europe, and other pleasantries, I’m flabbergasted… if I can spell that.

    As former medic, I guess I’m a bit Hippocratic in my approach to helping others: “First, do no harm.”

    Now, taking salaries-n- plane tickets-n-such before directly aiding victims seems harmful to the collective psyche of many a still-injured survivor’s gray-area. It’s a no-brainer, really, to not make it a heavy-brainer or a downer on victims. We’ve all suffered horribly, get some are getting money and more command of the situation, exposure, support, and collective praise than the others. The money and trips to Europe are the extra insults in that equation, that change it from “underwhelming” to “unbearable” from the outside looking in [to the wonderfully-accorded ‘core’ group of SNAP].

    Unbearable, untenable… you pick the $20 modifier. I’ll raise you a couple or three trips to Europe, and then maybe everybody should show their cards.

    I don’t have the financial resources to cross the Ohio Turnpike and visit my family. Some people just take better trips than others, maybe. I went to the dentist last week, does that count? Oh yeah, no insurance. Forgot to pass “GO” on the way, so there was no $200. Maybe I can land on FREE PARKING and get the scrap cash from the CHANCE & COMMUNITY CHEST stacks. Yeah. There are some metaphors in this post, and they’re all apt.
    There is some oxymoron, too. [I hate oxymoron.] SNAP and concerted, continuous, compassionate, caring representation and support of ALL survivor/victims BEFORE SELF-INTEREST AND SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT is [futilely] one such oxymoron.

    Ceding the peach crate.

  58. I do not have a problem with the trips to Europe or the salaries- I think they are reasonable. What I do have a problem with is the issue Greg stated: no one answers when people question something. I asked for months why the message board was not being opened up and used any more, and finally gave up. Those are Catholic hierarchy-type tactics, and of course survivors will- and should- get suspicious of anybody who uses such tactics.

    I do not believe SNAP is conspiring with the Catholic hierarchy, but I do think the leaders are so deeply entrenched in that church that they use similar methods without thinking, and are unable or unwilling to respond to polite questioning, so people get fed up.

    I think Kay’s reporting on the abuse and cover-up should have been incorporated into the SNAP board, and all of our blogs linked.

  59. Greg, it’s nice seeing you posting on here too.


    I beleive one of the issues with closing down the board was to silence those of us who knew about Bishop Gumbleton’s criminal past and were refusing to stay silent, SNAP knew of it too, before they ever brought him on board and took him to Columbus Ohio. I know SNAP knew because I knew from SNAP on a last minute phone call to meet in downtown Detroit on a cold winter’s day for a press conference annoucing the filing of the Antos’ civil suit which named Bishop Thomas Gumbleton as a co-defendent and contained enough proof to dismiss Gumbleton’s attorney’s motion to have his name removed because there was more than enough evidence linking Gumbleton to the cover-up and transferring of serial child rapist Jason Sigler. SNAP also let me know late-night before so I could attend the hearing in person. SNAP also had full knowledge of of Gumbleton and the church appealing the civil cases entirely on expired SOLs (Timely Filed)

    That along with some very questionable actions by it’s moderator, including threatening members with phone calls and personal e-mails that also included some of the members private information being sent to other members. SNAP leadership was also notified of their moderators behavior and again nothing was done, except the moderator announcing she was leaving the job and that they had to close the board because they had no moderator, but when a certain member’s daughter was visiting her mother and logged into SNAP from her mother’s computer a “WARNING ALERT” was posted on the SNAP board frauduently accusing the mother of having more than one screen name because the IPs matched. How could anyone see anyone else’s IP numbers if they could only be seen by someone with the moderator controls on a board that claimed to have no moderator?

  60. As I recall the history, first the moderator quit (claiming she couldn’t take the angst any more)suddenly. In my opinion after administering self-inflected wounds to her own credibility.

    The moderator’s “boss” (Phil Saviano) took over moderation duties, then himself stepped down.

    The irony of this was that these were the exact scenarios that those of us who had urged community moderation used as justification for our position. That it was too much, too stressful, for one person. That the credibility of one person or two people wasn’t as strong as that of a group. And further that the judgement of a group was collectively better than that of one or two. And finally, that the board was too valuable a resource for it to depend upon the ability and willingness of one or two people to perform the moderation duties.

    These ideas not only fell on deaf ears, they elicited demands that all discussion of the BBS’s future be silenced, or the moderators would silence those who would not keep silent.

    So we now have a shell of a BBS, one that has not been viable for several years. SNAP is the only organization with the depth of resources to operate and, if necessary, defend such a forum. A good deal of our “collective knowledge” about various offenders and institutions came from that resource. In many ways, it is the “oral history” of the survivor community.

    As to the case ironman related above, it does not surprise me. Although it was not the case in which I was involved, by the time that came about, the moderator(s) had developed a “don’t bother me with the facts” attitude symptomatic of self-inflicted “burn-out.”

    While I am sympathetic to the personal costs to the moderators, I believe that the damage was a product of hubris. I also contend that they were woefully negligent and derelict in their responsibility to all of those who contributed to the resource. Those people were, at the bottom of it, fellow survivors and advocates.

    I don’t absolve all others— the SNAP executive staff own this as well.

    And the fact is that there were individuals who were unable to put the survival of the resource ahead of their own need to press their cases against the owning organization. That said, effective moderation should have been applied to ensure that those disruptions could not prevail.

  61. If you call a church secretary and her friend from the church leading SNAP meetings at a church owned building and asking to collect all documents that obtain to your personal abuse so that they could “supposedly” keep them on file for new comers, but once you turned over documents they were most likely never seen again, as being the blood and guts of SNAP? Then I would have to agree that SNAP is pretty much gutless!

  62. Greg, It basically started with the moderator doing behind the scenes activities involving phone calls, e-mails, giving out personal, private, and false info about other survivors, and banning those with an opposing veiw, . Then it ended up erupting on the board with the mods not being able to deal with the monster that they created.

    SNAP leadership still refused to respond and the Mods claimed to both bail, but some posts were still getting deleted and the WARNING Thread about IP’s shared by a mother and her daughter when visiting still happened after the board was shut down claiming there was no moderator. It didn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out someone had their hand in the cookie jar.

    BTW, 3 yrs later, those survivors who were attacked, falsely accused, and threatened by the SNAP moderator are still waiting to get the threatened “promised” phone call from her attorney.

  63. Hi Judi, Ironman, Greg, Kay, and everyone.

    Those of us who got the boot were still being castigated on the SNAP for years afterward as well.

    The mind games that were allowed to happen on that board are unparalleled in my experience.

    One person was allowed to re-register under a different name several times. The person was also an employee of the church. That fact, all by itself, means little to nothing. There are a lot of nice people who are employed by the RCC.

    But when they are allowed to do so on a board that’s used by survivors of clergy sexual abuse it’s more difficult to overlook. When they have a habit of derailing threads with long rambling screeds, it’s worse. Ironically, if you complained about it, you were admonished to remain on topic. I take no pleasure in saying that I believe that the moderator was either complicit or pressured into allowing this.

    There’s no question of this happening btw, it was admitted to and there are plenty of witnesses.

    If I found myself in similar circumstances today, I would just walk away. I was naive back then. I thought I could stop this behavior by confronting it head on. I know better than that now. I have learned not to feed the trolls.

    As far as anyone being “unable to put the survival of the resource ahead of their own need to press their cases against the owning organization”…..

    after a certain point both the resource and the owning organization had engaged in enough deception, intimidation and stonewalling that neither entity was viewed by myself as being an effective, safe, advocacy tool . I’ve only scratched the surface in this post as to irregularities. There was were many questionable and disturbing things going on.

    Because of this I did not care after a while if I was banned or not, as I would have been going before long anyway. I felt while I was there that I had to speak the truth and hopefully help change the place for the better.

    I was concerned a great deal about what fate might await a survivor whose first act or reaching out was using that board. I’m not certain that it’s demise is a bad thing.

    Did I mention that I was naive? Now days, I believe that I was probably a dupe. I think I did exactly what SNAP wanted me to do… and give them an excuse to shut the board down. How long has it been now…..three years? four?

    If SNAP wanted that board open, it would be. Those of us who were considered to be the rabble rousers can only be blamed for so much. It is clear that SNAP does not want a message board. Why? Ask them.

    We do however need a resource, I think that’s obvious. A board alone is not that expensive, we could easily pay for that. I doubt we’re looking at over $250/year.

    The hard part is going to be getting quality people to mod it. As I alluded to in another post, it’s my opinion, once three to five mods are found who are willing to volunteer the time, it can happen again.

    But these mods really need to be exceptionally qualified people to avoid the pitfalls of the past, preferably people with experience working with trauma victims, professionals would be best if at all possible. Perhaps students. And they will need to have the trust of the community, or be willing to earn it.

    I also feel that members of the survivor community, upon joining such a network, need to really make a commitment to civility. To raise the bar higher than we’ve ever done before. Some of course have always been exemplary and others, such as myself, have not. But it’s never to late to change.

    I would love to see it happen.

  64. As to the question of most SNAP members still being members of the church or not, I can’t speak for the majority but I do know exactly what I heard and saw as I was sitting in the front row before the Ohio State House Sub-committee in Columbus Ohio on the 2nd day of testimony on proposed legislation to extend the Statute Of Limitations on civil cases against those who abuse children in Ohio. The legislation also had a 2 yr window for those that didn’t fall within the extension to still be eligible to file civil litigation.

    After about 12 hours of testimony from survivors, many traveled from other states to testify, help, and stand with the survivors of Ohio, to try to get some relief from those who abused them and how everybody had the same experiences and difficulties trying to get any help or answers from the church. A lot of the testimony was directed at the amount of damage that has been inflicted throughout the life of a survivor because of the abuse that was purposely done to them when they were once innocent and unsuspecting children.

    The last person to testify that night after survivor after survivor testified to the damage that kept them from living a normal life and being spiritually robbed as children and the damage they still have as adults because of being victims of child abuse was SNAP’s own director, Barbara Blaine.

    I still remember sitting there in AWE as Barbara Blaine walked in front of the members of the House Comittee and her first words were “I STILL LOVE MY CHURCH”, after every survivor already testified about the HELL they were forced to live in as a result of the same church that the President and founder of SNAP “STILL LOVES”. At that point one of the House Members stopped her before she dug an even deeper hole and asked “Does your group have an attorney?” Barbara Blaine then went on a tiraid about the 3 different degrees she received from Catholic Colleges, and about her perfect and loving family life and successes that she made on her own clearly showing that she did not have the same damages as all those survivors testifying before her in her adult life.

    The person’s sitting next to me were also in awe and we kept asking each other “Did She actually just say that?”, in disbeleif that a director of a survivors group would actually give testimony opposite of the rest of the survivors. To me, that was the first torpedo into the ship. Then going back down there with Gumbleton after every survivor accross the country testified that they all received the same cruel treatment from their Bishops and Tom Doyle publicly stating that every Bishop played a role in the cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic church, was torpedo number 2.

    The last torpedo and the final sinking of SNAP’s own ship came before the House of Representatives were entering the chamber to vote on the bill to hold those responsible for child abuse accouintable in Ohio. According to the many news reporters who all saw the same thing happening and all basically gave the same report, reported that SNAP members along with their leaders were lining the hall on the way to the State House Chambers taunting the House members with negative comments and calling them negative names before they even sat down to vote. Some of the reporters even took pictures of SNAP’s founder and director, with some of her members, leaning over screaming at the House members as they tried to enter their Chamber.

    Not only did Ohio end up as a disaster, but so did every state that SNAP got involved with. The states that did get tougher civil litigation passed for those who abuse children all did it without the help of SNAP. The facts don’t lie, and so far SNAP has a perfect score at getting proposed child abuse legislation shot down while the states that SNAP keeps out of managed to get their bills passed. Those are the facts and they don’t lie!

  65. Just found out there are more comments here, have to chime in to defend myself.
    When I found them in 1994, I adored SNAP thought they were true heroes for more than ten years, but after observing and experiencing firsthand what i did with SNAP, I then became very suspicious of them.
    Never set out to berate them, kept my mouth shut another two years after problems became obvious, as I spoke to other people around the country doing City of Angels. At first I was convinced I could not be right with what i was concluding. Then wrote what i wrote about them and still stand by it.
    If someone can give another explanation why they do what they do, I would love to hear it.
    Look at the end results.
    There is no network
    The bishops are all still in power.
    Look at the number of survivors who have quit out of frustration.
    No, I am not an activist. I am a trained professional journalist, who pulled on those skills from jobs I had in the 70s and 80s to do City of Angels blog.
    Worked as a public affairs officer at NASA in Houston, Editor in Chief of a trade paper in West L.A. Anyone who says I’m not a jouralist has reading comprehension problems.
    kay ebeling

  66. Kay,

    I beleived in SNAP when I first joined too. At first when I noticed some sloppyish organizing skills, I just chalked it up to SNAP being fairly new and lack of experience and poor organizational skills compared to my work environment as being well organized due to being a Journeyman in a skilled building trade union.

    I beleived in SNAP enough that I actually drove to Columbus Ohio, stayed in a hotel, paid for my own meals, and testified in front of the House sub-committee. I was actually shocked when I heard the very last person give opposite testimony that it looked like it might have actually been a self sabotage move. I then knew that something was diffently wrong with SNAP and I began to start noticing more and started to ask questions. Then when nobody from Michigan knew anything about it, until Gumbleton and SNAP appeared in Ohio papers and it was too late for anybody to make it to Columbus in time from Michigan. It was then that I definately knew something was wrong and started demanding answers and SNAP stayed silent.

    I then found out that SNAP started a campaign to try to silence me. That just inspired me to look further into SNAP’s organization and I started to find more people who had the same thing happen to them, childish games being played on members, reported priests still in service, all with full knowledge of Barbara. I then noticed that anybody connected to Gumbleton turned into taboo for SNAP, eventhough they had full knowledge. Other survivors also contacted me that knew what I was going through and let me know that I wasn’t alone and most of them became very valued friends still to this day, and it sure is nice to see some of them posting on here.

    I also beleive that we as survivors need to network, but we don’t need a dictatorship to do it. How can we demand that the church gives up their secrets and stops using secretcy as a tool if we belong to a survivors group who uses the same type of secretcy and silence upon their own members?

    Micheal, If I can help in any capacity please let me know.

  67. Definitions really do matter.

    There are all kinds of journalists that engage in activism, but that certainly doesn’t make them any less of a journalist. Not sure why Greg made the distinction that he did.

    Activism often goes far beyond mere words, hence the word is based on the verb .

    I know I’m stating the obvious.

    I recall your coverage of LA hearings and depositions fairly well. Clergy II also. Document diving and seeking quotes from attorneys on both sides. Being physically present in the court room day after day….taking notes, drawing pictures, describing the mood of the players, the vibe in the room.

    The ridiculous motions made by the church attorneys, the verbal gymnastics of Lee Potts.

    Journalism and activism do often mix, but this was journalism.

    Yours was the best coverage not only because of your perspective as a survivor, but sadly at many times by default, as other journalists were not covering the litigation at all with the exception of the most major rulings and developments, which is all the more reason that SNAP should have linked to you. They post all manner of op-eds on their site.

    But if recall correctly, SNAP didn’t even want you covering the LA cases or Clergy II. I know that sounds strange, but that’s the way I remember it, am I wrong?

    I’d say your not only a journalist but a damn good one as well. Most importantly, you’re one the church can’t influence, and there is no question that the church has undue influence over many journalists.

  68. I too remember Kay being the only one reporting on the L.A. clergy cases. At times, which was most of the time, she was the only one. SNAP really didn’t bother too much until there was talk of a settlement. Then SNAP got involved and even booked a cruise ship to depart from L.A., after the settlement was complete. It seems that when money is the issue you can’t get rid of SNAP, but when money isn’t the issue SNAP can’t be found and it is up to the survivors to help each other or the whole story never gets told.

    Kay gets a hats-off from me for her fantastic journalism, and also gets a big((((((((((((hug)))))))))))))) from me just for being a friend. We might not agree on every thing, but we are mature enough to look past our differences and still see through our friendship. The same thing holds true for all my dear friends who help remind me that I am not the only one thrown away by the RCC and then by SNAP.

  69. Michael – Thanks for allowing the discussion. I’ve just read through all the comments. From my ‘perch’ I think Gbullough comes pretty close to the
    reality on SNAP origin. I had first hand experience with the “8th Day Center for Justice.” In fact, I was nearly fired from my church job back in 1978 for going to a meeting at the center. Put another way, Chicago archdiocesan leadership considered them as “outsiders” while my priest boss sent me to the meeting as if they were part of the “church.” The center was home to “ultra-liberals” or “church radicals” whom the leadership wanted to push out of the ‘catholic tent.’ So its no suprise that
    Blaine would have a connection to an ‘ultra-liberal’ like Gunbleton.
    (Its getting late so I’ll sign off here – but I have a few more pieces to add
    to this.) Thanks for reading it!

  70. Please keep in mind, it was after three years of interviewing survivors around the country, and hearing their experiences, three years of closely observing what is going on nationwide, and after one whole year of telling my own self I have to be wrong, SNAP could not be connected to the church, that I went public and wrote what i observed.

    If any one of these commenting critics want to put in time and interview maybe a hundred people around the country and hear their stories and observe what they go through, maybe you will see something else and you can report it to us.

    I don’t honestly think there is anyone else doing research at the level I did since Jan 2007 (although the Federal Justice Department should have been investigating the whole pedophile priest crime spree since the 1990s).

    It was only after all that blogging and writing all those stories, including 3 weeks in Feb 2009 in bed shaking sweating scared sick saying no, it can’t be true, that I began to realize all the evidence about SNAP, everything I saw and read and heard, added up to the same thing. They are working for Someone Else,

    Maybe it’s not the Church, but to me, it adds up, even the 7th Day Center at its beginning, started by Blaine, an MSW from Univ of St. Louis.

    One clue was the weird, totally bizarre, response I got when I asked a couple SNAP Board of Directors members to answer one question to help me understand why I’m seeing what I am seeing.

    No Answer.

    NO ONE from SNAP ever just contacted me and said, No, Kay, you’re wrong and here is the real story. Instead I was treated to a behind the scenes nasty campaign, email attacks, Schwiderski’s video slandering, weird stuff that I still don’t know how to describe.

    Okay, tell me first, who else has looked that far into the whole issue nationwide? And tell me why a legitimate organization would respond to questions about its management in that way?


    PS: I still wish I never saw what i saw. I wish it was not there. I also wish i had never been sexualized by a priest when I was a little girl. Some of this is ugly stuff that we are stuck with looking at, whether we want to or not.

    PSS: For example, I’m supposed to be on a month’s hiatus from this topic and look at me…

  71. Yes, AZ, you are correct. SNAP tried to prevent me as a survivor / journalist, from writing about the L.A. Clergy Cases. Mary Grant told me there was “nothing going on” in the 600 lawsuits, and then I found out there had been two or three hearings a week in Superior Court for about a year. So I started going to the hearings and started reporting on them by creating City of Angels, in spite of SNAP.
    When I posted on the SNAP message board that i was going to a hearing Jan 14(?) 2007, Mary Grant contacted me saying, don’t write about the hearing, and it was on Your Case, AZ. Grant said “the survivor doesn’t want you there” not knowing that you were the one L.A. Clergy case survivor I knew in person at the time.
    I asked AZ, and he said, hell yes, I want you to cover it. That’s when I began to realize SNAP was up to something, but I just kept pursuing truth on my own.

    Someone, explain that, how it hurt survivors for me to report on the hearings, as SNAP told me.

    Just explain that…

  72. Kate, I don’t mean to apply the label “activist” in any negative sense.

    Your persistent truth-telling has certainly changed lives, and the world, for the better.

    And certainly your skills as a journalist are right at the top as far as people covering, and willing to state, the reality of what is happining in LA and elsewhere.

    However, I think there is a continuum between acting as a
    “just the facts” journalist and as an “activist with an axe to grind” anywhere along which any activist / journalist can fall on a given day or a given story.

    My assessment is that, when you’re writing about SNAP, it’s more to the activism end of that continuum as it seems to be more personal than some of your other stuff.

  73. It seems to me these questions need to be answered if SNAP is to be considered a legitimate voice for survivors:

    Why did Mary Grant tell Kay AZ did not want her to cover his story when he himself stated that he did?

    Why the support for Gumbleton in spite of Brian’s clear, legitimate reasons that show Gumbleton was as complicit as any other bishop?

    Why did SNAP not want Kay to cover the hearings?

    Why was the SNAP board effectively disabled?

    I’m sure there are more questions, but I think if we keep it clear and simple, it will be more effective.

    Again, it’s my opinion that a lot of the problems stem from the leaders never moving from their Catholic culture into broader society. Not all groups operate with the duplicity and behind-the-scenes manuevering that fuels the Catholic church. It is possible to do things differently.

  74. Just another thought. What happened when money was missing from the SNAP organization, I believe it was around 2006? And the bookkeeper was no where to be found? Also a few board memebers resigned around this time? No criminal actions were taken?

  75. With all due respect, Greg, Nope.
    The SNAP stuff stopped being personal more than a year ago. Now I’m just an astounded onlooker.

  76. You know all of these questions point back to the same issue, and that is one of leadership style and breadth. Whether we’re talking about at the micro level, where moderation of a BBS was invested in one or two people and where offers of desperately-needed help were rebuffed. Or whether we’re talking about questions which could easily be answered in conjunction with oversight by a more broad-based “steering committee” that is accountable to a constituency.

    In many organzations where that doesn’t take place the excuse is often that “we don’t have time” or “can’t afford” that kind of governance. That the more expeditious and narrow power-structure is needed. In general, though, that turns out to be a sort of “false economy” when the constituent base loses confidence.

  77. YES!

    Now I remember that very well. I was stunned. I could not bleeping believe that Mary Grant told you that I didn’t want you covering hearings about my case. That was diametrically opposed to reality.

    Besides, not all of the litigation going on pertained just to me as I recall. There was stuff going on in that courtroom of interest to a lot of survivors. Why in the world would SNAP not want it covered?

    At one point when my case was getting attention in the So. Cal media, SNAP said something to my attorney about holding a vigil for me. I was adamant, in NO WAY did I want SNAP getting involved with my case. I made it clear that SNAP was not an organization that I trusted.

    Initially the decision to talk to other survivors was a difficult one for me. This would have been around 2001 or 2002. So I went to the internet and found SNAP.

    I wrote SNAP’s leaders at least two emails requesting info on meetings in the southern AZ area. Never heard back, never got a call….nothing, zip, nada…

    Now as it looked like a settlement was drawing near, they wanted to do a vigil for me. How nice. They still only contacted me through my attorney.

    But it’s all water under the proverbial bridge now.

    Kay said it very well

    “The SNAP stuff stopped being personal more than a year ago. Now I’m just an astounded onlooker.’

  78. Gotta share this one more thing, then back to other stuff.
    Last Feb I asked two board members a legitimate question about the way this nonprofit is run.
    BOTH responded, “We have been advised not to talk to you, because you are dangerous.”
    Me. I’m dangerous, so they will not answer any questions from me. Or commuicate.
    I was publishing all over the place still last Feb and that was how they had their board members respond to me.
    I mean…
    And those words repeated here: “Kay is not a real journalist,” was their talking point to people. I’ve heard that now from so many places, Don’t talk to Ebeling, she’s not a real journalist.
    Thanks, SNAP.
    I am, as you can see, so disgusted.

  79. Symptoms in Adult Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

    With good cause, survivors are usually distrustful of the opposite sex, authority figures — and themselves.

    Feelings of worthlessness, apathy, self-loathing, can drown a survivor.

    Childhood abuse teaches the victim that the world is an untrustworthy place. Fear can infiltrate every aspect of the survivor’s life.

    Unfortunately often directed inward, anger can be a liberating emotion when the survivor directs it at the appropriate targets.

    Uncertainty about what the abuse means (how can pain be love? Why is a caretaker betraying me? Or in cases of clergy sexual abuse, why has God forsaken me?) overwhelms the child — and festers in the adult.

    Relationship difficulties
    Clearly a distrustful, confused, angry survivor is likely to have difficulties relating with other people.

    Childhood sexual abuse is frequently accompanied with verbal abuse. Accusations of being stupid make a deep impression on a helpless, victimized child. This feeling of powerlessness persists into adulthood.

    Frequently the various parts of the survivor, including the derogatory messages about being bad, stupid, unwanted, unlovable, etc., are “heard” as thoughts or even sounds.

    A feeling of having been stripped of dignity and effectiveness.

    A feeling of being held down, of being directed by others.

    Generally noticing what’s wrong, rather than what’s right. Expecting the worst.

  80. Now that we have given enough evidence that Kay actually is a journalist. and a really good one at that. I think that I just might have honestly earned the label of an activist, and activism surely isn’t wanted in SNAP. I think that we can actually create our own network, and it certainly wouldn’t even cost us any way near the fraction of what SNAP claims they need to operate.

    If we look at and study how great civil rights activist like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, John and Leni SinClair, Ginsburg and the rest of the civil rights activist in the 60’s that are responsible for many major changes in our country like giving every American the right to vote, stopped segregation in our country, gave every American the same rights as every other American, stopped the treating of women as second class citizens, and a list of other great accomplishments. And they did it all without any budget. They also left us a blueprint on networking to get your message heard by the people. Could you imagine what kind of more great acheivements they could have accomplished if they had the modern technology that we have now?

    The main issue is not money, it’s the people. If we get enough people accross the country actually ready to make a change, we have a great start. With the technology we have today we can network faster and less costly. One way to cut cost is carpooling. If some people need to fly don’t go first class, go coach. Stack up in more lower rate motels and also those living close to the area need to open their doors for other survivors to get some sleep and maybe a warm meal. If we focus on helping each other first and foremost, we don’t need an operational budget and we have a better chance at reaching our goals.

    In order to really reach our goal, we need to take our message to the people, not to the church like SNAP does, and that actually can be done a lot cheaper than you think. If we stay together and bring the attention that is needed to the people, we have a better chance at acheiving our goal and getting the pressure we need to accomplish our goal. We need the support of the people, not the organization that caused the harm to us.

    For some of those who are less fortunte then others, we can put up a kitty and those of us who have a little extra to kick in something to help out. The more people donating a few bucks here and there really makes a difference and could really help survivors to really network. Any money donated will be counted together and the total amount will be available to each and everyone of us. Also all kitty money will only be used to help the less fortunate to be able to network with us for our get-togethers and those donating will actually get to see how their money is actually used. Kittys can also be used for food at each appearance so that no one goes away hungry.

    We also can make it more worth the appearance, and not any hit and run press conferences. They can be as long as we want and give everyone who wishes the time to get their voice heard, a turn to say what they traveled to say. If we keep the idea of each of us helping each other, we can really be effective. We cannot turn our backs on each other, because we didn’t like it when it was done to us by both the RCC and SNAP. These appearances will not be used for any advertising for SNAP. If SNAP shows up to try to upstage us, it will be our turn to silience them and let them see just how they like it.

    The first thing we need to do is to share e-mail addresses with each other. We can hold our discussions through mass e-mails or a private buletin board if needed or we can start our own public board with a team of moderators if we need to. All options are available and discussions on each move is open and are appreciated. This is offered as a suggestion so If anybody has any other ideas or changes in this idea, please feel free to have your voice heard.

  81. Kay, you put so much of your time and self into your writing. ““We have been advised not to talk to you, because you are dangerous.” This truly saddens me. You have and always will have my deepest support and respect.

  82. MN-SNAP,

    It sure looks like you need to look into your own self first, before you try to lead anybody.

    I have no problem of who I am. Actually, I am quite comfortable with myself and that I take pride in what I do and I don’t regret what it took to get me where I am now.

    I know that my abuse was not my fault and that I am not the only one who was abused by the same serial abuser that the church had full knowledge about. Not one of the other victims of my abuser was found by SNAP. I found them by networking with other survivors not affiliated with SNAP. And I have no problem helping other survivors who keep knocking on SNAP’s unopened door and get tired of banging their head against the wall and eventually give up and turn away.

    I saw first hand how much damage SNAP can do to a survivor. I also watched and heard as your president put her love for her church above the needs and testimony of survivors in Columbus Ohio.

    Have fun staying with SNAP while you continue to spin in circles and don’t go any where while you protect and embrace known criminals.

  83. Yes, Activism. Start a real network. Maybe that’s starting here.
    By the way, MN SNAP, aka Bob Schwiderski, your diagnosing us as all as sick because of what we are saying here would be relevant. Except nowhere else in my life is there any signs or patterns of suspicious behavior, distrust, or any of what you AND SNAP claim is our inevitable never ending sickness. I don’t have 20 percent of the symptoms you just posted.
    Finding something wrong does not mean you are paranoid and imagining things.
    So thanks, Bob Schwiderski, aka MN SNAP, for your input, but you are again way off base.

  84. Kay— damn straight— you ARE dangerous. Dangerous to anybody who’d abuse a child or vulnerable adult. Dangerous to anybody who’d try and cover it up. And dangerous to our assumptions. I think of you like Malvina Reynolds’ folk-song “God Bless the Truth.”

    Please stay dangerous.

    Hey Bob from MN— I hope you’re not posting what you just did to attempt to discredit any of the folks here who’ve posted their opinion. You know I think the world of you and the work you’re doing. Just as you’ve facilitated survivors speaking their truth about the likes of Raymond Rose FSC, please allow survivors to speak their truth about you, me, SNAP, and everyone else.

    That said, what you posted is a powerful illustration of what SNAP is called to rise to.

    AZ— your willingness to share our own growth and hindsight learning is just so far past what many self-confident appearing advocates do.

    Ironman— we go way back. Ultimately, we’ve always found our common ground, which is what it is all about in the first place.

    And SNAP— I’m still calling you to a style of leadership that best serves your constituency. But until that day, I’m still here, working with you and pointing out to survivors that (as opposed to entities like the diocese of Santa Rosa, Ca.) you remain one of the best resources for abuse survivors.

  85. Judi,

    Don’t forget that the same nasty little childish games were also played on us by SNAP leaders and their minions, but we eventually found out about them anyway. It seems that SNAP is nothing but child games and no real mature answers. What gives SNAP leadership the right to tell anybody about who they should or shouldn’t talk to? I guess some people never evolved passed Catholic Elementary School?

    IMOHO, SNAP is nothing more than a cheap carnival ride with bright chrome trim, fancy painting on the outside, and flashing lights all around so you expect it to be what it is billed up to be and then you find out that it just spun you around a few times and then left you right back where you started from. That is one carnival ride I wouldn’t recommend anyone to buy a ticket for.

  86. This has been on my mind all night.

    Those “Symptoms in Adult Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse” posted by Bob Schwiderski, who is the same person who produced Slanderous Videos about Kay Ebeling in Feb 2010 and sent them all over, so don’t believe him if he calls himself advocating for you. He will slam you to the sidewalk if you breathe a word of question about SNAP.

    Those symptons, things like Self Doubt and Suspicioun and Anger Outbursts.

    I had ALL those symptoms until this year. and I identified all those symptoms in mysefl AFTER getting in touch with SNAP. in Fact SNAP was the first to tell me those were the symptoms of adult victimhood, and I said, Yes, that’s me, thinking I had truly found help.

    Guess what. It seems breaking with SNAP will also free a person of those “Symptoms in Adult Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse.”

    An interesting development. One not to be ignored.

    Best way for us to be a Network with no money is everyone start a blog in their city, start reporting on teh crimes from your area, with your blog.

    I will help anyone who wants to start a blog to get it going. We can all document dive in our respective superior courts and then link each other on our blogs, support each other.

    So my first suggestion is Drop Out of SNAP and get your own personality back, then start a Blog, and you will truly start recovering, you will stop wallowing in all those symptoms they tell you that you must have if you are one of the victims.

    I think none of us yet realize just how much we have been manipulated.

    Once again as BS of MN SNAP tries to diss us, he ends up for me showing me another big problem with SNAP.

    Maybe it’s ’cause now I’m volunteering at a homeless shelter one day a week and not identifying myself as part of SNAP anymore. I don’t know. But it’s very iteresting that I was plagued with all of BS of MN SNAP’s list of symptoms, until I dropped out of the support organization for the victims.

    Food for thought.

  87. I have to throw in a thought here. I’ve never even gone to the SNAP website, but what I’ve read about them in the stories in the Clergy Abuse Tracker cause me to have great hope in what they’re doing. At the same time, I find the discussion here quite compelling and so I’ll come to this site for discussion but not to SNAP’s. Because this site fills the gap for what I’m looking for, whereas SNAP is something I’m fine with reading about in local newspaper stories. Just saying, you’ve got a niche here that’s very important and needs to be cultivated separate and apart from SNAP.

    On the journalism/activism debate. I’ve heard that debate among journalists and as a complete non-journalist, I tire of it. If a journalist is unearthing information that the people need to see, I couldn’t care less if they’re called a journalist or an activist, I call it investigative journalism and I want more and more of that. I remember actually reading Kay’s City of Angels in January of 2007 and loving her work and seeing that it’s the only reporting I saw on the massive California cases, except those few LA Times stories and a couple of others. I also could sense that she is meeting great resistance, I assumed from the Diocese attorneys. If it was from SNAP, well, she did a great job anyway. She doesn’t need SNAP.

    I hope the discussion here continues. It’s so difficult to conduct a forum among members whose chief issue is trust, but ya’ll seem to be doing that. And it is a fine thing to sit back and watch that happening.

  88. Please forgive me , I don’t have a computer. I’m using a friends. Thanks for your intelligence Az , Ironman, Collins Tx and Mike. I’ve been active in L.A. since 2002. The snap leaders have always been at odds with victims here. SNAP has no ‘membership” It represents basically 3 people. It claims a membership of 10,000. Where are they? It advertises itself as the oldest and largest. Who are they competing with ?? Competition amongst victims???? Are you kidding me? After 8 years with these clowns [ they were never prepared for news conferences that they have called] Never! Why are people like Kay and I called into question? While snap (sic) is above question. Have you ever been to …(edited by blog owner)… they call a convention? Every things for sale. I left after the first convention when a speaker, the former San Diego chicken, told us to ” get5 over it”He was paid and hired to tell victims “to get over it”? I went to jail; Snap (sic) goes to hotels. By the way the chicken was not a survivor.

  89. Jim and all, I attended one SNAP conference in New Jersey City and out of respect for Ironman left the room when Gumbleton spoke. Another survivor stood outside the conference room with me, but then quite frankly we went inside to see what we were missing. I am glad I did. Ironman can fill in the details as he would do it best. I held my cell phone so he could hear it, and as soon as the tough questions came, BB shut ’em up. The last day was something to see/hear. BB pleading for money….. for example, if you won a settlement of $100,00 please give $10,000 to SNAP. Phony Phony Phony!

    Then in 2007 (I think?) I was accused of calling the snap board moderator during the conference. I was visiting with my daughter that week so she is my witness. Honestly, I think she called herself………..

  90. Kay, Judi, Ironman, AZ and everyone, I do not doubt your stories, or discount the pain you have experienced. My experience with SNAP has been different. My state leader is wonderful and a huge source of support around this issue. And Bob came down from Minnesota and taught me how to lead a support group, and has also been a good resource. I consider Barb Dorris to be a friend, and my experience at the two conventions I attended was positive. My only complaint was, they are too “Catholic.” Too much emphasis on CTA, Voice of the Faithful, and how many times does a person want to listen to Tom Doyle?

    I’ve stated my concerns before, so I won’t rehash them, but essentially I think it boils down to an unresponsive attitude toward members and a tendency to operate like the very organization that hurt us in the first place.

    Kay, I agree 100%- suffering abuse does not mean you have to be a permanent victim. I could relate to some things on that list, but at this time in my life, I can’t say any of them describe me accurately. And simply questioning things does not mean a person is crazy- again, that’s a tactic the church used, and one that should not be employed by SNAP.

  91. Bob,

    I have noticed you don’t list any references for your “complete outline” on your website or here. Is this original work? What is your academic background to support the outline?

  92. Please let me suggest a different thought here. SNAP was not the doing or the undoing of anyone here. Thank God we can all live and we can breathe without SNAP’s endorsement.

    Venting is needed here, clearly. Damage was done. As a complete and total outsider, I’d like to say something, and please feel free to boost me out of here if it helps you, but my cousin killed herself in Maryland and I’m not playing about this, I don’t care what SNAP did or Gumbleton did or even Mary Grant. I barely know them. I just want to go after the abusers and those that … you know, covered that up.

    I’m a bit confused here you might say.

  93. SarahTX2,

    I agree that we need to go after and hold those who participated in abusing children and covering it up in the biggest and oldest organized child sex ring in World History. And just doing hit and run press releases are definately not the answers.

    What we actually see here is and great example of how far SNAP is so far out in left field and just causing more pain to survivors. Look at how long this discussion has gone on and we had 2 SNAP leaders who claim to have great contacts with SNAP’s leadership posting on here. So it is safe to assume that SNAP’s main leadership has been notified about this discussion.

    Both Judy Jones and MN-SNAP have replied with cut & paste of pre-written material and advertisements for SNAP, but neither of them can answer any of the questions thaYou, Micheal, Janet and the rest of us got tired of asking because we all got the same response that you have witnessed here. You now have seen an actual demonstratration by real SNAP leaders just how they don’t can’t speak in their own words and don’t give any real answers. Then You also witnessed how a “SNAP Leader” even went so low as to attempt to discredit victims on here by using the “profile of abuse victims” to use against those who speak out against them. Didn’t the church use the same exact tactics on us? Why can’t these “Big SNAP Leaders” openly and honestly answer our questions in their own words? Haven’t we all had enough of cut & paste and using premade statements that dance around the subject but don’t give any direct answers to our questions that have been handed down by Bishops? It’s starting to look more and more that most victims were actually treated better by the church, then by SNAP!

    I have always stated that I have thought that actual activism was the way to apply pressure to get answers. It worked great when applied by Trade Unions and Civil Rights Activists of the 60’s, and would also work for our cause as well. There are some more questions that I have been wanting for answers on and I know that actually going there and demanding them on my own with other people with the same mind set and drive to actually travel for those answers, is the only way to gain some ground and get some answers and actually accomplish something towards our goal.

    I beleive the One of the great questions that needs to be answered in order to putting a major piece of the puzzle together has to deal with the “Philidelphia Grand Jury Report”. Now SNAP has had more than enough time to act on that and they left it behind many years ago, So now your going to hear the same question that was never answered all these years since the “Grand Jury Report came out, on this board and by me, so if SNAP decides to finally pick-up and steal my way to address that question and tries to upstage us with another hit and run press release, tries to show up at the end and attempt to pick-up the credit, or decides to pick-up that question after they threw it in the garbage all those years ago, You have all seen it here first. Plus there is also the fact that if SNAP was really interested in doing anything in Philidelphia or anything else to do with that Grand Jury Report they would have already done something long ago.

    Now the question to the Philidelphia Grand Jury report that survivors accross the country has been asking is – ” Why weren’t there any indictments and arrest warrants issued from the findings in that “Grand Jury Report?” Some of those people who were actually found to be involved with the evidence veiwed by the Grand Jury are still alive and roaming free in this country. Why hasn’t anybody demanded and answers of why there was nothing done with the Philidelphia Grand Jury Report? I personally think that we should consider looking into demanding and applying a little wisely used pressure to try and get that report opened back up and actually seeing some indictments and criminal charges come out of it. I don’t think it is too late as long as some of those found involved in criminal activity are still alive, the findings in that report should remain an issue.

    I also think it is finaly time to get victims together and actually accomplish something, like the VOTF did in Boston in getting Cardinal Benard Law removed from his seat as Cardinal. Only our time would be a little shorter so we need to be even more effective, which could easily be done if handled correctly.

    Again, this is only my opinion and other opinions are welcome as well as on a starting point, how to properly handle the get-together. We also would be hitting other areas and issues as well, and all ideas and opinions are welcome. Like I stated before, the only requirement is to first get a group of dedicated people and then decide on a starting point and then setting a date and then making it all happen, which is really alot easier than you’d think.

    And Yes, Greg, I know we have a lot of common ground in this area and I was actually looking forward to working with you on getting this off of the ground. I have a proven idea and I know that it will work as well as it did in the past, and I also know that you would be a terrific help with it as it also involves another one of your valued interest.

    Again, This is only a starting idea and all others ideas and opinions are welcome. If anybody else has any other ideas, please feel free to let your voice be heard

  94. Hi look folks, I was for 8 years at every Snap Press mess in L.A.. When the same critique comes from accross the country, something is up. If the church-ophiles are controlling the response of the victems to the press and public, then free speach is destroyed. Get it ? II know that victims come to their own conclusions at their own speed. Imagine victims getting arrested over and over again while the perps and enablers never see a court house. How long could the monsters stand?

  95. Wow. I notice 8 thumbs down on my first comments above, the comments detailing a bit of the failure of SNAP meetings to resonate with, or otherwise help survivors of clergy abuse in Metro Detroit whatsoever. I wrote those remarks in response to Bob S’s (Minn) assertion that “the real blood and guts of SNAP — Survivor Support Meetings” were somehow ignored or diminished by the author/creator of this blog.

    Two points: A) I recognize only one participant in the comments above who regularly attended SNAP events in metro Detroit. Pretty sure that cat likes me. So I’m left scratching my head that — what is called in PROPOSITIONAL LOGIC 101 — the fallacy of arguing out of ignorance. Let me know who else among you [aside from Ironman], may have attended SNAP events in Metro Detroit? Don’t just click thumbs down! Substantiate your point! That is the whole basis of debate. If you don’t have knowledge on a topic and just click thumbs down — well — that’s just plain weak. The truth is, that both Ironman or I could probably create a monster sidebar conversation here — on just how pathetic the Metro Detroit SNAP support groups, meetings, e-mail lists, and events were. Yeah, I got my picture on the front page of the Flint Journal supporting SNAP at the Detroit Chancery. Those who reflexively click thumbs down, thinking maybe I have an agenda against SNAP — yeah — the only reason you couldn’t see me crying in the picture — was the dark sunglasses. Didn’t like SNAP? I loved it to the point of tears. Until they forgot about me. Ms. Blaine still loves her church. She doesn’t know me from a corned beef platter at Ruby Tuesdays. Click thumbs down all you want. I guess you had to be here in the BIG DIRTY D.

    And, B) Bob S from Minn, I could not have been more direct in challenging your assertion regarding the usefulness of “Survivor Support Meetings.” I’m not calling you out as a disfavor or out of prejudice, but rather as a favor and out of passion. Your August 13 post is 225 words, for example, and a week has passed since my remarks. Kind of a mixture of avoiding the topic, and red-herrings to YOUR TOPIC and YOUR ASSERTION. I can’t discuss or debate your assertions if you won’t back them up or stand behind them.

    I’m just describing my experiences with SNAP SUPPORT GROUPS in Metro Detroit, brother. If your experiences have been different — more power to you.

    Lastly — I’ve read the information on your link, and am compelled to echo Michael as to your references, the originality or the work, and your academic background.

    One size doesn’t fit all in addressing emotional trauma. Your “SOLUTIONS” section — your conclusion — let me go there for any bloggo fans who have not:

    “Identity is ‘The Key’: whether you identify as a victim, a survivor, a victor or a champion.
    Responsibility for self to overcome the effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse requires a decision to take responsibility for oneself. And then to take appropriate actions about taking care of yourself. Some of the specifics towards that are: Groups, therapy, self-help, support, 12-step, religious…Thought-stopping…Affirmations…Gratitude Diary… Love… Individual psychotherapy… hypnotherapy… emotional freedom techniques… Forgiveness. Forgiveness or letting go of resentment is touted as the ultimate step toward freedom from the effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Certainly to become whole the victor needs to let go of the shame, anger, guilt and hatred.”

    Wowser, Bud. A talk-down, styled lecture. A one-size-fits-all, complete and total, all-encompassing pitchblende. The nuclear power of healing rolled back into a neat, compact, easily mined, raw nuggets. My friend, this is the exact type of thing that some folk complain about SNAP. Heal the SNAP way. It’s the only way. I really, really remember going back to the beginning of SNAP’s arrival on the national consciousness — that SNAP was touting to respect each other’s recovery process may be different than your own. You’ve taken it upon yourself to totally dismantle that [seemingly] ironclad and very respected tenet of SNAP group dynamics in your writing.

    Let me assess a few of the uranium kernels:

    Champion? I thought the meek would inherit the earth.

    Take responsibility for one’s self? I thought [in your words] the blood and guts of SNAP was group support? We should care for each other, my friend. Your words imply that any not following your specific healing path would not be taking responsibility for themselves. I take great responsibility for myself. My friend. And, as an honorably discharged veteran of both the US Air Force and the US Air Force Reserve, I have volunteered to get shot at for my country no less than four times. I take responsibility for others too, my friend.

    Appropriate actions to take care of myself? I don’t know, dude. After fifty years of alcoholism, forty-seven years of drug abuse. More self-destructive behavior than Evil, Evel Knievel– more arrests and failed jobs and failed marriages than most people have had Thanksgiving Turkeys. Take care of myself? I needed the adrenaline rush from all of that, my friend. Otherwise. The manic depression from devastating abuse would have killed me.

    12-Steps, religion, affirmations, gratitude diary, psychobabble, hypnobabble, freedom techniques, forgiveness? The touchy-feely, Oprah and Dr. Phil world be damned…. I WANT TO SEE SOME BISHOPS AND CARDINALS GO TO JAIL! I want to see the U.S. Justice Department investigate the church. I want to see special prosecutors and congressional hearings. I want to see action, brother, before I croak. What I’ve copied and pasted above from your work looks like the kind of stuff the fictional Stuart Smalley used to say on Saturday Night Live.

    Anyhow — as I’ve stated — the fight for justice on behalf of victims of clergy abuse has a very, very underwhelming resonance in the U. S, media. SNAP’s been driving the car, sir. It’s time for both a new car and a new driver.

  96. Reply to “ol Kenny Schneider,

    “ I did not have time to read all of the comments, but will note to Bob Schwiderski of Minnesota that if “the real blood and guts of SNAP — Survivor Support Meetings” is TRUE — then SNAP could not have been a bigger failure than in the Metropolitan Detroit area.” [ THEN YOU AND THE SURVIVORS IN METROPLITIAN FAILED ]

    “Pretty darn big demographic, population, and social center. Ain’t had one gall-darned locally run meeting here led by an actual survivor — to my knowledge.” [WHERE WERE YOU, ARE YOU NOT A SURVIVOR?]

    “Stunningly, all three of the supposed “leaders” during the time frame when I was actively attending SNAP events in metro Detroit were not survivors.” [WHERE WERE YOU, ARE YOU NOT A SURVIVOR?] …………….

    “The local sub-group in Oakland County was going to meet on Jesuit-owned property — yeah.

    Support groups the backbone? I guess our backbone has been broken here in Metro Detroit since SNAP was formed. They’ve had their chance here, my friend. Token Catholics, or Catholic apologists leading groups didn’t cut it. Support groups? Ain’t a one of them ladies or gents ever re-contacted me to see why I quit coming.”



    [#3, I’M GOING TO REPEAT THIS: “…. ‘The Key’: whether you identify as a victim, a survivor, a victor or a champion………Responsibility for self to overcome the effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse requires a decision to take responsibility for oneself. And then to take appropriate actions about taking care of yourself. Some of the specifics towards that are: Groups,…”

    ……QUESTION? Are you going to drive the bus or ride in the back seat?……..



    First off you are the perfect example of what is wrong with SNAP and how you use the same UNETHICAL tactics of the RCC and USE THEM ON OTHER SURVIVORS. You KEEP doing MORE HARM to survivors because they just have different opinions as you, JUST AS THE REST OF SNAP LEADERS HAVE DONE!

    As for Blaming all the survivors not connected with SNAP leadership in the Metro Detroit Area for the poor way SNAP was handled is just as sick as telling parents of abused children that the priest will be removed and then just transfering the priest to another parish as soon as the victimized family leaves. Unless you were actually present at the Metro Detroit SNAP meetings you don’t have a clue to what we saw and experienced.


    Barbara Blaine made several appearances at Detroit area meetings and told us who she wanted as SNAP Leader, and openly let us know that we had no choice in the matter. I also at one time had direct contact with Barbara Blaine, because I was the only one she could get to accompany her when she would visit Detroit long enough to slide a useless letter under the door of the Church offices in front of a camera so she only had use for me when she couldn’t get anybody else.

    I also had contact with Barbara Blaine several times through e-mail about the disater her poor picks for leadership were doing to other survivors, she still decided to keep them on eventough I wasn’t the only one contacting her about her poor leadership skills. I still have the e-mails if you would like me to start posting them to show how little Barbara Blaine really cared about local support groups.

    Since YOU claim to be a “BIG” SNAP Leader and think You have any authority over any survivors then maybe You would like to answer a few more questions with how SNAP turned it’s back on survivors in Michigan. You can please start with why SNAP knows about a reported priest who abused boys while He was an instructor at Sacred Heart Seminary, and is still in service in another Detroit area parish that was building an addition at the school, at the time I personally notified Barbara Blaine? I personally knew of 3 reports and also was in contact with a survivor who was willing to come forward, but Barbara Blaine gave me specific orders not to show up at that church or go after Father Terry Kerner and I was not allowed to speak about this with anybody from our area’s SNAP list. I was later notified that a survivor also personally notified Barbara Blaine about the same Father Terry Kerner back around 2002-2003, and nothing was done about him back then either.

    Would you please tell us, since you claim to know so much about the Metro Detroit Survivor’s and the disfunctional SNAP group who’s had all leaders personally selected by Barbara Blaine, Why would both SNAP and Gumbleton allow a known and reported rapist to still operate as a priest?

    Please answer that question A.S.A.P. as I also have more questions about the Dysfunctional Detroit Area SNAP Leaders, and Gumbleton, for you to give answers on, as I still have all those e-mails directly from SNAP’s main leadership and the dysfunctional leaders, and can post them if you would like me to after you give round-about and false answers to the questions?

    BTW, I first met Ken at the Antos press release that named Gumbleton in the civil suit because Gumbleton signed the letter and placed it in Jason Sigler’s personnel file before loaning Sigler out to the Lansing Diocese where the Antos boy was then molested because of Gumbleton’s prior knowledge and remained silent while more and more children were molested. I also witnessed the same Dysfunctional Leadership that Ken witnessed and Barbara Blaine made each dicision on her own, she let us know that she owned SNAP and each move had to be cleared through her first, and all decisions were only made by her. So, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT BLAMING THE REST OF THE SURVIVORS FOR THE POOR DECISIONS MADE BY YOUR PRESIDENT, BARBARA BLAINE! IF YOU WANRT TO BLAME ANYONE, BLAME BARBARA BECAUSE IT WAS ALL HER UNDOING!

  98. And I STILL refuse to choose between the survivors at SNAP and the survivors who don’t like SNAP.

    You’re both right sometimes.

    You’re both wrong sometimes.

    Aren’t we all?

  99. And I still refuse to swallow any of the lies, immoral, and criminal behavior that comes from SNAP!

    THE SURVIVORS SHOULD ALWAYS COME FIRST, because without them there would be NO SNAP!

  100. To “Ironman”
    My name is Bob Schwiderski not Barbara Blaine. And to tell you the truth, I don’t have the foggiest idea who you are !

    ps: I was not hand picked by Barbara Blaine, I was asked by this area’s survivors to be their point person.

  101. Dear Bob,

    I don’t know, man. I was taught that using CAPS in posts CONSTANTLY was considered yelling. Now I don’t mind a fella yelling once in a while, or even singing loud a bit or two, but your last post seems replete with CAPS-n-yellin’-n-such — to be considered a full-blown ‘scrant or ‘screed.

    River’s creed, or river screed? I’ll let the world be the judge. What would J the Baptist do? He supposedly yelled a lot, too, so I’ll give you one reprieve here.


    I’ve honorably and truthfully substantiated my position on Michael Bauman’s dime a-plenty, and don’t want to bogart his philosophical query with angry or invalid side-bar, and simply won’t be cajoled into vitriol, ad-hominem, fallacy, or improper form in web debate.

    You asked many questions in your post of angry CAPS. Pick one, my friend, ONE — that’s most important for you — and if you ask it a little more civilly — unless it is something too personal about my abuse, that I don’t feel like posting — I’ll answer it.

    By the way, I use CAPS occasionally for emphasis. I am an old singer from back in the day, and my voice was probably more mellow. I think I only have three notes I can sing nowadays, so I have to emphasize the gusto a bit more. DON’T YELL AT ME IF YOU WANT TO DEBATE ME, MAN!

    Don’t yell at me if you want to counsel me either, man. You ain’t my pappy. You ain’t my drill instructor. You ain’t my sensei. You ain’t my boss. You ain’t my wife.

    Counsel me? Yup. That’s what I said. You offered to ride down here on your own dime, and help me set up a SNAP Chapter. Wow. You know my friend, we did have a SNAP chapter down here I attended. That’s what I’m writing about. You are going to re-counsel me better, and we’ll have a better one, that’s pretty much what you’re saying by offering to come down here on your dime. Here’s my twenty cents worth, then: The debate is whether the SNAP model for survivor/victim support and advocacy should be reflexively and universally copied, or is there some other model which might be more effective for a growing mass of survivors? I am a proponent of the latter side in this debate. Why-oh’- why would I take your side in the debate then, man? Why would I be compelled to build another train that I don’t think can run, or has some faulty tracks, or even that the tracks are leading out to the middle of nowhere in the desert? Counsel me on starting another chapter? Counsel me? Imagine that. A SNAP member “counseling” a fellow abuse survivor on the world-wide web [on possibly starting a new SNAP Chapter*] by YELLING AT HIM!!! A) That doesn’t look too good. B) Maybe you should delete your own posts, man. [* note – YELLING is NOT a good recruiting tool.]

    Counsel me? Your credentials as a counselor? Forget it for now, we’ll get back to that whenever.

    One question man, please. Whichever one is most important to you. And don’t YELL IT!

  102. Well this has been a real slice. To be honest, I am at the end of my willingness to sort through this debate. If you have a saved round on this topic, I suggest you find a civil way to express it and then move on.

    Bob, if you can take a moment from giving everyone on the opposing side of your argument a thumbs down on their posts, you still have not answered my question concerning the “information” you have aggressively pushed into this discussion thread. Your price for admission is to answer the question. Otherwise, move on. For everyone else, be civil or don’t expend the energy to post here.

    This small post has received a much larger response than I anticipated, and while I have learned a great deal from the discussion, I am moving on to other topics.

    My last say on this matter is this…. I have met some people in SNAP that are genuinely working hard to support victims. I have also met individuals who seem to have embraced the RCC model of intimidation and isolation of victims. I only wanted to point out that the leadership of the organization is stubbornly embracing a strategy that is not using technology or the power of a true network of survivors. It seems as if they want to maintain a dispersed group of victims. The national organization looks to have become a self licking ice cream cone. They are perpetuating the organization to keep the flow of cash coming in and to keep victims in the fold. Funny, that is very similar to the RCC model of keeping the faithful coming to the Sunday morning magic show and tithing a percentage of their income to keep the hierarchy living in high style.

    You all have one more shot at this post, then I will shut down this particular discussion thread.

  103. ol’ Kenny Schneider,
    Who said anything about creating a SNAP Chapter? What was said was helping create a “Survivor Support Group.”

    (Middle paragraph deleted by blog owner, who goes by Michael and not Mike.)

    In closing, my phone always available for verbal discussions about recovery from clergy sexual abuse. If you are concerned about long distance charges I’ll call you ! Bob Schwiderski 952-XXX-XXXX or

    (Note from Michael: I don’t post phone numbers, for obvious reasons, if you wish to get into contact with Bob, use the email for intial contact)

  104. I would like to know what it would take for us to have our questions answered and our concerns addressed. And thanks to Michael for taking the time to sort through all this. If he can find the time, I would think SNAP National could as well.

  105. Janet’s quote “And thanks to Michael for taking the time to sort through all this. If he can find the time, I would think SNAP National could as well.” Says it all.

  106. Thanks Mike for giving everyone the opportunity to speak their mind.

    It’s unfortunate that SNAP has to be such a stumbling block, that there are those who feel that you either agree with me about SNAP, or something is wrong with you.

    I don’t require anyone to make that choice, and I don’t think that anyone else who has issues with SNAP does either.

    There are those survivors however, who are intensely loyal to SNAP and they _do_ require that survivors make that choice, and that choice had better be very pro SNAP.

    If it’s not, then there is hate mail, and worse. I’ve seen some really lame stuff just recently that was circulated by a SNAP state leader regarding someone who didn’t make the “right” choice about SNAP.

    These people are intolerant of anyone who expresses the opinion that there is some evidence that SNAP is not what it claims to be…..intolerant to the point of trying to silence them with intimidation, ridicule and encouraging other survivors to ostracize them.

    Thus, the survivor community is and will likely remain divided over SNAP and all indications are that SNAP’s president and VP are fine with the situation.

    I have a lot more to say about this, but I’ll save it for the blog I’m starting in the near future. It’ll be linked at City of Angels once it’s up.

  107. If more of us start blogs, then when each of us releases a story, all the blogs in the network can run the headline and a few paragraphs. That way in Google and other search engines, the story will be there five times from five blogs, over a longer period of time, instead of just one time from one blog.
    Blogs are cheap, it’s some work, but it’s worth the effort, for the results you get. I mean, look at City of Angels.
    As for SNAP, since they act like I’m not here, I prefer to act like they are not here as well, and continue my work without them, I don’t need them.
    We are not crazy Catholics bashing SNAP. We are survivors, the people who SNAP is supposed to be wroking with and for, we are asking legitimate questions, raising legitimate problems. Yet, I doubt we will EVER see a response fromSNAP or answer from them.
    Not counting Schwiderski… after the videos he sent out about me last February, Schwiderski has no credibility.
    If an organization really wants things to go right, they listen to critics and make changes. It’s obvious SNAP wants to be exactly what they are.
    So I suggest, start more blogs, connect with each other, release information at each blog, each of us generating our own original news.
    And lo and behold we will have a network.
    And imagine how powerful and effective a genuine network could be.
    I’ll advise and help Anyone who wants to start a blog, it’s so easy, you won’t believe it. but it is work, so you have to be willing to do some work.
    Meanwhile, I’m tired of pointing out all SNAP’s faults when they do not appear to be paying attention, or willing to listen, or interested in improving. I figure people will figure this whole thing out at the pace they figure it out. And honestly… we don’t need SNAP. We’ll accomplish more without them.
    Pay attention, always consider the source, trust your instinct.
    I’m here to help you get a blog started
    kay ebeling

  108. I also say Thank You to Michael for giving everyone a chance to see a great Demonstration of just how nasty SNAP and their leaders get when someone opposes them. I still can figure out why they claim to have such strong connections with SNAP’s national figures, yet they still can’t get the answers to any of the much asked questuions? Am I the only one seeing the local leaders mirroring the same arrogant behavior that has been repeatedly displayed by $NAP National leaders?

    Ken, If you think the 8 thumbs down was bad enough, it looks like SNAPPERS have been plaguing this board in another low move that mirrors the RCC with another lame attempt to try to discredit victims from telling the truth. When there are more thumbs down than those who are actually posting, that is usually a tip off that something sneak and snapppy is going on. I sure makes you wonder what caliber of people who claim to be survivors of clergy abuse would actually give posts that have actual court documents proving of a Bishop being connected with hiding and moving a convicted pedophile a thumbs down, while also thumbs downing someone for us saying thanks for the conversation, but giving thumbs up to those posts that belittle and directly attack those who came forward with their sexual clergy abuse?

    Cynthia Falter, One of the main reason Judy Jones doesn’t realize the damage caused to survivors and how much animals help us cope is because she is not an actual survivor of any clergy abuse.

    SarahTX2, It was great hearing your concerns and if you would like to keep networking with us, please contact Kay at the City Of Angels blog and she can put you in reach with us and put you in our e-mail communications. This offer also goes out to Michael and anyone else who would like to actually network with other survivors.

    Greg, I really don’t agree with you catagorizing survivors as either being with SNAP or not with SNAP. That is actually quite childish and I don’t think survivors of clergy abuse should be catagorized in any fashion except recognizing them ALL as survivors. With remarks like that it looks like you want us divided just as bad as SNAP and the RCC does?

    Also the more you push the SNAP survivors VS. Non-SNAP survivors, you might also want to get into which Sneech is better debate. The Star Belly Sneeches or the plain belly Sneechs, What are the best Sneeches on the beaches? Then of course you’ll find your self in the middle of the great butter battle, until finally your in the middle of a Dr. Suess VS. Romper Room debate. In which Miss Judy Jones would have to use her same magic wand that she watches the Steubenville Ohio SNAP meetings through from her home in Missouri, and see each and every one of us as we type on the computer while I am sitting here in my underwear.

    We really do not need or deserve any more divisions or categorization because that is exactly what the pedophile vulchers did to us before they decided which child would be their next victim. Maybe if you were actually a survivor of clergy abuse you would have realized this before posting such nonsense?

    And finally Schwiderski, After seeing you attack another survivor of clergy abuse in your videos, you really give a new definition to the word low. Now that also gives me a little more understanding why you can’t get it through your head that if it wasn’t for your buddy Gumbleton, there wouldn’t be that many survivors in the Detroit area and nobody needs your type of help!

    Once again Michael, Thank You for your blog and giving us the time to stand up for ourselves. You now have my e-mail address and I hope that we can continue to network on our own without anyone setting any rules or sending any e-mails soliciting money. Thank You!

  109. Ironman, you mistake my position. I don’t force the choice “with SNAP” or “not with SNAP.” Precisely the opposite. I simply refuse the forced choice; that’s my point.

    At one time I accepted it. At two times, actually. First one way, than the other.

    Recall that you, I, and Az have been at one another’s throats at some points. Somewhere along the way, we’ve made peace on our common ground and realized that we don’t even have to agree to disagree. It just doesn’t matter.

    I can live with and work with SNAP (without being SNAP). You can’t. Different choices. That’s okay.

    I care more for you and AZ than I do about “fixing” SNAP (which I can’t do, anyway).

    Then again, I recognize the value of SNAP, imperfect though they may be. I don’t want to be in a world without it, or something like it, however imperfect it may be.

    Both move me closer towards my over-riding goals.

    Both are in huge measure more dedicated than I could ever hope to be.

    I don’t agree with everything Bob has said and done; the only thing I have a real problem with is the (now deleted) attack on Kay, who’s the salt of the earth. OK, but now it’s gone from YouTube.

    But if you look at what Bob has really achieved, which is to ensure that one of the most vicious, prolific, and un-accountable abusers in history, Rai Rose FSC, is called to account, I have to give him huge credit. I met Rose— he was nosing around at me on a visit to an FSC Pre-Novitiate in 1977. But bottom line, Bob is tireless, and he’s put his life on hold and on the line on behalf of survivors.

    I disagree strongly with what Phil Saviano did to and with the BBS. But I also recognize him as a pioneer without which the landscape might be considerably less survivor-friendly until now.

    We’ve all got our foibles, some of which are generated by having been betrayed in one way or another by the organization which was supposed to be our spiritual axis.

    We need to remember that.

    Especially when we’re inclined to attribute to malice what is adequately explained by a one-sided perspective, limited time, over-zealousness, getting caught up in the logistics, awkward leadership skills, etc.

    If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang seperately.

  110. I have not been able to read these comments today, and I hope I am in full communication with Kay by this weekend.

    No one is hanging separately.


  111. It seems to me we need a national truth telling session about our experiences with Snap. We victims didn’t wish to find fault with Snap, the faults were clearly there.I used to assume Snap leadership was stupid or over worked from the way they screwed up; but it was far worse. Not only did they steal money and trust, they stole my honor. When I stood behind them for a year holding their call Snap signs. Igave them credability and so did the other real victims. And I am very upset about this. Very! Schwiderski, calling or insinuating victims as being “damaged” “unstable” “ill” ad hominum attacks is unforgiveable. Who are these people casting stones? All we have are questions about policy.If Snap won’t answer victims who do they answer to? Why are some victems more “equal” than others? Posy on this blog have asked if we the questioners arn’t missing the real enemy. Snap is the real enemy.Just the other arm. Giving victims the one two punch. And by the way Bob S. I’ve known your brother for 20 years and I will gladly tell anyone , privately, his opinion of you. Sorry readers if that’s low but you get what you give.
    It took me years to come to my conclusions about Snap. It wasn’t over night. Iat firdt blamed myself, that i was so flawed I was reading them wrong. Butwhen I saw victims from the country come to the same conclusions, I thought again. I also couldn,t believe Victims could lie and obfuscate against other victims. Boy was I wrong. BB and DC always beg off criticism off their crap by saying ” We,re victims too” . and people would emathize and shut up. No more.
    fraud (

    n 1: intentional deception resulting in injury to another person
    2: a person who makes deceitful pretenses [syn: imposter, impostor,
    pretender, fake, faker, sham, shammer, pseudo,
    pseud, role player]
    3: something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended
    to gain an advantage [syn: fraudulence, dupery, hoax,
    humbug, put-on]

  112. Michael, Thank you for sharing your experience of SNAP. I, too, did not feel embraced by them with I came forward with my story of being abused. I was sexually assaulted by my campus minister during confession, while I was in college. He was the priest that was counseling me in my discernment to become a priest myself.

    For the next couple years (including the first two years I was in seminary), he sexually exploited me, all under the guise of priestly discernment and helping me to come to terms with my childhood sexual abuse by a pediatrician. It took me years to break out of that cycle of trauma and abuse. Thankfully, I broke away from him during major seminary and started to get some decent counseling after I was ordained a priest (in seminary I didn’t have much freedom in who I could see for counseling. My counselor had to be seminary approved).

    Two years after being ordained a priest, I told the bishop everything and it was covered up. This was in 2004, after the Dallas Charter. The campus minister continued in college ministry with access to students.

    When I called SNAP for help, I felt put off, because I was assaulted and exploited by a priest when I was in college, not as a child. I’ve not remained in touch with them. I also have left the church, and all religion behind, so I feel cut off from religious groups helping survivors.

    Perhaps, we could start a social network of our own for victims of priests to find one another and support one another, no matter what their current beliefs, and no matter what age they were when a trusted priest violated them for his own gratification.

    My blog is On it, I try to confront the hypocrisy of religious people who use their gods to preach hate.

    I’m thankful that I just discovered your blog. I look forward to reading it.

  113. Hello Tom,

    For whatever it’s worth, (and I would stipulate that all cases are different), but I believe that generally at least it’s much more difficult to to confront this if happens when one is an adult, or close to it.

    I think you should be commended for both your bravery and decision to leave the RCC. I’m glad you decided to post here and to learn about your blog.

    A short story,

    I was a fatherless child who loved planes. I would hang out at the airport and sweep hangers, wash and wax AC and other odd jobs for flying time.

    One day I met a man who invited me to go flying, he let me fly his plane and afterward invited me to his home. Flying his plane was analogous to driving a sports car on the autobahn, it had a powerful engine and retractable gear. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I had no clue that he would molest me. I was 15.

    Because this happened with a person other than the priest named in my case, an attorney representing the SD diocese sought to portray me as an experienced and knowledgeable person in the ways of homosexual love. She didn’t say I was prostitute but she inferred it.

    Perhaps I should start a naughty advice column and use the attorney’s words as a reference.

    I can imagine the flack you must get. But your words ring very true. I think your idea is a very good one. I cannot relate to religion anymore myself and the age that one is molested or taken advantage of should not be a factor. Neither should their sex or marital status at the time. These predators know how to manipulate their chosen victims no matter what demographic they are from. They are experts at it.

    Not that it matters, but I would guess that your decision to leave the church is probably why SNAP wasn’t happy with you as opposed to your age at the time you were abused.

    Peace, AZ

  114. Tom — I resonate strongly with what you’re saying, as a former candidate for the Christian Brothers. In retrospect it is fairly clear to me that the relationship between “vocational discernment” and “grooming for abuse” has been quite close. Indeed that many of the individuals who have put themselves forward as vocation or formation directors have done so specifically because they enjoyed the access and opportunity it gave them. People who’ve not been in the situation don’t appreciate just how pliable and vulnerable the devout and prayerful young person considering consecrated life really is. I hope you’ve found a kindred spirit in Rev. Bob Hoatson, whose experiences probably mirror your own.

    Tom and AZ— my own experiences with SNAP say that they do, in fact, embrace those who were victimized as adults or as late adolescents. I don’t deny your experiences of feeling marginalized of course. I just think that those distinguishing aspects (i.e., age or background at the time of the incidents) of your stories aren’t it.

    In fact, I think that it isn’t about you, or your stories at all, but rather about the organizational culture and default leadership style which I hashed above and won’t re-hash here.

  115. Hi Tom,

    My abuse story is similar- childhood abuse by non-cleric, and abuse by a priest at age 20 in a confession-type situation. I like your blog, but don’t like the photo of you as a priest- would you maybe consider changing that, or is that a part of your identity you choose to retain and reframe?

    Also, AZ, the treatment you received from the RCC attorney is so revolting. I consider the Catholic church to be a twisted distortion of the simple gospel of Jesus, and it just makes me sick how they behave, and yet so many stay with it.

  116. Janet, what you just mentioned makes about revolting treatment reminds me of our friend Joey Piscatelli. The RCC attorney tried to make hay of the fact that Joey had left the Church and become a Pagan.

    Which strikes me as a bit of a blunder, considering his ability to riposte that, yes, one of the things that Fr. Whelan robbed him of was his faith…

  117. So now Blaine is in England . Lucky them. You know , it dawned on me the other day about SNAP, Joelle, Mary Grant;Blaine , all attractive young women. Chosen for beauty in order to take the male on male rapes out of the picture ? Isn’t it roughly 80% male victims? Lets not have the public remember that figure. Snap makes the church appear heterosexual. Jusy part of its mission. The otherpart of the job to supercede all other thought about what victims want , to the world. Blaine in Britain, saying the same political line,” to protect the children.” The political line that wipes out, what happened to us. How wonderful for the church to have SNAP give it the questions the church wants to be asked.

  118. SNAP’s policy line and behavior really wipes allof us victims out. Re-purping SNAP’s ultimate “gift” to us. And’ as we victims in L.A. found out, No victims matter unless SNAP can use them or can lie to the planet that SNAP represents them. Just think the church’s idea about what we want being put forward by the “only” victims that count i.e. Barbra and David. Only the churchSNAP and the Nazi party fear Democracy. Who needs elections? Who needs to answer questions?

  119. Michael, I appreciate and applaud your story. I think blogs such as your own that keep this ongoing crisis alive are critical to the public. I hope survivors will continue to take the brave steps necessary to come forward. Keep writing!

  120. It’s interesting that someone can say SNAP operates on a “shoestring” budget when they have three full-time, highly paid employees and almost $1 million per year (though now down to just under $500,000) in funding. For “shoestring” think of The Hope of Survivors that operates with roughly $50,000 or less per year, though it’s been trying to build up major funding, and no fully paid staff. The Hope of Survivors does focus solely on helping victims heal, preventing clergy sexual abuse and providing educational resources and seminars – around the world. The organization has been trying to raise funds to establish a healing center, yet those funds do not come pouring in (only dribbles here and there), even though victim requests for such are numerous. The organization would love to be able to hire staff and full-time counselors, but is very thankful to all its volunteers who support victims for as long as needed. SNAP has been blessed with funds and staff. As a former counselor to many victims who had also contacted SNAP, I too have heard many sad stories of how they were treated and what was not beneficial for them. If you are disillusioned with some other nonprofit, why not consider supporting The Hope of Survivors? The testimonials on our website speak for themselves. Thank you.

    1. I can’t really agree with anything the author wrote. SNAP is a fantastic organization and I feel very fortunate to have been connected to them. To criticize them for being well-funded by lawyers who help victims is silly and confusing at best.

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