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SNAP continues to fight disclosure

January 20, 2012

Leaders of an organization representing sex-abuse victims claim that their group is fighting for its life, in the face of a court order requiring disclosure of its internal documents.

SNAP—the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests—continues to fight against a subpoena calling for the documents, which was issued in connection with a lawsuit against a Kansas City priest. David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP, says that the subpoena would require the group to identify victims of molestation: a step that SNAP refuses to take. Clohessy also admitted that if the subpoena is enforced in the Missouri case, SNAP is likely to face dozens of other demands for documents, and the expense could be devastating to the group.

The refusal of SNAP to disclose information carries some irony, since the group has persistently criticized Catholic bishops for their reluctance to open confidential diocesan files. Clohessy told the National Catholic Reporter that he sees “two standards of transparency.” The standards of candor that SNAP expects of Catholic dioceses, he explained, should not be applied to groups working with victims of abuse.

In a related development, a Missouri judge has unsealed the testimony given by Clohessy in a 6-hour deposition in connection with the lawsuit against the Kansas City priest. Clohessy gave that testimony only after fighting against the attempt to depose him; he eventually lost that battle in the Missouri Supreme Court.


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  • Posted by: veniteadoremus1822 - Jan. 21, 2012 6:38 PM ET USA

    Much like the ACLU, SNAP has lost sight of its original purpose and is now driven by two primary motivations: money and anti-Catholic bigotry. It is no small irony that an organization that once sought greater transparency and accountability in the Catholic Church is now among the least transparent and accountable of all victims' organizations. Sad and unfortunate.

  • Posted by: RamseyDonald2557 - Jan. 20, 2012 8:19 PM ET USA

    SNAP doesn't want to disclose internal documents? Could the reason be possibly, the possibility that some in this group may knowingly be falsely accusing many priests? I have to wonder. And if they are, that is heinous, and they should be nailed to the wall for such a thing.