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Church Redress Further Fails Abuse Survivors. Complainant In Pastoral Healing Process Receives Letter From Church Lawyer

24 June 2024
[...]  SNAP reports that one APTH complainant recently received a letter from a lawyer instructed by both NSPSC and NOPS threatening to “discontinue the inquiry into your complaints,” after the complainant questioned NOPS’s handling of the investigative process.

The complainant claimed, “investigators were prevented by NOPS from gathering the evidence and making the necessary inquiries.” 
Read here the full article.

Greater Accountability for Church Leaders is needed

It was 07 July 2014, almost exactly 10 years ago, when Pope Francis first met with survivors of sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy. Pope Francis had been pope for just over a year and much hope was put in him.

After spending more than three hours with six survivors, Pope Francis vowed “not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not,” and declared that bishops would be held accountable for protecting minors. He said the abuse scandals had had “a toxic effect on faith and hope in God.”

One of the selected survivors who spoke with Pope Francis on that day had told him that “the church needed greater accountability, and that she would not feel as though progress had been made until bishops who covered up the abuse had been removed.”

Pope Francis’ meeting with the survivors and his strong words were certainly a shock for some Catholics who believed that all accusations against clergy and religious had been a witch hunt. However, for survivors and their families it had been a sign of hope.

What has happened since? Did Pope Francis believe he could sweep the Church clean of a few perpetrators?
The scandals are mounting. The doubts of proper investigations by Vatican officials are strong.

How long will it take the hierarchy to really address the issues and stop the cover-up and instead actively clean up the current mess, and give victims, survivors and their families the dignity of being believed and supported by the institution that had failed them – even if it is decades later…

Read more about the hopes from 2014, including comments from SNAP member Mary Caplan, who was interviewed at the time.

Here is a video that was created then - certainly in the hope that survivors would finally be heard and believed.

How do we feel now, 10 years later, when we read about NZ Cardinal Dew, accused of child sexual assault, who can resume public Church activities after Vatican investigations that were allegedly carried out - without even listening to the alleged survivors?

Barbara Taylor
Survivors Support Director
SNAP Aotearoa New Zealand

Troubling Vatican Investigation Into Cardinal John Dew Abuse Allegations –
“There Were No Inquiries” Report Survivors

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Aotearoa New Zealand, is concerned that no inquiries were made by Vatican officials into child sexual assault allegations against Cardinal John Dew.


“This is just another case of the Church claiming it conducted an investigation,” reports SNAP Aotearoa spokesperson Donald McLeish.


Given that no details are known about the Vatican’s presumed investigation, and neither the complainants themselves nor any other key persons outside the church were ever contacted, it is questionable that any investigation actually occurred.


SNAP believes the Vatican may have simply accepted the Police’s current position and aligned its viewpoint accordingly.


SNAP holds that a major part of the evidence is the complainants' testimony and life experience, and that Church standards must supplement those of civil law enforcement.


SNAP is aware that the Police investigation remains open at this time, as it is not uncommon in cases of historical child sexual abuse that there is insufficient evidence at first to lay charges. Often more evidence comes to light over time as other victims find the courage to come forward.


SNAP is also aware of another police report in which Cardinal Dew is named as having committed psychological abuse of vulnerable people in the Catholic Church.


Contrary to earlier claims made by the Cardinal—that priests at St. Joseph’s presbytery did not go to the nearby St. Joseph’s Orphanage, SNAP members have reported seeing priests at the orphanage. There was even a priest's office at the orphanage, which is now believed to be a place where the alleged offending occurred.


SNAP is aware that the Carvell complaint involved three priests and a nun. While one priest is dead, the third priest named in the Carvell report has avoided public scrutiny. Yet he is accused of the same crimes as the Cardinal and is subject to the same safeguarding protocols. But he was not stood down by his bishop, John Adams.


According to SNAP, secrecy, silence, and concealment around church investigations into allegations of priests sexually violating children fuels the church’s coverup, leaves society questioning church leaders’ motives, and further harms the survivors. “We no longer live in a time when it is appropriate to be secretive about dealing with clergy child sexual abuse complaints,” reports SNAP in response to the Vatican’s investigation.


SNAP Aotearoa calls for more transparency, accountability, and a survivor-centred response.


As an independent network, SNAP continues to support all survivors of faith-based and institutional abuse.





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