This is Chapter 3, Chapter 2 is here and Chapter One here and all of it is in process of being written now (Oct. 2011).
We were happy the four or five of us that we had put together this media event on our own, that the Pope’s statements show so little concern about the kinds of sex crimes that had taken place against children in the Catholic Church, and how damaged we all were now as adults with that experience in our childhoods as a result of it.
We were in front of the L.A. Cathedral and we thought we were spontaneous, a group of survivors who’d just gotten in touch with each other and decided to picket in the same place all the SNAP media events had taken place in the previous seven years, though the group had recently disappeared from Los Angeles.
Finally maybe we'd get a chance to speak.
Then as the hour drew near, to all of our dismay, a guy showed up from SNAP to make the “official press statement” and it was like the news media had been informed only to talk to him.
I know this guy and only a week ago he had told me he hadn’t read anything about the pedophile priest issue in months maybe a year, he was so tired of it, and now here he was our designated spokesperson. Dutifully most of the survivors took a position behind him as he took the center stage, and all the news cameras and microphones pointed at him. We had announced the subject of the press statement was new victims coming forward in Europe and how these new allegations show that the Pope had been in collusion with the crime cover-ups for decades, each of us was brewing with rage and had plenty to say about it.
The SNAP spokesman takes control of the event and reads from the prepared statement: “To all the victims in Europe. We feel your pain.”
Not much more than that. “We feel your pain.”
An audible groan came out of me, and I went off to a spot of shade on the sidewalk and dropped out of the event, which resulted in a watered down version of our outrage being broadcast in the news. The rest of the group gathered at the cathedral, most having been raised as good Catholics who don't ask questions, stood dutifully behind the spokesman as he read again, “We feel your pain.” I wasn't raised Catholic after age 13.
"Do NOT write church officials. At best, it’s a waste of time. At worst, information you provide might be used against you or others." (From SNAP Spring 2011 Open letter to concerned PA citizens & Catholics)
They say "Do not write church officials" as they will use what you write to them against you. Instead write to SNAP.”
Problem is then SNAP keeps everything as secret as the church.
If I were the only victim to have a bad experience with SNAP I would not write this story today.
With about a hundred thousand victims in the USA of pedophile priests, why do only a handful appear when SNAP holds a media event? Where did everybody go?
May 12, 2008 1:00 PM Harrisburg Pa, capitol rotunda
Rally re HB1137 which will open a two window plus extend the SOL by 12 years. I called someone in PA:
"My pet peeve is we have all these groups that speak out and when it comes time to actually do anything their actions are nil.
"I called SNAP, I couldn't get anybody organized to go up there with me, if the people do not rally at the capitol, it will die in committee." (Ref WTFIT?)
(Insert here, what happened to Robert Costello's project when the Pope visited New York; the way SNAP defeated efforts by survivors to hold a vigil in Chicago Easter Weekend 2006; what SNAP leaders said to and about Jim Robertson after he made widespread news by handcuffing himself to Cardinal Mahony's throne at the L.A. Cathedral, and other ways SNAP stops any victims from doing activism outside SNAP's agenda and control.
And finally re The Hague, since German lawyers were alreday working to prosecute the Pope at the International Criminal Court, and efforts were already underway to have victims contact the ICC, why didn't SNAP mention, in its September 2011 media blitz, any of that work to prosecute the Pope that was already in progress?)
'SNAP tries to malign me, and as far as I'm concerned, tries to malign anybody that gets between them and a TV camera or microphone.'
(Once again, I find in my notes, I'm talking to a survivor about “our issue” and without provocation or prompting, the survivor starts talking about their problem with SNAP to me. I’ve changed the location of the interview quoted here, and hidden the speaker’s identity, because he relates an incident similar to what I heard from people in several cities.)
A pattern repeated by SNAP in city after city:
Words of One Unidentified Survivor:
We have a very bad problem with SNAP so we created our own meeting, we call ourselves -------------
One of the women that came to the meeting when it was a SNAP meeting wasn’t a survivor. She was very hostile towards members and when I brought this to the co-chair’s attention, I said, a lot of the members are complaining about this woman. But the co-chair wouldn't agree to tell her to stop coming.
We had to start an additional meeting.
Barbara Dorris came into the picture and said that's not going to happen. (Dorris, of St. Louis, is SNAP Outreach Director.)
We said we voted on it.
She said call yourself whatever you want but you're not SNAP, then she started to accuse us of tax evasion and misrepresenting ourselves as SNAP leaders.
We're more about healing than hurting people.
We don't want anything more to do with SNAP.
We'll support them to out a priest but...
COFA: WHO WAS THE WOMAN AT THE MEETINGS?
This woman, she was part of Voice of the Faithful and I guess has a very big ax to grind with the Church and joined us because she felt SNAP was more involved in confronting the Church.
Then in meetings she would challenge people, speak sarcastically to the survivors who were sharing.
She’d taunt, I’d say, you gotta stop, if you don't agree, tell me or them after.
The local SNAP leader then wouldn't do anything about it.
It was just- we had to start a new group, we're still reaching out to other survivors.
SNAP tries to malign me, and as far as I'm concerned, tries to malign anybody that gets between them and a TV camera or microphone.
They're intimidated by people like you and me and others that speak out and sometimes speak out louder than SNAP does, SNAP doesn't like that.
You have to realize who you're dealing with, I know enough about SNAP that I know I'm not going to align myself-
Then on their website months later they still had the old meeting at a different place. I called Barbara Dorris, and said, you have survivors that could be going to the wrong building where we don't meet. She says, I’ll take care of it, but the thing is, the wrong address had been up there on the SNAP website for months.
(From November 2007 interview with DOEM of Pennsylvania:)
COFA: IS THERE AN ACTIVE SNAP GROUP BACK THERE?
DOEM: You know what I initially met with the president when we were even heavier in the media, probably around 2002?
DOEM: No it was Clohessy and I wasn’t very thrilled with his follow through as far as Pennsylvania, you know. But it’s an entity in itself and wherever their focus may be I don't know.
COFA: SO SNAP ISN’T PART OF YOUR STORY AT ALL?
DOEM: No, that's just it. I mean, I just recently discovered there was a guy that handled a chapter for SNAP and he went off and spun off his own, you know, survivor network you might say. It’s just I don't know. Hold on- [OFF TOPIC CONVERSATION]
(DOEM in follow-up 2011: Re SNAP in pa, "There is no ongoing group, nobody has ever followed up with us.")
Woman survivor who had dropped out by April 2008:
Sol in Ohio, their [SNAP] tactics wrecked it. They didn't do what they did in Boston. We wanted it abolished, but at least we got length of time extended,
But folks in Boston engaged all the groups who were victims...
Also from April 2008:
Spoke with GG, one of the L.A. plaintiffs, on April 16 in the evening. I called him as he was once an L.A. contact with SNAP. I wanted him to help me find persons involved with the Salesian trial. [GG is not his real initials.]
We were talking about the upcoming trial when he volunteered almost off topic that he’d gotten a bad taste about SNAP. He’d been an activist with them for years.
One Sunday evening a while after the settlements went out, he got a call from Clohessy and Blaine saying, hi, we just showed up at the airport, let’s meet someplace for dinner, you name the place.
GG felt flattered that Clohessy and Blaine would be wanting to meet him, so packed up, left his family for the night, and met with Clohessy and Blaine for what turned into a sales pitch, complete with “So tell me how much will you be donating this evening,” type pressure used as a sales closing technique. [NOTE: L.A. plaintiffs got settlement checks in early 2008, averaging $1.2 million each.]
GG felt it was Tacky and as he described it, so did I. So tacky it could have been designed to turn people off and be tacky. Clohessy and Blaine apparently raised little money on that trip, instead turned off GG. He said he made lots of recommendations on better ways to raise money and Clohessy and Blaine said, great, we'll meet soon and do all that, and never talked to him about it again, although he did make several appearances for SNAP, including travel at his own expense. They never entertained an idea he put forward.
The image of SNAP leaders appearing at plaintiffs' doors fundraising brought to my mind this image from The Others
Then I started thinking, when people got settlements, SNAP would be there hands out almost demanding donations from the settlements. Then SNAP keeps its financial stuff pretty secret, you never really know how much comes in and where it goes...
What a perfect setup for a crime syndicate. Pay out settlements in lawsuits to be forgiven your crimes, then strong-arm the plaintiffs for big chunks of that cash back, through an illusive and indistinct nonprofit.
Get the cash back, as much of it as you can, like a Mario Puzo godfather...
In a January 2008 interview (to be published early 2012) Jim Robertson told CofA:
SNAP was going to ask the cardinal to dedicate one of the chapels in the new cathedral to the victims.
But the cardinal jumped the gun.
He found out we were going to make a request, and he dedicated a chapel to the victims without talking to any victims.
We went down to the cathedral and the cardinal is putting a cross in the chapel for victims but that's an event once again designed to make the church look good and nothing for us.
That's when we started to get pissed off
I asked Jim Robertson what happened with SNAP after he handcuffed himself to Roger Mahony’s throne in July of 2005 on the altar of L.A. Cathedral. Hearings about the misdemeanor Disturbing a Religious Gathering began two months later and Jim’s case was going set to go to trial in December.
CofA: HOW SUPPORTIVE WAS SNAP?
I was attacked for three hours on the phone by Mary Grant.
8 AM the day after, I get a phone call -- I’d been getting lots of calls, in fact I’d been doing interviews, I did the early AM drive time radio interviews. There had been a camera crew there filming the Mass, and the incident was on CNN but I didn't know that would happen. Amy Berg was there interviewing for her film.
Anyway, Mary Grant calls next day and says, I just want you to know you ruined the demonstration and so many people are angry
She said, So many people are angry and they're never coming back because of what you did.
Then David Clohessy wrote that this demonstration was spoiled by one person’s selfish gesture, and it was passed out at the next “support group” meeting at Grant’s house.
They put this out about me after the event.
Yeah, Grant calls me after the demonstration and her tirade goes on for three hours
They were all cheering me when I passed by in the squad car.
But here’s Mary Grant telling me I had fucked up.
Done a bad thing to the movement.
I tried to reason with her, I had no idea all these people would show up. If anybody was offended, I'm sorry, but I had no idea they were offended.
In the end, I said, if anybody needs me to apologize give them my phone number
In the next three years no one ever, ever, ever told me they were angry at me for handcuffing myself to Mahony’s throne.
A new friend in Albuquerque late 2010 is source of this exclusive photo at City of Angels Blog, from the day in July 2005 when Jim Robertson (pictured left) when he handcuffed himself to the throne-like chair on the L.A. Cathedral altar reserved for the Cardinal. The incident was part of demonstrations re the L.A. Clergy Cases, most of which settled in July 2007.
Jim talks a bit about the experience in a 2008 interview quoted below.
Photo comes by way of two plaintiffs in the L.A. cases, one lives in Albuquerque the other in L.A. (how those priests did get around). Read more here http://cityofangels8.blogspot.com/2010/12/photo-jim-robertson-cuffed-to-mahony-on.html )
Me, I'm wondering, who gave SNAP authority? We had started out as a grass roots movement, but now these people from St. Louis are in charge? Who put them in charge and who is their boss?.
Somehow the Cardinal in L.A. always knew in advance what SNAP would be doing. (Write here the CNN experience in 2010)
The more I learned over four years interviewing pedophile priest victims,
the thought of how much evil it would take to pull off this entire false advocates scenario sickened me.
In CofA Blog notes from June 2008 or thereabouts:
Can I run this?
I don't think it’s any accident that the first time I broke through and wrote a negative paragraph about SNAP it was in the same post as Thousands more children will be raped by priests "
In that post I wrote: “The organization that produced more than four thousand pedophile priest felons and is not being thoroughly investigated is the Catholic Church"
In the same post I wrote: "But SNAP only appears to be there for those crime victims with lawsuits."
BECAUSE both the Church and SNAP had the same goal in their efforts in the USA from the mid-1980s to present:
In the end the civil lawssuits across the country made survivors look like we're all just out for money
In the end the persons who get money from the church retreat after being warned by SNAP about friends who come out of the woodwork, asking for cash, after you get a settlement.
In the end lawsuits pit plaintiff against plaintiff and plaintiffs against survivors not able to be a plaintiff, not necessarily a personality thing. It's just the difference in the financial status of victims who get settlements and those who don't that makes us not be able to interact with each other anymore.
In the end lawsuits perpetuate secrecy about these crimes
In the end lawsuits pit plaintiff against plaintiff as they ended up competing for their share of cash, so were afraid to let another plaintiff know how much cash they got, so dropped out of any movement that was developing.
-- The reason both church and SNAP policy that hurt victims came up in the same story is they are connected
At the top
WHY CAN’T OTHER PEOPLE SEE IT????
Above: (Soundtrack for 1969 story that used to be at this link but has now moved to a work platform for rewrites.)
More stuff found in files:
Not going to say who said this, but I can attest it was someone with a lot of experience.
"1st SNAP convention 2003 was in a St. Louis hotel, Blaine et al stayed in a different better hotel, away from the bulk of survivors."
Blaine was in Tampa with Dutch Film crew in 2010. (Doesn't any reporter think it's strange that she’s almost always standing there alone running a “network”? Where are the rest of the hundred thousand of us?)