In a clear violation of its own stated beliefs, the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) did not immediately notify law or church authorities when it received information that an admitted molester was still serving in active ministry.
When Joelle Casteix, the Southwest Director of SNAP, recently received information that Rev. Martin P. O'Loghlen was serving as an associate pastor in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, she did not take the news to law enforcement. Neither did she rush to notify his employer. Rather, in an effort to create maximum embarrassment to the Catholic Church, she took her knowledge to the New York Times. The Times then proceeded to trumpet a story.
By SNAP's own measure, Casteix's actions endangered children. Here is what SNAP's president, Barbara Blaine, wrote in January of 2010 (emphasis mine):
When a child sex abuse report is deemed credible, it is reckless to delay disclosing it for almost any reason, even for one day (especially if the accused is alive and in a parish) … Such delays give possible criminals ample time to destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, intimidate witnesses, threaten victims, and even flee the country …
If a credible child sex abuse report is made on Monday, it's selfish, irresponsible and dangerous for a bishop to hide this information until next Sunday's masses.
Months later, in another press release, Blaine added:
"Silence protects predators. Silence endangers children. So please don't be silent. Speak up."
In other words, by SNAP's own standards, Casteix's actions were "reckless," "selfish," "irresponsible," and "dangerous." In addition, according to SNAP's own beliefs, Casteix's behavior "endangered children."
In recent years, many people have begun to question the true motivations of SNAP.
This recent episode is very revealing. Rather than taking immediate action to remove a credibly accused molester from active ministry as quickly as possible, it took the story to the New York Times, which may have delayed the removal of the priest for days.
What was the priority and motivation behind SNAP's actions in this case? Humiliating the Church or protecting children? The answer is obvious.
This episode also makes clear that SNAP does not live up to the same standards that it demands of the Church. This, quite frankly, is unfortunate.
Don't victims deserve better?
For a clear account of the case of Fr. O’Loghlen, see the February 11, 2011, statement by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
(By the way, this is not the first time a member of SNAP has failed to take action against a suspected child molester. It has been reported that back in the early 1990's David Clohessy, the national director of SNAP, did not call police when he received credible information that his brother – Kevin, a Catholic priest – was abusing boys. Clohessy did not notify Church officials, either. Regarding his inaction, David has stated, "It will be a quandary until the day I die." (There is more about this episode is in my book, Double Standard.))