This is Part I of a TheMediaReport.com Special Report. For Part II, go here.
Are the current criminal charges against Catholic clergy in Philadelphia the fruits of an active collaboration between the city's District Attorney's Office and the bitter, anti-Church advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)?
At first, such a startling question may sound ridiculous and paranoidal. However, TheMediaReport.com has uncovered eye-opening evidence – including video – suggesting close collaboration between the two parties in the past several years.
1. In 2006, John Salveson, who was head of the Philadelphia chapter of SNAP, decided to form his own organization called "The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse Inc." (FACSA).
Among Salveson's first actions at his new group was assigning Mariana C. Sorensen to his board of directors. (See a news brief about this.)
Who is Mariana Sorensen? She is an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia and is the current prosecutor in the criminal cases against Catholic clergy. She was also the lead author of both the 2005 and 2011 Philadelphia grand jury reports against the Catholic Church.
Like those at SNAP, Sorensen has a well-established record of hostility against the Catholic Church in her actions and writings. (For much more on this, see TheMediaReport.com Special Report, "Who is Mariana Sorensen?" (Aug. 2011).)
2. A year later, a video from September 25, 2007, shows Salveson, Philly Ass't. D.A. Sorensen, and leaders of SNAP together in collaboration.
Yeshiva University law professor Marci A. Hamilton, a lawyer with a deep animus for the Church who has worked extensively with SNAP, convened a conference in New York City ("Call to Action"). The meeting's purpose was to advance legislative efforts to lift statutes of limitations for abuse claims in states across the country.
As the video below shows, Hamilton offered some remarks at her conference about the mission's efforts. She then introduced current and former leaders of SNAP, including Barbara Blaine, the founder and president of SNAP; and John Salveson.
Directly after this, Hamilton introduced Mariana Sorensen (Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney) and Charles F. Gallagher III, Philadelphia Deputy District Attorney (at the time).
Hamilton prefaced her introduction of the two Philly prosecutors by saying that the Philadelphia District Attorney's office "has been – by far – the best D.A.'s office in the country."
So here is a lawyer for SNAP openly praising the Philadelphia D.A.'s office during a close, collaborative endeavor.
|VIDEO: September 25, 2007, New York City: SNAP lawyer Marci Hamilton
touts SNAP leaders, declares Philly "the best D.A.'s office in the country."
|NOTE: The graphics/captions on the video are not mine.
They come from a video elsewhere.
Note that Mariana Sorensen's name is misspelled as "Marianna Sorenson."
[By the way, several notable attorneys were also in attendance at Marci's gathering. All of these have made BIG bucks suing the Catholic Church: NY's Michael G. Dowd, NJ's Stephen C. Rubino, Boston's Mitchell Garabedian, and NY's John Aretakis. (A note on Aretakis: In 2008, the State of New York actually suspended his law license for one year. The court cited numerous reasons, including that Aretakis "knowingly made false statements of law and fact," "engaged in undignified and discourteous conduct," and "asserted positions which served to harass and maliciously injure." In 2007, when a judge sanctioned Aretakis, the jurist specifically cited Aretakis' "personal vendetta" against the Catholic Church.)]
In Part II of this Special Report, TheMediaReport.com uncovers even more collaboration between individuals in the Philadelphia D.A.'s Office and SNAP. Check it out.