A callous disregard for victims. Financial kickbacks from Church-suing tort lawyers. Retaliation.
A stunning new civil lawsuit filed in Illinois by a former insider at SNAP confirms what many of us have known all along: SNAP is not an organization designed to help victims of clergy sex abuse but a gang hellbent on shaking down the Catholic Church through a seedy web of lawyer kickback schemes, lawsuits, and bigotry.
Dennis Coday at the National Catholic Reporter was the first to report the news of this stunning lawsuit.
Gretchen Hammond was hired by SNAP in 2011 as director of development to oversee the group's fundraising operations and to boost cash inflow to the group. Ms. Hammond did so with great success, but the more she learned about the inner workings of SNAP, the more she came to learn that SNAP was not simply an innocent "victim advocacy group." Hammond began "collecting documents in preparation of exposing SNAP's acceptance of kickbacks from attorneys."
And as the lawsuit asserts, when Ms. Hammond confronted SNAP president Barbara Blaine about her concerns about SNAP's dealings with attorneys, "the atmosphere changed at SNAP for [Hammond]," "SNAP began taking retaliatory actions against [Hammond]," and the group soon fired her. Indeed, the lawsuit is a must-read. Among the eye-openers in the suit:
- "SNAP does not focus on protecting or helping victims – it exploits them."
- "SNAP routinely accepts financial kickbacks in the form of donations. In exchange for the kickbacks, SNAP refers survivors as potential clients to attorneys, who then file lawsuits on behalf of the survivors against the Catholic Church."
- "SNAP is a commercial operation motivated by its directors' and officers' personal animus against the Catholic Church."
- "SNAP's commercial operation is premised upon farming out abuse survivors as clients for attorneys."
- "SNAP callously disregards the real interests of victims, using them instead as props and tools as furtherance of their commercial fundraising goals."
- "SNAP would even ignore survivors that reached out to SNAP in search of assistance and counseling."
- "81.5% of SNAP's 2007 donations were donations by attorneys."
Indeed, regarding SNAP's slippery dealings with attorneys, the lawsuit highlights a November 2012 email in which, according to the lawsuit, SNAP National Director David Clohessy "provided information regarding a survivor to the attorney for the purposes of filing a lawsuit on behalf of the survivor … [and then] asked the attorney when SNAP could expect a donation." Of course.
The email that says it all
For many years, we at TheMediaReport.com have asserted that SNAP's activities have had almost nothing to do with the protection of children and everything to do with bludgeoning the Catholic Church for what it stands for.
Well, Hammond's lawsuit showcases an actual email message composed by Clohessy that clearly proves our claim once again. In a 2011 email exchange, Clohessy wrote:
"i sure hope you DO pursue the WI [Wisconsin] bankruptcy … Every nickle (sic) they don't have is a nickle (sic) that they can't spend on defense lawyers, PR staff, gay-bashing, women-hating, contraceptive-battling, etc."
This lawsuit is the single largest revelation in the Catholic Church sex abuse story in years. We highly urge readers to read the actual lawsuit for themselves and spread the word.
We also wish Ms. Hammond all the best with her courageous lawsuit.