SNAP Issues Another Dishonest Press Release

[HT: Catholic League] The advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has issued yet another dishonest press release (8/4/11) containing a number of falsehoods and misleading claims.

The entire episode involves the recent arrest of an 87-year old New York priest accused of inappropriately touching a 16-year-old girl in the last couple of weeks at his parish.

Among SNAP's dishonest claims:

1. "[New York Archbishop Timothy] Dolan could and should have disclosed [the priest's] arrest and warned parents, parishioners and the public about him. Instead, only through the news media did [the priest's] arrest become known."

The truth is that a television media outlet (NY's PIX11) was on hand to record the police taking the priest out of a Bronx detective station and into a police car. The news spread just minutes later.

Archbishop Dolan had no way at all of knowing that a priest was about to be arrested or was in the process of being arrested. For obvious reasons, the police do not give third parties advance notice that a person will be booked.

SNAP's claim is dishonest at best, misleading at worst.

2. "Just like Dolan did with Msgr. Wallace Harris, he's acting secretively now in a child sex case."

As The Catholic League pointed out, it was Archbishop Dolan's predecessor (Edward Cardinal Egan) who handled the case of Msgr. Harris. Cardinal Egan immediately notified law enforcement and removed the man from ministry. (The accusation involved a claim from decades earlier.)

Normally, an organization would issue a correction after making such an obvious error in fact. Judging from the crooked character of SNAP, it likely will not.

3. "Some crimes require physical strength or speed. Not pedophilia."

Whether or not SNAP's claim is true is not the issue. As The Catholic League pointed out, neither this recent case nor the case of Msgr. Harris have anything to do with "pedophilia." In both cases the accusations involve claims happening as teenagers.

4. "We urge [Archbishop Doan] to personally visit every parish where [the recently arrested priest] worked, begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes to contact police and prosecutors."

David Clohessy is the national director of SNAP, and his brother is Kevin Clohessy. Kevin was (still is?) a Catholic priest who was removed from ministry for abusing innocent boys. It has been reported that in the early 1990's David "had known for years about the allegations and agonized over whether to report his brother to authorities." He didn't.

Has David visited every parish where Kevin worked, "begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes to contact police and prosecutors"?

Just askin'.