SNAP Abuse Victim Shocker: Settlement Lawyers ‘Took the Money and Ran’

Manuel Vega SNAP

Manuel Vega, SNAP

While abuse victim lawyers have often sought to portray themselves as sober and tireless champions of the afflicted, an alleged victim of Catholic clergy abuse has described a jubilant scene among contingency lawyers following the 2007 record-setting $660 million settlement in Los Angeles that "looked like a frat party."

The individual, former police officer Manuel Vega, says that some victorious attorneys "were even chest-bumping" at the news of their financial windfall.

Vega has long argued for the release of Church document files in Los Angeles, and he is upset because contingency lawyers and Church attorneys have yet to reach an agreement through a judge on the release of certain personnel records, as dictated in the 2007 settlement. Vega has now been arguing for the release of such files for nearly a decade.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a lot of Vega's anger is directed at the very lawyers who once represented victims like him. He feels that the self-righteous attorneys involved in the windfall settlement have essentially abandoned him on the issue that he finds most important.

"They took the money and ran," says Vega, according to the Times.

The Times quotes high-profile contingency lawyers John C. Manly, who once compared being a Catholic priest to being a train conductor carrying prisoners to Auschwitz, and Raymond P. Boucher, whose eye-popping earnings from abuse settlements have recently been disclosed.

A 2010 article from USC's Annenberg News identified Vega as a member of the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests).

It would be nice to see the media look into some of the statements and actions of some of these contingency lawyers who have profited so nicely from the Catholic Church in the past number of years.


  1. Uwe says:

    Is this a surpise to anyone that contingency lawyers are really only interested in the money? 
    But good to hav ethem outed here.
    When they say it is about "justice" it is really about the money.

    • Dai Yoshida says:

      Oh come on. It has always been about the money. Men like John C. Manly, dispite the ironic name, would never have taken the case if this was involving Bob's Storefront Church. The ambulance chasers only goes after deep-pocket organizations.

  2. Tony de New York says:

    Why is it that i am NOT suprise?

  3. Mike Malone says:

    What a shock…oooooohhhhh myyyyyy.  I'm betting David Clohessy ain't doing chest bumps now.  Before this is done SNAP will be exposed for the money grubbing, ambulance chasers they really are.

  4. Don S. says:

    …And so it goes.  You may notice that the sexual abuse in the public schools is ignored, because (according to the laws that the teachers' unions got passed) you can't sue the public schools.

  5. Publion says:

    It's a funny thing. To hear the SNAP folks tell it it was the bishops and 'pedophile priests' who were running nothing but an international conspiracy ring to abuse kids; and that there was a 'culture of rape' (that term has a familiar ring to it) in the Church. You could imagine the bishops and priests doing chest-bumps over champagne and single-malt, talking about whom they had raped and whom they planned to rape (like warlord soldiery bragging over brews about how many (fill in the blanks) they had offed recently.
    And all along it was the well-remunerated tort attorneys – aided and abetted by 'feeder' organizations supposedly working for persons claiming to have been abused – who were treating this whole thing as a sly but lucrative game.
    The 'New York Times' recently ran an article (April 17; 'Disabilities Act Used By Lawyers In Flood Of Suits') about disability-access cases where attorneys quietly targeted offending businesses (even small ones) for this or that offense (no ramps, ramps too narrow and so on). Then the attorneys trolled among disability advocacy groups for 'plaintiffs' and brought their cases (the law as written allows attorneys to collect their fees from the Defendants).
    But the 'Times' – can you imagine? – did not connect the dots to the game as it is played for far higher stakes in the Catholic abuse lawsuits.