SNAP Misses Beam in Its Own Eye While Demanding That Philly Priest be ‘Defrocked’

David Clohessy

Blurry vision: SNAP National Director David Clohessy

In a letter to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, the hysterical anti-Catholic group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is now demanding that 61-year-old Msgr. William Lynn, recently acquitted of three criminal charges but found guilty of a single third-degree child endangerment charge from actions nearly two decades ago, be "defrocked" from the priesthood.

SNAP claims, "This (request) is not about being vindictive," yet common sense suggests otherwise.

If SNAP really wanted to see discipline for those who have failed to report cases of suspected abusive priests, it should start by looking into disturbing episodes from within its own organization. As we have reported before:

  • SNAP National Director David Clohessy fully knew in the early 1990's of allegations that his brother, Kevin – a Catholic priest – was sexually abusing innocent boys.
    For two decades, David Clohessy has been railing against Church leaders for allegedly not calling authorities when becoming aware of suspected abuse by priests. Meanwhile, Clohessy himself did not report his own brother to authorities, and he may very well have jeopardized the safety of numerous innocent children by his admitted inaction … [Read more]
  • According to SNAP's own standards, it is "reckless" to delay reporting a suspected priest to the police "even for one day." Yet when SNAP received word in February 2010 that a Los Angeles-area priest who admitted the abuse of 16-year-old girl in 1966 was still in ministry, it did not call the police. Neither did it call the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Instead, rather than protect children, it called its allies at the New York Times in order to trumpet a big media story … [Read more]
  • SNAP's "Outreach Director" Barbara Dorris has publicly claimed that in 1991 she walked in on a priest molesting an innocent girl. Yet she has refused to this day to publicly identify the priest. Why? Doesn't her apparent inaction endanger children? … [Read more]

What disciplinary measures has SNAP taken against its own leaders for their own admitted inactions and failures to protect children? Why has SNAP demanded accountability from others while denying accountability for itself?

SNAP may first want to work on addressing its own dangerous actions before worrying about the internal affairs of other organizations. And if SNAP were really about protecting children – and the evidence continues to mount that left-wing politics is actually its real concern – it would cease its hypocritical practice of "Do what I say, not as I do."


  1. Publion says:

    The case still has to go to appeal. And given the fact that there seems to be a significant possibility of reversal (Lynn was prosecuted under a statute revised-expanded in 2007 for actions that predated that revision, which raises ex-post-facto issues), then any such action as involuntary laicization is surely premature.
    Additionally, there is a rather significant question as to whether the actions for which Lynn has been convicted rise to laicization-worthy material, even if all possible legal appeals in the criminal-justice arena fail.
    This SNAP proposal strikes me as grand-standing. But really, what's surprising? If the whole thing has been a show-trial drummed up to create a new Phase in the 'crisis', then SNAP is going to have to play the game with the few cards dealt to it by the outcome of the trial. SNAP has to play to its own 'bases'.
    I think the larger question is just how much further its political backers – who went along with the SNAP agenda for their own purposes – will travel down this road.
    In the meantime, the SNAP gameplan must be to continually try to keep the pot boiling.
    Just how much the Catholic faithful will tolerate, and just how much the Pennsylvania taxpayers will tolerate, remains to be seen. As always, it seems that SNAP remains a small – though vividly noisy – group; as was seen at what was supposed to be its 10th-anniversary-of-the-crisis 'victory lap' general conference in Boston in January, less than a hundred people showed up, including speakers and staffers. It reminds me of Oz, and yet an Oz dependent upon continued media interest (for the media's own purposes); clanking machinery and smoke and mirrors beneath a facade of influence and importance.
    But a desperate Oz: there was a lot riding on this trial, and the trial has proven to have been a long, slow-motion misfire rather than the slam-dunk total 'victory' that had been trumpeted for so long.

    • Do you think that the defense of Monsignor Lynn and two priests accused of Pedophilia was worth $11,000.000 to the parishioners of Philly?  Now, how much is an Appeals going to cost the good parishioners of Philly?  Monsignor Lynn isn't out of hot water yet.  After he spends a couple of weeks in jail, he just might try to make a deal with the courts to tell them all that he knew about the coverups in Philly!  It's not over till it's over!  And, even though Monsignor Lynn isn't "the Fat Lady," I predict that he will start singing like a bird, when he realizes that spending a few years in jail isn't the way in which he wanted to retire from the priesthood.

  2. Ed says:

    Does anything surprise anymore with repect to these self righteous yahoos from SNAP?

  3. If it were not for SNAP Pedophile Priests would still be molesting kids, right and left and Monsignors, bishops, archbishops and cardinals would be covering up for them and shuffling them from parish to parish and often country to country, as was the case with Fr. Brendan Smyth, who abused over 100 boys and girls in Ireland, the USA and in Wales!  My hat it off to the members of SNAP!  They are my heroes!

    • Ken W. says:

      Jeannie, even if the very worst of secular allegations is true, the level of abuse within the Catholic was (past tense!) microscopic compared to society as a whole. And even at that level, long before SNAP caught the ear of the press, a younger Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger saw it as too much, and he made sweeping moves to  enforce the canon laws already in place, extend his jursidiction to local dioceses that the CDF did not previously have, cleaned up a few rogue seminaries, and SOOOOO effectively beefed up the vetting process of any incoming seminarian that felt called to be a priest, that if ANY candidate for the priesthood had ANYTHING in his psychological make up that indicated he was prone to be an abuser, that tendency WILL BE REVEALED IN THE VETTING PROCESS, and the door will be slammed shut in the candidate's face! While you guys are demanding that the pope pluck a microscopic few remaining dying weeds out of the garden, the pope has, in wisdom that is far superior to either yours or mine, tended to the very soil that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a weed to take root in the first place! And guess what: if a weed does take root, it's not his job to pluck it. It's not even the bishop's job to pluck it. That job belongs to US! 
      No other organization on the face of the planet has been that thorough in approach to a permanent solution to a problem that permeates all of society. The public school system has not. The Boy Scouts of America have not. Orthodox Judaism has not. Heck, even SNAP has not, as evidenced by their passive attutude towards Clohessy's brother and Dr. Steve Taylor. The Southern Baptist Convention, whose problem is far more severe and relevant to our time, is just now starting to figure it out, and has adopted an approach modeled very similar to the one the Catholic Church has taken. The evidence of the effectiveness of Cardinal Ratzinger's approach is the sharp downward trend of accusations. SNAP's relevance is dying a very rapid death. Unless they shift their attention to where molesters are IN OUR PRESENT TIME.  
      The SNAP mindset creates a dangerous mindset that results in a myopic tunnel vision that chases 30 year old ghosts that may or may not exist while ignoring the real living and breathing monsters AMONG YOURSELVES! That same mindset unabashedly says that it is OK to falsely accuse any given priest when the allegations are questionable. That same mindset says that it is OK to presume the guilt of any accused priest, regardless if said priest maintains his innocence and stands ready to face his accuser and give account for hinself. That same mindset syas that it is OK to maintain the guilt of any accused priest that has been exhonerated. 
      Having known people who were truly abused, I find that mindset SICKENING!

  4. Pete says:

    New York State continues to fail exposing victims of abuse and the worst are those who cover it up. One who sodomized me at age 8 is a bishop today. I'm sure he's not the only pedo bishop. 

    • Ken W. says:

      Pete, either name your abuser and face him in a court of law, or [abbreviation removed by moderator]. It's that simple.

  5. Publion says:

    I would also add this.
    It should be news to nobody that organizations created to solve a problem that is created by some identified troublemaker inevitably develop a vested interest in keeping that problem and that troublemaker alive.  Thus, using the Pentagon for an example, the loss of the USSR and the ‘Communist’ threat resulted not in an easing of Cold War defense spending but actually ignited a desperate search to justify even more spending.
    So too with SNAP (with the other advocacies in the trade) and the priest-abuse crisis: the more needed improvements have been made, the more virulent SNAP and the rest of them have gotten.
    They need to keep the ball rolling for funding. And the tort-attorneys, seeing the Church in the US kind of tapped-out, have started to lose interest in the ‘justice’ and the ‘closure’.
     Nor are those worthies so purely dedicated that they can’t see what may well happen if the ‘aura’ surrounding the victim and the ‘stories’ starts to dim: as with Oz, folks might actually try advancing close enough to the stage to see the smoke and mirrors … and there might be – bleahhhhhh! – consequences, for tort-attorneys and for victims who up until now have enjoyed almost total immunity compared to their targets.
    At last January s 10th anniversary victory-lap conference, few if any of the well-remunerated tort-attorneys seemed to want to be photographed or mentioned in the press, if indeed they attended the festivities at all.
    Thus this new Phase now goes from suing the dioceses rather than the poor-as-churchmice individual accused priests to getting the pols to pressure this or that DA to file criminal charges against bishops. Maybe as the tort-attorneys start to back tactfully but quickly away, the pols can be inveigled into picking up the load (on the taxpayer’s dime, but of course). But was it worth all the money and resources the Philly and PA taxpayers had to cough up, to see the trial of the century fizzle out like it has (and it hasn't necessarily hit bottom yet)?
    The politician-DA play is not a bad tactic actually, in a difficult election cycle where ‘the bases’ – few but vocal and all of them highly ‘symbolic’ – come to exercise a hugely disproportionate influence on public matters.
    But there’s still enough Constitutional sensibility left to require some clear and candid and forthright analysis of the ‘evidence’ proffered by the allegators, and that’s the trouble with trying to run the old game-plan in the criminal justice system: the officials in the system may very well want to examine your ‘story’. The horror! Usually, this could be termed backlash or ‘re-victimizing the victim’ or some such, but it’s still (for a while, anyway) not quite so easy to pull off when the Constitutional bits are in play.
    My bet: expect to see even more shrill and whacky presentations by the usual suspects at SNAP and so forth: it’s not much of a game that they’re trying to run, but it’s about the only one they’ve got left. The crankier and squeakier the Oz machinery gets, the more smoke and sound-effects they will have to pour on.
    And as SNAP continues to move toward such super-heated pressure games, look for their whackier adherents to fill the airwaves and Web-waves with even more vivid examples of the genre; as the pressure increases, the loosest electrons will be the first to start spinning crazily.

  6. Fitasafiddle says:

    Kudos to SNAP for calling for Monsignor Lynn's defrocking.  Perhaps Mr. Pierre prefers to see Rigali defrocked first, before he himself calls for Lynn's.  The defrocking is really redundant because no man can be a priest of Our Lord Jesus and cover  up for child rapists. Wearing a roman collar does not a priest make, no matter who does the ordaining.
    Publion, you sound like you are having fun with all this heartache.
    The question remains:  What are these men, the ones who rape or enable the raping of children,  whether clerics, bishops or cardinals…what exactly, are they doing on altars?  What kind of worship are they conducting when they introduce their vast evil into the Sacrifice of the Mass?  They will use words like "onotological" change. Ask them to explain what kind of prayer life it is they foster which guarantees the destruction of conscience. 
    Monsignor Lynn and his ilk operating all over the country, under guidance from Rome, are sorry excuses for  priesthood.  They have done more to encourage anti catholicism than any group on earth. 
    Praise be to Our Lord Jesus and His Most Blessed Mother for guiding SNAP so that  what was once hidden for millennia is now being revealed,
    "To Pluck away the mask from the face of the Pharisee is not to lift an impius hand to the Crown of Thorns."  Charlotte Bronte, during the reign of  Pope Pius the Infallible IX , of Edgardo Morta infamy.

  7. Publion says:

    As I was saying about loose electrons …
    I am having no fun with any of the heartache. But it is bemusing to watch so much predictable and obvious shenanigans being carried on for so long, now come – as we see in the Philly case – to so obvious and predictable a playing-out of their consequences, and hear the same one-note kazoo band play the same one-note kazoo noise and hoping that this time everybody will see that they have been right all along.
    Quickie one-liner quotes and pious ejaculations and potted 'proof-text' history (shades of Fundamentalism) will do little good at this point.
    Especially from those who have been having a whale of a good time deconstructing and plucking off masks and have given no thought to where things would go after that. How sustain once one has deconstructed? (To the extent, in the first place, that there has ever been that awful a 'mask' to 'pluck' – every time the light of reasonable inquiry is focused on a reputed open-and-shut, clear-as-a-bell outrage, it turns out to turn out like Philly has (and Philly hasn't stopped turning out yet either).

  8. Mark says:

    The Catholic Church certainly has a lot to answer for. But so does SNAP, it seems to me.
    "There is no one who is rightous, no, not even one."

  9. M_M says:

    We're quite familiar with SNAP in Chicago.  The media here doesn't give them much attention anymore when they call a press conference because they already know what their message will be:  "We're not happy!".  No matter what the bishops and the church do to try and address and fix the problem of pedophiles praying on children (which isn't just a Catholic Church problem like SNAP would love people to believe, it's a disease that is festering across all elements of society) SNAP will complain that it isn't good enough.  And you know what?  It won't ever be good enough for SNAP until the Vatican itself burns to the ground, and even then SNAP will hold a press conference to complain that the fire wasn't hot enough.

  10. Once again, thanks to Dave Pierre for bringing this to our attention.  I hope people are seeing through this typical David Clohessy ploy.  Making such a demand in a press release is simply an evenue toward getting another headline for SNAP.  This has nothing to do with protecting children.  It has everything to do with keeping David Clohessy and SNAP in the news, and keeping the stream of lucrative accusations coming.  After the Philadelphia debacle, it's business as usual for SNAP.  I think the wrong people are being convicted in our courts of law. As I have written many times, "Greed ranks right up there with lust among the Seven Deadly Sins."

  11. Julie says:

    Very good comments, here, including Publion, M_M, and Ryan, Ken and Ed.

  12. Karen Croci says:

    Thank goodness for SNAP. It's about time victims have a collective voice. I know I appreciate the work and dedication of this group.
    God forbid that any of SNAP's detractors ever need its services. You detractors probably have never experienced life as a victim of sexual assault by a priest.
    Until you walk in those shoes, try to understand how powerless these victims feel in the face of all churches who disbelieve their testimonies and prefer to save the priest and make the victim invisible.

    • Ken W. says:

      Karen, when I was first interested in this subject, I was not a Catholic and I was truly trying to understand the victim's perspective. So I read a lot of SNAP literature, and then I asked some questions.  I did not get answers. What I DID get was a lot of scorn and ridicule, being labeled a "pedophile protecter" just for simply asking the questions. I was forced to conclude that the professional "victim's advocates" expect myself and everyone else to just take their word for it, while the people that they represent largely remain faceless and in the shadows.  
      It is also dishonest and disingenuous of yourself to presume that SNAP's critics have not been abused themselves. In the course of my life in my circle of family and friends, I know of a dozen instances of abuse, all in places and circumstances where one would least expect it, and none of which happened in a Catholic setting. So don't you dare suggest that I have not walked in their shoes. That mindset is offensive to those who have truly been abused.