Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.The article goes on to detail that the subpoena was much broader than the issue in the litigation, to which SNAP is not a party, and that "in the 215-page transcript, made public on March 2, most of the questions were not about the case but about the network — its budget, board of directors, staff members, donors and operating procedures." The Times further reports that the second subpoena was almost identical to the first one, and elicited materials regarding "suppressed memory," an issue in the first case, but not the second. From this, SNAP contends that "the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades." The unfortunately ubiquitous William Donohue is quoted as agreeing, saying that "targeting the network was justified because 'SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.'” Donohue went onto say:
The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it “almost certainly” had information relevant to the case.
The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”Well, not, at any rate, if they're going to speak up for themselves.
You can find SNAP's website here. Its resource pages are meticulous, well organized, and a font of information about this crisis which has been roiling the Catholic community for 4 decades now. In addition to its direct advocacy and counseling of victims, SNAP has preserved and archived primary and secondary sources, and made them readily and freely available to the public. Silencing critics by inflicting litigation costs and public exposure is a dirty trick when performed by secular corporations; when done by a Christian denomination, it is shameful. After you visit SNAP's archives, you may want to consider visiting the "donate" page to help preserve this record, if for no other reason.