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SNAP calls on Diocese to release names of all Virginia priests accused of sexual abuse

Posted at 2:58 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 18:12:49-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is calling on Catholic officials in Virginia to release the names of all priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.

This comes after the Catholic Diocese of Richmond released a list of 42 priests who have “a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse” against a child.

The first “credible and substantiated” incident of child sex abuse was reported to the Diocese in the 1950s, while the most recent occurred in 1993, according to a Catholic Diocese of Richmond spokesperson.

The Diocese of Arlington has announced a list of 16 priests who have been “credibly” accused of abuse.

“It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward,” said a SNAP spokesperson.

Now, SNAP is calling on the Catholic officials to go a step further.

“But what is not helpful is when lists are carefully curated to leave off names of priests who have been accused of abuse but whose allegations haven’t been deemed by church officials to be ‘credible.’ We have seen previous cases where accusations have been deemed not credible only for those determinations to have been disastrously wrong,” the spokesperson continued.

SNAP says they have already been contacted by abuse survivors in Virginia whose perpetrator’s name was omitted from the lists released Wednesday.

“The man who abused me was listed on disclosures from both the Diocese of Richmond and the Diocese of Arlington, so I am experiencing some healing and validation,” said Becky Ianni, a survivor and SNAP leader from Virginia. “At the same time, I know there are other victims who are feeling angry, upset and disbelieved when they see their perpetrator left off, and I am saddened that instead of feeling validated, they are feeling re-victimized.”

SNAP is urging Catholic officials in Virginia to add any names that may have been omitted, add information about current whereabouts, and also add work histories.

In addition, SNAP is asking Catholic officials to publish when the diocese first learned of the allegations and what their immediate response was.

“Only by including this information can we get a clearer picture of what went wrong in Virginia and what must be done now to protect children and prevent abuse,” said a SNAP spokesperson.