When a federal judge ruled on July 29 that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s free expression of religion and religious liberty would be violated if it was required to tap into its trust for the perpetual care of cemeteries — valued at over $50 million – to pay creditors who are mostly victims of abuse, many observers were shocked. Joining us Friday, August 9 to talk about the case are Peter Isely, Founding Member and Midwest Director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and Judy Jones, Midwest Associate Director of SNAP (bios follow).
This is a very important case that may play a role in future bankruptcy protection filings by religious institutions, particularly since the creditor victims allege that $57 million was moved on purpose to a cemetery trust to avoid compensating them. Here’s a timeline:
There are 575 creditors who allege they were assaulted over the years. In July, approximately 6,000 pages of records detailing decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests were released by the Milwaukee archdiocese, adding to the sheer horror of the situation.
SNAP, with its 10,000 members worldwide, has been fighting tirelessly in its efforts to help of victims of clergy abuse. Founded in 1988 by Chicago’s Barbara Blaine, it is the largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others). SNAP is an independent and confidential organization, with no connections with the church or church officials.
SNAP’s (see SNAP Wisconsin) Peter Isely is well-versed on the Milwaukee situation. Peter was sexually assaulted as a youngster by a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, he is a psychotherapist in private practice who directed the nation’s only inpatient treatment program for clergy sexual abuse trauma. He is a founding member and long time Midwest Director of SNAP, and has been recognized by numerous organizations for his work, including the National Association of Social Workers, which awarded him with the 2012 Public Service Award, the Legal Aid Society, which awarded him the Thomas P. Cannon Equal Justice award in 2010. In 2009, he received the WCCSA Voices of Courage Award.
Judy Jones is SNAP’s Midwest Associate Director and, as part of her advocacy work on behalf of victims of predator priests, has been a guest on the God Discussion shows. Judy was born and raised in the Catholic Church. She was married in the Church. The Catholic Church played a central role in her life – but today, she is no longer Catholic. That’s because about 20 years ago, she learned that her brother and several other relatives had been abused by a priest of her local church in Woodsfield, Ohio. In 2010, SNAP honored her at its Chicago conference for her accomplishments in helping victims of church abuse.
The bankruptcy case and its implications for victims of predatory priests is an extremely important case. We are honored to have Peter Isely and Judy Jones on our program Friday night to shed light on this situation and hope you can join us.
Show Time: Friday night, August 9, 2013, 6 Pacific / 7 Mountain / 8 Central / 9 Eastern (Additional time conversions at the World Time Server).
To hear the show live and participate in the web-based chat room: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/god-discussion/2013/08/10/57-million-and-religious-liberty–an-interview-with-snap
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