SNAP calls for statewide abuse investigation in California

Following release of grand jury report in Pennsylvania, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says it will ask Attorney General Xavier Becerra to impanel similar panel in the Golden State

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

This week’s release of a scathing grand jury report in Pennsylvania detailing hundreds of previously unknown sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests has sent disturbing new questions reverberating across California and the country: How many more victims are out there and how many more abusive priests are left to be exposed?

The answer is a lot, survivors, lawyers, prosecutors and others said Wednesday as the report ripped open old wounds and had a victims’ group calling for a similar statewide investigation in California.

“We’ve been waiting for this grand jury report,” said Melanie Sakoda, of the Bay Area chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. The group, she said, plans to ask California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to impanel a Grand Jury and examine abuses in the Golden State, where dioceses in Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Stockton and elsewhere were roiled in scandal in the early 2000s, with dozens of priests exposed.

Melanie Sakoda of Bay Area SNAP (image from

“We’re saying this needs to be done in more places. Certainly Pennsylvania is not the only place this has happened or the only place that has hidden predators,” she said.

A spokesperson for Becerra’s office declined to address the request Wednesday, writing in an email that any comment could harm “a potential or ongoing investigation.”

A lawyer who has sued the church across the country, including on behalf of about 50 California victims, said such an investigation here and in other states “is critical” based on the Pennsylvania findings.

“It makes me sick to my stomach,” the lawyer, Stephen Crew, of Portland, said. “I kind of thought we (knew) about the cases. But in Pennsylvania we’re talking about 300 priests and 1,000 victims, and that’s conservative. It’s shocking, I can’t believe it.

“The Catholic Church needs to come clean,” he said.

Dan McNevin, a longtime SNAP leader in the Bay Area who was abused by a priest in Fremont, said Wednesday that he believes the church has under-counted the number of priests it knows were abusers and that accurate numbers have never been made public.

The Pennsylvania report “was a more honest expression of what went on behind closed doors,” he said. The Oakland Diocese originally identified about 30 abusive priests, but this news organization later reported in 2008 there were about 60.

“It is no accident that a secular report got to a more accurate accounting, and as long as society relies on the church to self-report, we’ll be getting these low-ball estimates and continued denial,” McNevin said.

Full story at Mercury News.


  1. FrMichael says:

    Didn’t think it would take long for the call for a statewide grand jury here. I personally think such an examination of the CA Church would be ghastly in its findings, but helpful in taking out the Lavender Mafia. Clearly the Church lacks the ability to reform Herself– the honest clergy are too powerless and, quite frankly, too clueless to do the job. We don’t even know what we don’t know. I can think of a number of priests in my diocese and time in the seminary who simply “disappeared” from their active ministry– no notice, no explanation. I’m guessing there is a sordid story for many of those cases.

  2. Why NOT?
    If there are as yet unidentifed priests who have violated children, and are still alive, then bring all civil authority to identify them.
    The faithful, as well as those priests who have fully obeyed their vows, deserve nothing less.
    Healing can only begin once everyone knows the full extent of the rot.

  3. Organizations like SNAP were dismissed and labeled as progressive Catholic deconstructionists by conservatives like me. I was wrong and I’m sorry…they were right all along and folks like me did not listen to them because we bought the bishop’s narrative hook line and sinker. Never in a million years thought I’d be saying that but these are not normal times…

    • keith petersen says:

      That is an honest appraisal. I have to admit the same error. I won’t make it again.

    • I wouldn’t be so quick to discount SNAP’s motives and whether they have the Church’s best interests in mind…Just saying…

    • Lou Varini says:

      Since the Church has delayed and obstructed, it is mow time to rely on civil and criminal procrsses.

      The Church’s hierarchy has abandoned the very people who placed trust on them.

      “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; try to get away with it three or more timesand you will incur everyone’s wrath”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Let’s stop being politically correct. It’s primarily a HOMOSEXUAL problem!

  5. I heartily agree, but it has to begin at the TOP. Just yesterday I read about Pope Francis appointing a pro-gay priest to be a bishop in the Philippines. There are many homosexual Bishops active now in the U.S. and they are going to protect homosexual priests. The lavender mafia runs deep including the Council of 9.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are homesexuals, freemasons, Satanists, communists in the hierarchy.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you know something, say something. The time has come.

    • Anonymous says:

      One of Francis’ first moves was to remove Cardinal Burke from the Congregation of Bishops. After moving to his new assignment, Cardinal Burke discovered a condom scandal and tried to fix it. Pope Francis swiftly removed Cardinal Burke from that assignment. It looks like Pope Francis does not want Cardinal Burke to be in a position to stop scandals. He is either listening to advisers who are members of the homosexual mafia or he is a member of the homosexual mafia himself.

  6. Linda Maria says:

    I feel so badly for the suffering child sex abuse victims– most never fully recover! Yes– the Catholic Church DOES have STRICT Church laws, in her Code of Canon Law!! Whom are they kidding?? It is just that the Church has SELFISH and CRUEL clerics, who “pick and choose” which Canon Laws to enforce! And since Vatican II, Canon Law is unpopular– and daily ignored– especially by recent Popes!!

  7. Deacon Craig Anderson says:

    Sadly, tragically, this is likely needed. But, what about the disordered clergymen who are having sex with men 18 years and older? This includes seminarians who should have fatherly leaders. Bishop Scharfenberger has called such spiritual incest! While not necessarily crimes, they are mortal sins that need to be addressed. It’s long past time for the diabolical homosexual lobby within the Church to be broken.
    Lord, have mercy on us all!

    • Linda Maria says:

      Sexual assault is always a crime– regardless of the victim’s age! And Catholic clerics who have broken their sacred vows to God of celibacy– severely harming others, by crimes of sexual assault, (also destroying their sacred trust in Christ, and precious religious Faith!)– should be kicked out of the Church– ASAP!! Police reports of their crimes must be made, and the criminals should be taken to jail, stand trial for their crimes, and receive appropriate sentences, from the judge! Catholic clerics (priests and prelates) have a sacred responsibility to God and His people— and must be totally 100% trustworthy! ZERO tolerance for evil, Satanic CRIMINAL clerics, wrongfully serving the Church– like McCarrick (etc.)!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t be broken unless people who know something say something.

  8. William Robert says:

    It is time for a thorough review of the Catholic Church’s personnel practices in California. Preferably, by an outside agency or group!

  9. William Roberts says:

    Conservative Catholics often pine for a return to the “good old days” prior to Vatican II; back in the days when the Mass was said in Latin and priests and nuns were put up on a pedastal. Another round of scandals reveals that the good old days were not that good: cabals of predator priests raping innocent children, priests impregnating teenage girls and procuring abortions for them, Bishops moving predator priests around without warning parishes. Much of this happened prior to Vatican II. Ahh for the good old days! An investigation of the Catholic Church in the U. S. A. needs to be conducted by an independent agency. The Church needs a good clean sweeping!

  10. Anonymous says:

    In honor of Canisius I say: “Burn the rainbow flag!”

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