For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Susan Vance, a leader of SNAP of Tennessee
Date: January 3, 2019
New Initiative Launched by SNAP of Tennessee
Victims urged to tell their stories of abuse at the hands of Tennessee priests
Jane Doe, John Doe, or with their names: It is up to the victim
Need law makers to see why the child sex abuse laws need to change drastically
Need to show law enforcement why the Catholic Church across Tennessee must be investigated
SNAP of Tennessee is launching a new initiative called the It's Not My Fault Project to raise awareness of clergy sexual abuse across the state of Tennessee. SNAP has asked victims of sexual abuse by priests in Tennessee consider telling their stories about the abuse on a new site called HopeChronicles.org.
"Victims need a safe place to let others know that they are not alone in the abuse that they have suffered," says Susan Vance, a leader of SNAP of Tennessee (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "The stories will not reveal the victim's name unless specifically requested Anonymity will be paramount unless the victim requests otherwise. Details that might possibly identify a victim will be removed. The church will predictably call us liars. Let them do that. It will only serve to indict the bishops and priests who covered up the abuse."
Vance made a plea on Facebook late yesterday for victims to contact her for the HopeChronicles.org stories. Notices were placed on the Facebook pages of SNAP of Tennessee, Unfinished Business -- Richards and McKeown, as well as her personal Facebook page.
"The first email arrived in the middle of the night.
"In responding to this victim, I found myself insisting many times that the "It's not my fault" mantra become a daily practice to keep perspective of who is at fault, namely the abuser," says Vance. " I realized that this was exactly what we needed to do . . . to have a place of hope to let victim's speak in a safe environment and under the protection of anonymity. The It's Not My Fault Project was born."
"These stories will be told with hope and a look to the healing. When they are made public, the church will have a lot to answer for," says Vance. "We are hoping that many victims of Frank Richards and Edward McKeown will share their stories. McKeown died on New Year's Eve, but his legacy of abuse lives on. We are not going to stop until everyone realizes that the truth has not been told."
Vance believes that Frank Richards and Edward McKeown are the poster duo for what is wrong with the Catholic Church in regard to clergy sexual abuse in Tennessee.
Vance says that Frank Richards is still alive and a free man due to the church's faiure to report him. McKeown was in prison for what he did AFTER he left the priesthood. "They turned Richards and McKeown loose on the public on March 1, 1989. The church knew they were monsters and yet did nothing. This is criminal."
Go to HopeChronicles.org to see the site under construction. Join the It's Not My Fault Project. Also go to RemembertheSurvivors.com for more details on the abuse crisis in Tennessee.
Facebook: SNAP of Tennessee, Unfinished business -- Richards and McKeown, HopeChronicles.org
About SNAP: We are SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are the largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others}. SNAPnetwork.org