The meeting agenda of the largest advocacy group for victims of clergy sex abuse was filled with updates on the group’s legal matters, but for many in attendance, the gathering also offered hope for healing and an opportunity to be understood.
The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, held its annual conference July 27-29 in Chicago. The more than 200 who attended heard updates on a Missouri court’s order to release documents to lawyers representing accused priests; the group’s case before an international criminal court; and the recent abuse trials in Pennsylvania.
SNAP has appealed the Missouri court order to the state’s Supreme Court and expected a decision from the high court as the conference began, but nothing emerged. Barbara Blaine, the group's founder and president, said that while the order has spread fear, victims have also expressed relief that the group’s leadership is intent on fighting to keep members’ information private.
“I think that has meant a great deal to a lot of people,” Blaine said.