Members of an Iowa group for sexual-abuse survivors say the Dubuque Catholic diocese isn’t playing fair in its defense of lawsuits by alleged victims. Steve Theisen is a co-founder of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests Theisen says Dubuque Archbishop Honus hasn’t followed through with a promise to have an open discussion and dialogue, and would “be transparent” about allegations of clergy sexual abuse. The archbishop has sent a list of names of priests to the Vatican, requesting that they be defrocked because of unacceptable behavior — but won’t make that list public. Once you release the names of all those who have credible accusations against them, he says it allows victims to find the strength to report them, and begin their own journey of healing. “It’s not just the victims that need to be healed,” Theisen says, “it’s the people in the pews that want to hear the truth — and so far, the Archdiocese has been circumventing the truth.” A man now living in Texas says he was abused by a priest when he was 17 years old. This week SNAP held a news conference to declare the diocese is unfairly “blaming the victim” by claiming he wasn’t a child at seventeen when the alleged abuse took place.
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