Catholic Bishop’s Admission of Childhood Molestation by Priest

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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) responds to recent Catholic bishop’s admission of childhood molestation by priest.

Atlanta’s Chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) heralded Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton admission at a news conference held Wednesday January 11, 2006, that he suffered childhood molestation by a Catholic priest as a major breakthrough in the Catholic’s church’s growing internal dissention on how it is handling their sexual abuse problem.

“We applaud the courage of Bishop Gumbleton,” said Michael R. Bang, Regional Chairman for the Georgia SNAP Chapter. “This is the first time a member of the Catholic clergy has disclosed his own childhood sexual abuse by a priest, and is breaking ranks with his colleagues by actively backing reforms to archaic state child molestation laws.”

Bang also called on Atlanta's Bishop Wilton Gregory to remain steadfast enforcing the "zero tolerance" policy adopted in June 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to assure that active pedophile priests in Atlanta and throughout the State of Georgia be reported immediately to the local authorities for prosecution.

Additionally he encouraged the Georgia House and Senate to move swiftly this session to implement tougher laws, requiring mandatory reporting for clergy to the authorities and immediately move to reform the dangerously restrictive and archaic statue of limitations for criminal prosecution and civil litigation.

“We need immediate bipartisan legislation to provide a waiver of the current statue of limitations and provide a one year "window" in Georgia - as most other states have enacted - that would enable victims of sexual abuse by priests to publicly expose the predators that hurt them and seek justice through the judicial system,” said Bang.

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