The victim rights organization, The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP spent some time in Fresno. Besides demanding answers from the Diocese of Fresno, SNAP leaders also want churches across the country to adopt it’s 21 recommendations, on what to do when a priest if accused of abuse.
Some of the recommendations are straight forward, like praying for all the parties involved, remain open minded and reporting the issue to police.
But others are a bit controversial.
Some even say they convict the accused priest, before he has his day in court.
Some of the more controversial ones include, understanding that abuse victims often have troubled backgrounds (i.e. Drug or alcohol problems, criminal backgrounds, etc.)
Some go further, like mentioning the accusation to former parishioners and parish staff now living elsewhere, and not to be blinded by the pain you can see.
SNAP California member, Joey Piscitelli says some churches have adopted the recommendations, in some form or another.
but he adds, “We don’t recommend you that you call the Diocese of Fresno. We recommend that you don’t call any diocese if you’ve been sexually abused. You call the police and the attorney general. You can call us at SNAP and we will refer you to attorney general, but we don’t recommend you call the diocese.”
Church members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Firebaugh, where an accusation has taken place involving one of it’s former priests, say they don’t believe in all the recommendations of SNAP.
But they do say the Catholic Church needs to be more transparent.
Parishioner, Richard Paganucci says, “That was the whole problem to begin with the church. It kept covering it up. Sooner or later it will come out and it’s worse than if you put it out.”
Others say they’d like to see diocese’s all over the country release a complete list of accused priests.
Parishioner, Marie Hernandez says, “It should be out in public, so people should know what is going on around their community.”
We at CBS47 are purposely not naming the priests accused of sexual assault, because nothing has been proved in a court of law.