Trio of SNAP Advocates Speak on ESD Campus

David Clohessy, Sarah Box, and Lisa Kendzior called for better treatment of victims of sexual abuse.

Standing in front of the sign for the Episcopal School of Dallas, David Clohessy asked the school to reconsider its decision to appeal a $9.2 million verdict handed down last week.

“All that will do is drag these families through more pain and suffering,” said Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “[ESD] will be saying that its reputation and assets are more important than your child’s safety.”

Clohessy, who flew in from St. Louis to take part in the protest, held a sign urging victims to come forward. Clohessy was abused by a Catholic priest as a child, but didn’t tell anyone until he was in his 30’s.

SNAP member Sarah Box held a sign that said “Protect Kids Not Predators,” and Lisa Kendzior’s sign displayed the photos of a dozen victims of sexual abuse alongside a hotline number, 1-877-SNAP HEALS.

Kendzior, Dallas director of SNAP, called for a “full course law enforcement investigation in the form of a grand jury” to address allegations of abuse and cover-up at ESD.

“If police with experience and subpoena power really delve into the situation here, we suspect these two families who’ve reported abuse and cover-up will not be the only ones,” she said, referring to the Doe and Black families, who testified about inappropriate sexual conduct of ESD teachers in the civil trial.

The protest, or “news conference” as Clohessy called it, was sparsely attended and lasted 30 minutes. About midway through, an ESD security officer and spokesperson Julie Clardy approached the small gathering of protestors and media and asked them to leave the school’s property. ESD issued a statement condemning the protest.

ESD officials call SNAP demonstration disgraceful and offensive

(DALLAS, September 29, 2011) – ESD officials today said a short demonstration by SNAP today outside the school is a disgraceful and offensive action staged as a way to exploit the results from a recent trial for their own publicity purposes.

“Clearly their actions and their news release demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge about the court proceedings,” said ESD Board Chairman John Eagle.  “To invite the news media to an artificial protest outside a school that is in session is a shameful act and an obvious attempt to manipulate the news media.”

(Editors note:  The SNAP protesters were on private school property and were approached and told they could not be on ESD property.  During that discussion, with the pool camera rolling, David Clohessy (from SNAP) delivered rapid-fire questions to the ESD representative asking her, “Who told her to remove them from the property?”  It’s gotcha journalism with no journalists on hand.)

37 thoughts on “Trio of SNAP Advocates Speak on ESD Campus

  • September 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm
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    Paid protesters? Wow. How low will the Does go for the buck.
    These people don’t care about their daughter or the truth. All they want is the money.

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  • September 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm
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    It was only a matter of time and more than likely that more victims will come forward. All the more reason ESD should settle and move on. I guess that shoots down the idea that it’s only a local story.

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  • September 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm
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    Don’t be silly Nancy, nobody pays protesters other than unions. Just another wrongly combative statement out of ESD/Eagle that makes them look worse.

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  • September 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm
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    How many time do victim-survivors and our advocates have to suffer the outrageous, defensive reactions of institutions so very determined to keep hidden criminal sexual abuse they could have prevented? By courageously standing up to them, those who know the truth are helping to make the public more aware of the danger to children and vulnerable adults, not only in schools and rec centers, but especially in religious institutions, the last place the naive would expect sexual assault to happen. It’s all about justice and protecting kids! Let’s not be tricked into looking “over there.”

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  • September 29, 2011 at 5:28 pm
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    SNAP is a (real) charitable organization which was founded in 1988.

    I agree with you Avid.

    Eagle’s confrontational and insulting statement was directed at a not-for-profit group of sexual abuse survivors.

    ESD comes off looking like they didn’t learn anything from this verdict. At the least, ESD needs to hire a professional damage control company. These comments by alleged parents (hi Nancy!) certainly aren’t going to do anything to help with the school’s image either.

    Keep posting, Nancy. Your comments will live online forever and will be what prospective read when they do their online research. Something tells me that Fr. Swann would be happier if you crawled away from the computer and stopped trying to be ‘helpful’.

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  • September 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm
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    I support Kenzior’s suggestion that there be a full-scale Grand Jury investigation of the two coverups. It will interesting to see if other victims come forward. ESD’s behavior toward these two young victimsn is an embarassment to the Christian Community.

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  • September 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm
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    Nancy, as a victim and a member of SNAP may I make it clear that churches and other institutions never invite or welcome SNAP onto their property. But SNAP representatives tirelessly travel and speak out, never getting paid for their news conferences or protests, always advocating for the victim and therefore always perceived as the enemy by the institutions being challenged.

    Snap leaders are supported by members like myself. They don’t make money from their activism, unlike the lawyers. I hope your comments come from ignorance, which can be rectified, and not blind arrogance, for which their may be no cure.

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  • September 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm
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    Hopefully others who may have knowledge or been harmed by the Episcopal School of Dallas, will have the courage to speak up and report it to police, not church officials.

    Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    [email protected]
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy.
    http://www.snapnetwork.org/

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  • September 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm
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    Oh my gosh! When will this ESD Board denial ever end? Attacking a sexual abuse victim in the media through a formal statement? I thought they hired Lisa Lemaster. She’s no Hill and Knowlton but she certainly knows you don’t attack victims in this manner. The last time you took this approach it cost $9.2 million plus probably another $2 million in legal fees. And with GROSS NEGLIGENCE, FRAUD, and WILLFUL ACTS, you probably have no insurance coverage. HELLO!

    ESD must have just shot off this rediculous statement in another state of panic and desperation. John Eagle? Where is FATHER SWANN? Is he still running the school? Or is it you now? This is unbelievable. This was not a hoax. There are real people out in this world of ours who are seriously concerned about this issue. You’re alienating and embarassing more and more ESD families on a daily basis. MR. EAGLE, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO???

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  • September 29, 2011 at 10:28 pm
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    Hey New Nancy, SNAP may be real but that protest was staged for pay! I mean really these people were flown in. Who paid for that? Looks like a desperate PR stunt to me. I wasn’t fooled. I bet others won’t be either.

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  • September 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm
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    what is disgraceful and offensive is child sexual abuse. if there is even a chance there is another child that was affected, the school should welcome the opportunity to offer support and help. I have first hand knowledge of what abuse can do to a child. I have been working with my daughter for twenty years to deal with the affect of very early sexual abuse. It is heart breaking and neverending. ESD, take your responsibilities and be open to help from people who have knowledge of the affects of abuse.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 4:25 am
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    I think the handful of abuse victims we know about from this trial are the tip of the iceberg.

    Why is it only Nancy brings up the money? She still doesn’t get what this case was about. Maybe she can google the name Jay Lemberger.

    Thank you to the Doe family for the courage to step out of the light.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 4:58 am
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    I protest anyone who protests a protest. Don’t they teach about freedom of speach and expression at school? I wish there had been more people to speak for the kids. You can bet there’s a pervert somewhere around them. Okay reality check.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 6:33 am
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    I figured it out. Nancy has us all fooled. I have been told by some people very close to the defense that Nancy was on their payroll (can still neither confirm nor deny this). Now I actually think that she really works for the plaintiffs. That, or more likely she is just so over the top against ESD’s horrendous actions that she went under cover to make over-the-top shocker statements “in support of ESD” that by association ESD looks even worse.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 10:22 am
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    Not buying the new Nancy rumors.I think ESD is figuring out how bad they look to the rest of us.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 10:55 am
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     I  appreciate the school spirit ESD supporters have shown, but it’s  been disturbing to witness the remarks made by ESD leadership and other vocal  ESD community members. The continued vilification  of the girl and her family  has revealed an ugly side of a school that markets itself otherwise. These public statements really hurt ESD  in the eyes of those outside their insulated community. The case has not only given ESD a black eye, it reflects very badly on Dallas and its noteworthy civic leaders. I’ve  been particularly offended by their reactions to comments from outside their realm. Is it really that difficult to understand that others outside their walls could  care? Evidently there are aspects to the school that weren’t up to too close a scrutiny. There are many lessons to be learned beyond the public relations debacle they brought on themselves. So far it appears as if they have learned nothing. The players have declared they wouldn’t change a thing if presented with a similar situation.  They arrogantly stand firm on their right to set and implement their own policy, however draconian. Since it is now on record that ESD has a history of attempting to shun teenage victims of adult predators with threats of expulsion to protect itself, we must take them at their word.

    It’s good ESD has been forced to review their policies, but not good enough. Without the scrutiny of this case, it’s doubtful any meaningful review would be a priority. There is something missing in the culture in spite of all of the resources and celebrity  they bring to bear.  In order to successfully espouse Christian values, principled decisions and hold students to standards of excellence, adult leadership must model the same behaviors.  I have faith there are sensitive and far-sighted  families at ESD, but the disingenuous testimony of its leaders  combined with a   lack of humility and accountability throughout this entire process eclipsed all reason.  Surely Dallas could have expected so much better from the names that haunt the halls of ESD- beginning with a sincere apology to all who have been hurt by their goofy decisions and public statements.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 11:21 am
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    Nancy,
    May I assure you, as others have, that we were not paid to come out to the press event. I am a resident of Dallas and a member of the Dallas chapter of SNAP, which is a wonderful organization that has provided me with much support, and I feel honored to get a chance to stand up for another survivor.

    This culture of victim-blaming is a big reason why a lot of abuse survivors don’t come forward. Thank you to everyone here who has stood up for the real victim in this case. You may never know how great an impact you have made simply by voicing your support for her.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 11:34 am
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    I found John Eagle’s quote so far off base that, at first, I thought it must be a faked press release. However, it’s now been on the PHP website for 23 hours – surely ESD would have it removed if it wasn’t real.
    Does Eagle not understand that SNAP is there to support other abuse victims who have not come forward? It was an effective demonstration – I’m guessing all the ESD students and parents now know about the organization and how to reach them.
    The trial was not about the abuse – it was about the cover-up. It was about how much additional damage the cover-up caused the victim and how the existing policies and procedures foster abuse.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm
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    Mona, You may not call it pay. Maybe you call it a donation? I don’t know but a real organization that wanted to help real abuse victims would not waste their money on this case. Why? There are so many real victims. Seems like you would want to spend your money to help those people that need help first.
    So who paid for the plane tickets? Just asking.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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    @ New Nancy? Again, the demonstrators flew in on their own dollar. Clohossey and a few other National and Regional leaders have salaries as full time or part time SNAP leaders. All local leaders volunteer their time and pay for their own travel to conferences, demonstrations etc.
    Me, I have spoken at local and state events only and have always paid my own way–driving alone or carpooling with other members.
    Stop trying to demonize a group of which you obviously have no understanding. It must be difficult for someone so cynical to recognize courage and truth. On a Christian campus how sad is it that it took outsiders to come in and speak for those who had been hurt, and to challenge the religious authorities. On whose side would Jesus of Nazareth be speaking? There is no doubt in my mind he would have been holding up the innocent, the abused, the demonized, and challenging the religious institution that protects the abusers and ignores the evil of abuse.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm
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    Catholic Church: Priests abused in the past. Overseers knew it. Priests were temporarily removed, counseled, and given new positions in the belief they were rehabilitated.

    ESD: Abuser had not abused in the past. Overseers did not know of abusive tendency. Man was married, with children, and an apparently contented wife. Was immediately suspended when knowledge of improper relationship was discovered. Not invited back. Not transferred, No attempt to rehabilitate.

    Parallels? How are these cases similar?

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  • September 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm
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    This just continues to blow my mind that ESD is not being handled by a PR firm 24 hours a day at this point. I mean, how dumb do you have to be to get combative with an organization who’s goal is to help those unfortunate enough to have been sexually abused? Idea for ESD’s absent PR firm; set up a 1-800 hotline through SNAP or whoever for ex-students who believe they might have been abused; that would be a good start to showing the community that you actually care about the students instead of the already tarnished reputation of the school (could be back to shimmering if you revamp the admin from the board all the way down) and the irreparable reputation of swann.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm
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    Thank you to those who took the time to go out and protest on behalf of the many victims of Priest sexual abuse. In the future people will look back on this time as comparable in darkness to the Inquisition and the Crusades, other times in history where the power of the church was abused to protect those in power at all costs.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 6:56 pm
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    [email protected] you make a great point. These cases are not similar at all. They really have nothing in common.

    [email protected] I don’t know why you are calling me New Nancy. New Nancy was the name I gave the new Nancy because I was the first Nancy and I wanted it to be clear that I wasn’t talking to myself in my posts. LOL. Are you New Nancy now Mona? I guess I don’t get it.

    Mona, sounds like the people at the top of SNAP are all paid so that at least in part answers my question. They didn’t pay for the plane tickets. I am sure you think you are doing good and good for you. I have never heard of SNAP before and I don’t know what they have done in the past and don’t much care but I can tell you if this is what they stand for now I am not impressed. Looks like they are just doing stunts for money.

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  • September 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm
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    InterestedObserver makes a very good point. There is no similarity between the ESD case and what has happened with the cases against Catholic Priests other than the fact that sexual abuse was involved. For those saying this is supposed to help shed light on victims of “priest” sexual abuse I wonder if you even realize that this teacher was not a priest.
    I think the case is extremely sad in many ways, but I hardly think that ESD is the only guilty party here. While reading about the case I couldn’t help but wonder where this girls parents were when she was out at all hours of the night, up late talking to her teacher and sending him naked pictures, and being abused right under their noses.
    I also find it interesting that people are so surprised that ESD didn’t want a scandal on their hands. They fired the teacher and told him that he would never work as a teacher again. That is hardly similar to what the Church did with the priests who abused children. The awarded $9 million dollars was for what amounts to a wrongful expulsion, and I think that is a steep price.
    Has the Doe family offered any of that money to help other victims of sexual abuse? What happens when a child from a poor family is abused by a teacher? This sort of thing happens all the time in public schools and since those parents can’t get expensive lawyers it doesn’t get taken this far. Has anyone heard of offers by this family to actually aid other victims of abuse? Victims without a wealth ridden private school to go after in civil court? Perhaps before you applaud their humanitarian efforts you should think about the fact that they didn’t go after their daughters abuser, they went after the entity with financial backing. They didn’t take the abuser to civil court because of the abuse, they went to court over an expulsion from a school. Because the ESD did in fact remove the teacher as soon as the situation came to light and they provided counseling to the victim.
    Is it sad that this young woman was a victim of statutory rape by a man abusing his power of authority over a 16 year old? Yes. Could the school have handled things better? Yes. Does any of this have anything to do with SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by PRIESTS)? No, not really.

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  • October 1, 2011 at 10:39 am
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    Does LeMasters realize how her brand is tarnished by being the PR person of record for Eagle and Swann’s statements?

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  • October 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm
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    if I’m not mistaken ESD wasn’t found liable with regard to the relationship – only for expelling Jane Doe (and why is she still Jane Doe since they clearly cooperated with the D Magazine article). I agree that sexual abuse at churches or schools should be vigorously opposed. While Jane Doe was statutorily abused being a few months away from the age of consent is much different than being a child. Let’s see how vigorously the Doe family goes after Campbell at his sentencing – I’m betting they don’t — their focus remains on the only money source = ESD — if they don’t pursue criminal charges with the same vigor as they have civil then it reinforces the notion that money is their goal – not justice. Campbell giving the recordings to Plaintiff’s counsel makes you wonder exactly who is in on which side in this case. . .

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  • October 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm
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    Just FYI, although SNAP’s name would seem to indicate a focus solely on priest perpetrators, if you do any research at all you will find that it aims to support survivors of clergy abuse from all denominations. Also, nobody from SNAP was comparing this case to the Catholic church- the word ‘priest’ is only used in the name of the organization. What SNAP is about is challenging religious institutions in which abuse and subsequent cover-ups occur to do what is right and turn over the perpetrator to the police, provide support to the victim, and reach out to see if there are other victims. What is similar to the Catholic church’s scandals, though, is the institutional policy of protecting their own asses over the victim. The burden is not on the Doe family to help other victims. It is the responsibility and moral obligation of the institution that protected the abuser and blamed the victim to stand up and do the right thing.

    Auntie Cairo- a teenager is still a child psychologically, and is no match for an intelligent, skilled, adult predator. Her age is irrelevant, and it does not diminish the seriousness of the abuse, nor does it relieve the abuser of any blame.

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  • October 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm
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    Sarah Box – I understand what you are saying — but I find it interesting the family has focused more on the school rather than the perpetrator of the crime. I didn’t say the abuse wasn’t serious – what I question is the parents continuing to put the victim in the spotlight and going after the school – which was ultimately exonerated from being responsible for the relationship. The school reacted faster than the parents did when it came to dealing with the abuser. And I do think there’s a difference between a child and almost adult. Legally Jane Doe was still a minor- but at 17 she was deemed the age of consent; some minors are tried as adults when committing crimes. So you can’t generalize and say that a 16 year old isn’t at all responsible for his or her actions. Not addressing that part of the equation could cause just as much harm to the young woman as what happened during the relationship. There are many parents who are not beyond exploiting their children for their own gain – and I just hope that isn’t the case here.

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  • October 3, 2011 at 7:07 pm
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    I appreciate SNAP. They have been there for me when no one else was.

    The similar thread for me was trusted institutions acting in polar opposite ways than I was raised to expect.

    As far as I know, the priest who abused me for years as a teen had never abused other girls. They even told me that the priest had been treated for liking boys, not girls,so I must be lying. Predators might have a preference but when they get a victim, any victim that they can dominate will do.

    I worked at the church in the youth office and also worked at the Cenacle Retreat House. I was a devout Catholic. Priests and Bishops were supposed to be like Jesus. Yes, it was upsetting when I was raped for years, but the devastation of “telling” and then being called a liar by bishops, other priests and a cardinal pretty much sank my ship. My little sacred world fell apart.

    The common thread is the criminal ways the trusted instituitions handled my case. While the priest raped me, I felt gang raped by people at higher levels in the church. They blamed me.

    At any rate, as an adult, I contacted the Office of Youth and Child Protection who then had me sit on a task force to rework how special panels failed the victims. Kathleen McCheney who ran the OYCP was a big help back then. There were good people in the church…just not the ones calling the shots on my case. As a devoted Catholic, I was blown away by the instituition.

    Here’s where SNAP comes in for me. The diocese moved the priest who raped me to a church in Oregon after the Houston Chronicle did a story on my case in 2004. It was not the church who notified the Oregon people about the priest, it was the work of SNAP who followed these events. My guess is that SNAP prevented other teens from being abused.

    In my experience, the criminal reaction of the trusted institution is the part that completed the destruction of my foundation.

    I was then attacked by the false memory people. As I fought back against them, I was shocked to find that high up people in our country sat on both the false memory board and the Executive Board of the Office of Youth and Child Protection for the Catholic Church.

    It’s like “telling” your family and they push it under the carpet. Same as “telling” about the priest and the church pushing it under the carpet. Which was then the same as “telling” people in the judicial branch and the just said it was not their area. In my case, three areas overlapped. Family, Church and Country. If you look up Project Paperclip (MKULTRA) and their use of children in the Omaha area (of Nick Bryant fame)…you’ll see a good example of institutions all doing the same thing. Look the other way, silence the victims and then pushing it under the carpet allowing the cycle of violence to children to continue.

    Long Story Short…SNAP has been the only group in my seven years searching for justice to actually show up and listen to me and help me.

    I wish their were more people like the ones in SNAP. They give me hope for our world.

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  • October 7, 2011 at 11:13 am
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    Just read the story based on a letter written by a (clueless)mother parental unit with a child attending ESD and had the DMagazine, removed from her grocery store. As a sexual abuse survivor, I find ESD actions evil. What other word is there, for blaming and continuing to trash the young girl? If I had a child in that school, I sure would keep a lookout for my children’s best interests, because obviously the ESD apologists won’t. Course that is assuming I left my child in school, which I would not. God Bless the young lady and everyone helping her.

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  • October 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm
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    ESD should be held responsible for it’s employee and it’s actions…..period. The reputation and money were what ESD wanted to protect and that’s pretty damn obvious…..as for the 17 year old female, they were ready to turn the page and move on! Monetary loss and “only” monetary loss will be what opens ESD’s eyes moving forward.
    God Bless Emily

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  • October 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm
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    Auntie Cairo….. how experienced and wise were you at 17?? How sexual active were you at 17?? This male teacher was 30 years old….. get a clue and understand the difference here regarding maturity and manipulation. Your ESD connection is blatantly obvious.

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  • October 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm
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    If a demonstration by SNAP members is described as disgraceful and offensive, how does ESD label the behavior of a predator?

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