"Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious." - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, 1972
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, Western Regional Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org) (email@example.com, 949-322-7434 cell)
We applaud Roy T. Quintanilla, who today bravely stood and told his story of sexual abuse. It is always difficult for survivors to come forward and expose abusers, but when the accused predator is one of the most powerful people in a community, it takes herculean effort and strong support. By coming forward today, Roy has made Guam safer for children, exposed a horrific crime and decades-long cover-up, and began the journey towards healing, for himself and the Catholic community at large.
We encourage Catholics and the general public to talk openly about abuse and discuss sexual abuse with their children. We also ask that anyone who has seen or suspected abuse to come forward and report to law enforcement and civil authorities, not the church.
The time for Apuron’s petty threats and continued secrecy is over. We ask that Apuron immediately step down as bishop and that the archdiocese aggressively reach out to anyone who has been sexually abused by priests, employees or volunteers in the church. We also ask that the archdiocese work hand-in-hand with civil authorities and advocacy groups to expose all crimes that archdiocese officials and Apuron may have covered up.
We encourage Guam’s lawmakers to revisit civil window legislation and ensure that a new window law holds accountable third-party enablers who cover up and foster abuse. Similar laws in Minnesota, Hawaii, California, and Delaware uncovered vast conspiracies that allowed predators to continue to work with children far after church officials knew that the predator was a risk. Guam’s last civil window had no “teeth,” because victims could not expose the men and women who covered up abuse. Because of that, victims remained fearful and did not use the civil courts to expose their abusers. A new, more robust law can change that and expose abusers across the island.
Finally, we want to thank the Catholic community of Guam. They stood up to injustice and cover-up and created a safe environment for survivors like Roy to come forward and get healing. They are the true heart of the Catholic Church on Guam
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,email@example.com)