19 Mar 2008

SNAP looking to use billboard, encourage victims to come forward

Zanesville Times Recorder - Ohio

March 19, 2008

CAMBRIDGE - Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, held a press conference Tuesday at the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office to urge past victims of abuse to come forward.

A former priest in the Steubenville Diocese, Father Gary Zalenski, was reported to the sheriff's office in January after a woman came forward to accuse Zalenski of abusing her as a child.

Zalenski has served as a priest and teacher at churches and schools in Guernsey and Noble counties. He was suspended from active parish duty in November 2007. Judy Jones, Southeastern Ohio SNAP director, said the group is urging the Guernsey County Prosecutor's Office to move forward with charges against Zalenski and for Steubenville Bishop R. Daniel Conlon to send Zalenski to an in-patient center to receive treatment.

Jones was accompanied by Cincinnati attorney Konrad Kircher, who has represented dozens of clergy sex abuse victims over the years.

She said the group is also currently seeking donations to help pay for a billboard in the area which will be used to help publicize the group and encourage those who have seen, suspected or suffered clergy abuse to come forward, get help and call the police.

SNAP has approached Lamar Advertising about using a billboard in Bridgeport.

Those wishing to make a donation for the project should send them to: SNAP, P.O. Box 6416, Chicago, Ill. 60680, or go to SNAPnetwork.org


1 comment:

  1. Getting abused children to step forward and report their situation is difficult. Many of them have been scared into silence by their abusers. I support the billboard idea, but I'd also suggest that mandated reporters (like teachers and doctors) keep a sharp eye out for signs of child abuse. Unfortunately, studies have found that many teachers don't know how to talk to a child who may be abused. A new online role-playing course lets teachers rehearse a conversation with a possible child abuse victim, getting feedback after every choice. There's a free version and a CEU-credit one for teachers. The whole issue of detecting and reporting child abuse is a tricky one, fraught with legal and emotional tripwires. But if society puts effort into stopping child abuse, we can make big progress. And maybe save that next child's life.