This morning, The New York Times published an article outlining the Catholic Church’s apparent new strategy for dealing with lawsuits brought by the victims of sexual assault. Namely, filing legal actions designed to cripple organizations that support victims of pedophile priests.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is the target of one such suit. The church is asking a court to force SNAP to turn over 20 years worth of email correspondence between the group and victims, journalists and whistle-blowers, a demand that SNAP officials say would cripple their ability to continue supporting victims of sexual assault.
The church would not comment to the New York Times citing a judge’s order, but radical conservative Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, had plenty of words for victims and their supporters:
“[Donohue] said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.” …
He said bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue said.
Donohue was one of the most vocal defenders of the Catholic Church during the height of the church’s pedophile scandal in the early 2000s, and more egregiously, he remains one of the only people to publicly attack the victims and their supporters. During a radio interview in 2009, Donohue downplayed the charges being leveled by victims because “almost everybody who was abused wasn’t raped.” He also dismissed complaints of priests kissing and engaging in “inappropriate sexual talk” to minors as a non-issue, saying that he “think[s] a lot of these people are gold diggers looking to get money from the Catholic Church.”
Donohue’s outrageous remarks are not limited to defending pedophiles either. As ThinkProgress has noted, he has delivered equally offensive remarks about gay couples after New York passed marriage equality and has said that homosexuality is connected to the abuse of minors.