July 21, 2005

Group supports victims of clergy

The Salinas Californian

The Salinas Californian

A national support group for victims of clergy molestation and abuse has formed a chapter on the Central Coast, responding to what they say is a lack of significant outreach to victims by the Diocese of Monterey.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has formed a self-help support group, the 10th chapter located in California.

"By starting a support group here, we hope victims can feel comfortable in coming forward to report a crime," Terri Austin, director of the Central Coast chapter, said Wednesday.

Mary Grant, western regional director for the nonprofit SNAP, said a chapter is started when survivors meet others like themselves in their area and join to form a support group. Grant estimates there are hundreds of clergy-abuse survivors on the Central Coast but said the exact number is unclear because victims have difficulty reporting such crimes.

"We want to let victims know they're not alone," she said. "We felt the diocese (of Monterey) hasn't done enough outreach to victims of clergy abuse."

The Diocese of Monterey encompasses Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and San Luis Obispo counties.

Posted by kshaw at July 21, 2005 09:14 AM