SNAP: Sexual abuse support group admits publishing false information

The director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has admitted the organisation has published false information and is unsure whether the group employs licensed counselors.

David Clohessy was answering questions in court, amid accusation the group had printed restricted information in a press release.

Asked by lawyers, “Has SNAP to your knowledge ever issued a press release that contained false information?”, Clohessy responded, “Sure,” without offereing any defense or explanation.

CNA reports Clohessy refused to answer numerous questions posed by attorneys after his own lawyers objected and claimed that the organization was not required to provide the information under the Missouri Rape Crisis Center Statute.

However, he acknowledged, “I don’t know under the Missouri statutes exactly what constitutes a rape crisis center.”

He added that he was unsure if SNAP had ever sent out literature identifying itself “as a rape crisis center” and explained, “we don’t hold ourselves out to be formal licensed counselors.”

Clohessy also said

  • despite most of SNAP’s time was spent counseling victims he was uncertain whether any SNAP employees were licensed counselors
  • he has no formal education or training with regard to rape crisis counseling
  • he could not give definitons for “rape trauma syndrome”, a “safe exam” or “repressed memory”

The statements came out from questions being asked as a result of accusations centered around concerns that an lawyer violated a court gag order by revealing information about an abuse lawsuit to the organization.

Clohessy was ordered by a judge to answer the questions in an out-of-court testimony that may later be used for legal purposes in an ongoing attempt to determine whether the gag order had been violated.

Clohessy declined to answer whether SNAP had a list of lawyers that it refers people to and how much money it receives in donations from lawyers. He did however say they talk to lawyers who file lawsuits, CNA reports.

CNA reports he also refused to respond to questions about how he was able to post lawsuit information on the group’s website before it was filed with the court. He did admit however that this is part of what SNAP does; publicise lawsuits against priests.

A ruling will soon be made as to whether Clohessy will be required to respond to further questions that he refused to answer in a January 2 deposition.


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