A support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse has released a document that it claims shows the Philadelphia Archdiocese tried to hide abuse. Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said she was shocked to learn about the document she said the archdiocese asked victims to sign. “We haven’t seen anything like it before,” Blaine said. “We’ve experienced many times where church officials have tried to convince us as survivors that it would be better if we did not go to the police, but it’s the first time we’ve actually seen some kind of a document that the church officials are trying to get victims to sign.” The “Prohibition to Release Information” form that SNAP claims came from the church, prohibits the church from releasing information to law enforcement officials about abuse claims against clergy, unless mandated by law or court order. Last month’s grand jury report on alleged clergy abuse mentions such a form, saying, victim assistance coordinators regularly invited victims to sign “prohibition to report” forms, which were designed to prevent the archdiocese from reporting priests’ crimes to law enforcement.
Archdiocese officials could not be reached for comment.