Salesian College, Rupertswood
In what molestation victims and advocates have described as “more than a coincidence”, the Salesians of Australia-Pacific have been accused by many of “robbing the acronym ‘SNAP’ from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letters S-N-A-P, used by the Salesians of Australia, stand for Salesian News Australia Pacific, according to the Salesian site. Critics claim the use of the letters “is a desperate stretch.”
“SNAP”, which is said to be the largest and oldest supportive group of clergy sex abuse survivors and victims in the world, was founded in 1988 by Barbara Blaine. The group has also been quoted to be the most active advocates organization for clergy abuse victims as well. It is estimated that SNAP has over ten thousand members around the globe.
Amidst a flurry of negative press concerning the concealment and transfer of clergy sex abusers, the Salesian Order of Don Bosco has been accused of resorting to bold measures to divert attention – while conveniently swiping the famed SNAP letters. A California SNAP leader and victim that was interviewed said that “At the very least the use of the word “SNAP” by the Salesians of Australia is deceitful – it may mislead victims into thinking the Salesians are affiliated with the survivor group. The Salesians of Australia have a sordid history”.
Bolstering the claim that the Salesians resort to deceitful measures in Australia, is the recent story by Dallas News on October 12, 2012. The story reported that “Salesian Provincial Fr. Frank Maloney falsely claimed that the journalist who wrote story about Salesian molesters in Australia was convicted for child molestation”. The Salesians Fr. Maloney has been forced to retract the false statements about the journalist.
Fr. Will Mathews, who runs the Salesian-SNAP website, stated that “(Salesian) SNAP promises an interesting overview of feature articles, community accomplishments, and project updates”. In rebuttal, John, a 37 year old Salesian sex abuse victim interviewed from Melbourne, Australia, said that “the Salesians use of the word “SNAP’ is nothing short of more shameful, irresponsible Salesian conduct”.
According to the Herald Sun, Dallas news, and other media sources, the Salesians of Australia have been inundated with complaints and reports of sex abuse, and scandals – and at least a 40 year cover-up, as claimed in the Rupertswood cases. Australian Salesian priests Fr.Frank Klep, Fr. Davis Rapson, Fr. John Ayers, Fr. Julian Fox, Fr. Michael Auslebrook, Bro. Peter Van Ruth, and Bro. Peter Vincent are all accused serial molesters.
Salesian ArchBishop Costelloe was unavailable for comment on the issue.