SNAP advocate believes more cases of sexual abuse by priests have happened but not been reported

RICHMOND, Va. -- As victims, church members and the general public look through the list of names of men the Catholic Diocese of Richmond says has hurt children, they  still have many questions - like where are the names of the other priests who were accused and have there been no reports of abuse since 1993?

CBS 6 talked to a victims advocate, Dottie Klamer, with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAP) to get answers.

"Everything that`s going on in the Catholic church right now has been brewing for a long long time," said Klammer.

Decades and decades of sexual abuse have been slowly coming to light.  After Virginia's attorney general opened an investigation into clergy abuse last year, Wednesday, the Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond released a list of names of catholic priests who abused minors.

"We tell them first of all that they need to file a police report, that they need to go on record," said Klammer.

Dottie Klammer, Richmond Coordinator for SNAP, tells victims each day who say their abuser not on the list, to file first.
She said the investigation starts internally at an accused priest's church.

"What I understand is that they have panel and boards at the different parishes in the state of Virginia," said Klammer. "And people are deciding on some level who`s guilty and who isn`t."

But the current lists has no what it calls "credible" cases of abuse since 1993. So the question lies, has there been abuse in the last 28 years?
Klammer told CBS 6 yes, but it's just not reported.

"The animal has not changed. The Catholic church has hidden things and things are shifting and they`re coming forward and I think eventually they`ll be called to hand over everything," said Klammer.

She said it will be reported but victims have to speak up first.

"We find that the more lists come up, the more likely people to come forward because they realize that its happened to other people," said Klammer. "Especially if they see a name in print or hear one on television."

Klammer said shes`s glad this recent list has come out, but said the cure is still distant and only then can others heal.

"It`s a cancer of the catholic church I`m afraid and only until it`s brought into the light, will it start healing," said Klammer.

The Diocese of Richmond urges individuals who have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Richmond to report abuse directly to law enforcement, including Child Protective Services (CPS) 1-800-552-7096, and by calling the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064. In a commitment to support and facilitate healing, individuals are then encouraged to contact the 24-hour confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 1-877-887-9603 or by email at vac@richmonddiocese.org

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