Abuse groups gather in South End to protest panel - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Abuse groups gather in South End to protest panel

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BOSTON (WHDH) - Local clergy abuse victims and protestors gathered in the South End Sunday morning to protest a recent announcement by Pope Francis about a sex abuse commission.

Groups involved, such as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said that the new commission is nothing but a public relations stunt by the Vatican and "perpetuates the self-serving myth that Catholic officials need more information about abuse and cover ups," according to a press release.

"If church officials are sincere, they should turn predators over to police. We don't think a commission is really the way to make action," said Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP.

Abuse victims and supporters brought signs and childhood photos to Boston's Holy Cross Cathedral to speak out about the Vatican's treatment of priests involved in cases of sexual abuse, but about Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley's appointment to the commission, saying he has a poor track record on the abuse issue.

Protestors said that they want Pope Francis to release the names of any clergy members caught up in the abuse scandal.

Phil Saviamo, who was assaulted as a young man by a Worcester priest, was one of the people present.

"If they're going to set up a commission, they should have done it if not ten years ago, 20 years ago," Saviamo said.

O'Malley spoke at UMass Boston Sunday afternoon about the recent announcement.

"We're happy the can commission is developing. It's a great need for the church and I'm honored to be asked to be part of it," he said.

Of the eight appointed to the commission, four are women, including one who alleges that she was an abuse victim.
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