Sex Victims' Group to Hand out Leaflets

By Ana Rhodes
The Miami Herald [Miami]
Downloaded January 19, 2003

A support group for victims of sexual abuse by priests is starting a chapter in South Florida and plans to hand out leaflets today about their group at St. Maurice Catholic Church, 2851 Stirling Rd. near Hollywood.

The Rev. Joseph Cinesi, a former priest at St. Maurice, resigned in 1999 just before the Archdiocese of Miami settled with five people who accused him of sexual misconduct. He cannot wear the collar, call himself a priest or work in a church job.

The Chicago-based group called SNAP -- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests -- has 4,500 members and 30 chapters nationwide.

''Our mission is to prevent anyone else from being abused the way we were and to help the victims heal,'' said Barbara Blaine, the group's founder and president.

Blaine said the group is having a private meeting at 9:30 a.m. today at an undisclosed location. Members will then go to the church at 11 a.m. to hand out leaflets.

The goal is to spread the word about the group to anyone who believes they may have suffered abuse by a clergyman at any church.

The group is working toward pressuring the Archdiocese to release the names of priests involved in sexual misconduct so that children will be protected.

Blaine said one of the group's goals is to lengthen or eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse in Florida and other states.

By the time victims come forward, it is often too late to prosecute, she said.


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