A former employee of the controversial Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests has filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination for challenging the organization’s misbehavior, including alleged kickbacks from attorneys who were suing the Church on behalf of sexual abuse victims.
In the lawsuit, Gretchen Rachel Hammond, a past development director of SNAP, claimed to have been fired after coming to learn “SNAP does not focus on protecting or helping survivors – it exploits them.”
Although the plaintiff “had explicitly stated to potential donors that SNAP did not engage in kickback schemes,” Hammond’s discoveries while employed there allegedly showed otherwise – and the reputed proof is on an external hard drive.
“SNAP routinely accepts financial kickbacks from attorneys in the form of ‘donations.’ In exchange for the kickbacks, SNAP refers survivors as potential clients to attorneys, who then file lawsuits on behalf of the survivors against the Catholic Church,” the lawsuit charges. “These cases often settle, to the financial benefit of the attorneys and, at times, to the financial benefit of SNAP, which has received direct payments from survivors’ settlements.”
The lawsuit claimed that the organization receives “substantial contributions” from attorneys sometimes totaling more than 40 or 50 percent of its annual contributions. A prominent Minnesota attorney who represents clergy abuse survivors reportedly donated several six-figure annual sums, including over $415,000 in 2008. Other unnamed attorney-donors who represent abuse survivors reportedly came from California, Chicago, Seattle, and Delaware.
Hammond claimed that the SNAP leadership provided a list of attorneys who were regular donors and “ordered Plaintiff not to reveal to anybody that SNAP received donations from attorneys.”
The lawsuit alleges that during 2011 and 2012, SNAP “concocted a scheme to have attorneys make donations to a front foundation” in order to conceal attorneys’ “kickbacks.”
Despite the organization’s self-portrayal, the lawsuit charged, “SNAP is a commercial operation motivated by its directors’ and officers’ personal and ideological animus against the Catholic Church.”
The suit claims that when Hammond attempted to confront superiors about the practices, they engaged in retaliation resulting in the firing. Now, the lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and other relief.
Hammond, who identifies as a transgender woman, is currently a journalist for the Chicago LGBT newspaper the Windy City Times.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.
I’m not an attorney so I cant comment whether the purported payments are within the Canon of legal ethics.
My issue is that the article cites a Minnesota attorney who ‘reportedly’ made such payments. The next paragraph further cites attorneys from other locations who ‘reportedly’ made similar payments. I would expect complete identification of those doing the reporting. This permits the reader to evaluate the source of the statement.
Was the Boston Globe Spotlight series showing animus against the Church? I for one believe the Globe did the Church a major service publicizing this scourge to provide the impetus to correct it.
No reader is in a position to evaluate this; it’s just news. The court will evaluate the claims. Why do you ask whether the Globe series was “showing animus” against the Church? That irrelevant posturing does not de-legitimize the lawsuit. We’re told that a claim is made that lawsuits were brought by attorneys who paid for the engagements in contravention of the professional ethics rules. Again, it’s the court’s job to sort this out. Rule 5.4(a) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, adopted by most states, provides that “a lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a non-lawyer.”
Lets see – a hormone abusing (possibly self mutilating) Male (XY) is suing SNAP because: “SNAP is a commercial operation motivated by its directors’ and officers’ personal and ideological animus against the Catholic Church.”
From my few contacts with them, its an accurate assessment of many (if not most) of those activists. At 40% of the take lawyers are lined up to go for the deep pockets of the Church.
While the cost in ruined lives can’t be measured – the biggest $ Cost is not from the individual abuse cases, but rather the knowledge, cover up and transfer of serial abusers by insiders who may share such inclinations and rose to power surrounding themselves with more of the same
Tammy Bruce wrote in ‘The Death of Right &…
“If the Catholic Church had been as eager to defend its principles as the Boy Scouts have been, so many lives would not have been damaged or destroyed. Frankly, even before the depth of the Catholic Church’s problem became known, it was common knowledge that many gay men pursue sexual relationships with adolescent boys. Why? Based on my experience in the gay community, I believe it’s due to the fact that so many gay men had their first sexual experience as an adolescent with an adult male.
That is a traumatic experience, and as long as the wound remains untreated, the victim feels compelled to continually reenact the experience so as to master it or project it on to others… The other reason actually discussed in the community is…
– because of the Aids crisis and the emergence of drug resistant strains of contagions like herpes and gonorrhea, gay men are compelled to seek new, untouched young men.”
“Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhood – molestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult
The gay community must face the truth and see sexual molestation of an adolescent for the abuse it is, instead of the ‘coming of age’ experience many regard it as being.”
Tammy Bruce – The Death of Right and Wrong