Stopping Sexual Abuse by Ecclesiastical Leaders with Mary Dispenza and Judy Larson


In this episode of the Religious Feminism interview series, Mary Dispenza and Judy Larson, two leaders of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the activist organization made famous by the Academy Award-winning movie, Spotlight, discuss best practices to stop sexual abuse by ecclesiastical leaders and support sexual assault survivors. You can find episode notes for the Religious Feminism Podcast here at the Exponent website:

Links to Connect and Learn More:

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)

Judy Larson

2018 SNAP Conference in Chicago

SNAP News Story of the Day


SNAP Network  on Facebook

SNAP Network on Twitter

Talk to a Survivor

Mary Dispenza’s website

Split: A Child, a Priest, and the Catholic Church by Mary Dispenza

Mary Dispenza

Additional Resources Discussed in the Podcast:

Split: A Child, a Priest, and the Catholic Church#MormonMeToo series at the Exponent

Protect LDS Children

Our Stories Untold

Listen and subscribe for free below:

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at

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3 Responses

  1. Mary says:

    That was excellent, April. Thank you so much. Mary

  2. JNB says:

    What an informative and helpful and validating discussion. As the mother of a teen daughter who was sexually assaulted by a fellow church member/Melchizedek priesthood holder, I am especially grateful for the counsel given in this interview to not pressure victims to give statements or report to police. When we initially reported what happened, my daughter was too timid to go to church leaders about it and my husband wanted no part in it, so *I* had to be her voice. This made church leaders suspicious. They kept saying, “IF this is true, then why don’t you go to the police?” I didn’t go to the police because I didn’t have enough evidence of a crime; I just wanted the church leaders to keep him out of the Young Women’s room, where he was lurking each week and becoming what my husband called “too handsy with the YW” (I called it sexual assault because he kept “accidentally” touching their private parts). But they refused to even consider speaking with him until I produced a police report as evidence of sexual assault. I was so enraged and my child so traumatized that I instead looked for a job out of state and moved my entire family elsewhere. This man has since married a sweet single mother with young daughters and is still freely roaming the YW room. God help them all, I tried my best.

    Also, I really appreciate the counsel to all churches to unite together and tell our stories. This site is the only place where I feel like I can even talk about what happened to us. The only safe space. When I moved to my new branch, I shared what happened at my previous branch with church leaders (in a private interview, when asking for “two deep leadership”) and you want to know the result? I was never, ever asked to speak in church. My husband has spoken in sacrament meeting twice, but I am being ignored. So I don’t feel safe talking about this anywhere or with anybody now. I have completely withdrawn from the local church. Thank you for creating a place where I feel safe talking with church members online! 🙂

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