SafeNet promotes the healing process and advocates for survivors who have suffered the trauma of clergy abuse, whether as minors or adults, including: sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, spiritual and/or bullying.
SafeNet was first founded in 2003, as a volunteer organization by Paul Fericano and John McCord, two survivors of clergy sexual abuse who attended St. Anthony’s Seminary in Santa Barbara in the sixties and seventies, respectively.
SafeNet was incorporated in 2008, as a tax exempt nonprofit under the umbrella of Instruments of Peace. After the dissolution of Instruments of Peace in 2016, SafeNet reverted to its original volunteer status.
Safenet receives and accepts no financial assistance from individuals or organizations, including the Catholic Church or any other religious institution.
SafeNet assists survivors by researching and gathering pertinent information on specific or general cases of clergy abuse perpetuated by either Christian or non-Christian religious offenders.
SafeNet provides pertinent information for particular and specific inquiries concerning the Franciscans, its offenders, and/or St. Anthony's Seminary and the Santa Barbara Boys Choir.
SafeNet contacts religious authorities on behalf of survivors only when requested and offers survivors referrals for psychotherapy and/or legal counseling.
A Word About Our Name
SafeNet: Survivors Alliance and Free Exchange Network
When SafeNet was founded in 2003, its acronym was an abbreviation for "Survivors Alliance and Franciscan Exchange Network." That same year, the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara recognized and formally endorsed SafeNet as a welcome and viable path to reconciliation. Over the next ten years this identify helped bond and define the work it was accomplishing with clergy abuse survivors and the Franciscans. In 2012, a new Franciscan administration determined that a relationship with SafeNet was no longer agreeable. In 2013, the word "Franciscan" was formally replaced with the word "Free" to avoid any misunderstanding among survivors and to reflect a more open and inclusive advocacy that remained true to SafeNet's core.