AL--Alabama has “most risky day cares,” investigation shows; Victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, April 15, 2016
A disturbing new investigation has found that “Alabama offers religious day cares the most freedom of any state, shielding them from most government oversight.” As a result, innocent children suffer.
“More than 900 Alabama day cares say they are affiliated with religious groups, leaving almost half of all child care in the state free from most regulation,” according to licensing documents, the new report says.
The horrifying details are here:
It’s time for action.
Surely Alabama’s governor or attorney general have some emergency powers they can use to better protect kids. Surely there’s one Alabama legislator who cares enough to introduce a bill to better safeguard kids. Surely there are a handful of lawmakers who would at least insist on a public hearing to warn parents about these dangers.
Surely there are Alabama religious leaders, agency officials and law enforcement personnel who have the courage to use their bully pulpits and hold a few news conferences to let families know of this troubling situations.
Surely managers of secular Alabama day care centers can do likewise.
Surely Alabama adults care more about kids’ safety than adults’ beliefs.
We urge lawmakers to toughen laws so that kids are safer in every day care facility. The religious beliefs of adults cannot trump the physical safety of children. Adults can believe whatever they like but cannot do whatever they like, especially when innocent kids are at stake.
We urge parents to think long and hard, and do considerable research, before putting kids in religiously-affiliated Alabama day care programs.
We urge religious day care owners to voluntarily comply with or exceed state safety standards for secular day cares and prod other religious institutions to do likewise.
And we urge police, prosecutors, judges to do all they can to deter church employees from endangering kids by exploiting religious exemptions for their own financial benefit by aggressively investigating, charging, convicting and punishing wrongdoers.
No matter what lawmakers, officials or church personnel do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Alabama day care centers to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.