AL – Pastor charged with refusing to report abuse, SNAP responds
For immediate release, Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Huntsville Police have arrested a Baptist pastor for failing to notify law enforcement or the Department of Human Resources after receiving a report of alleged sexual abuse. Michael Walker, a pastor at Southside Baptist Church, learned of the alleged abuse in March of 2017, but the alleged perpetrator was not arrested until last month.
SNAP has no direct knowledge about either set of allegations in this case. However, as advocates for child sex abuse victims, we recognize the absolute necessity of reporting all allegations of crimes against children to the professionals in law enforcement. Mandatory reporters are not required to investigate, but they can make a huge difference in the lives of young people who are being abused by reporting allegations to those who are qualified to investigate.
Whether or not the allegations against Pastor Walker are found to be true or not, we applaud the Huntsville Police for investigating them. Mandatory reporters are on the front lines of defending children, and when they fail to do their job they should be held accountable to the full extent of the law.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contacts – Amy Smith (281-748-4050, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175, email@example.com), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, firstname.lastname@example.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.