AR--Victims challenge church where abuse happened
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
A Jonesboro church employee was sentenced yesterday for repeatedly raping the two girls but still faces charges of video voyeurism and child pornography.
Now, we challenge First Assembly of God Church staff and members to aggressively reach out to find others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Anthony Waller.
Because church officials gave Waller access to kids
Because Waller faces more charges
Because police and prosecutors need help pursuing predators
Because the more law enforcement knows about a criminal the more appropriately he can be sentenced.
Current and former First Assembly of God members and employees have both a civic and moral duty to “beat the bushes” to find and help other with information or suspicions about Waller and prod them to call police.
It’s immoral of them to sit back, do nothing, and leave the burden of keeping Waller away from kids to his victims and our court system.
Want more reasons they must act?
Because the girls were raped at the church
Because police found 400,000 images of child pornography and video of girls on Waller's computer
Because some of the videos of the young girls were taken inside the church bathroom
Because holes were found in the church bathroom’s ceiling and a place for hiding a camera nearby
Because often child predators exploit technicalities and escape conviction
Because once convicted, often child predators get light sentences and later abuse again
It’s especially crucial that church staff and members seek out those who’ve left the church. Those families, who suddenly stopped coming to services, are most likely the ones whose kids were hurt or who suspected abuse, took action and were punished or ostracized or criticized.
All too often, in these cases,
--church officials and members do little or nothing to help police and prosecutors nail predator
--there are others in the church who ignored or hid these crimes
--those supervisors, colleagues and congregants can sometimes be prosecuted, and
--when they ARE charged and convicted, it deters other adults in other institutions who are tempted to disregard or conceal knowledge or suspicions of child sex crimes.
So First Assembly staff and congregants, summon some strength and do what the Bible taught us - go out into the cold and the dark and the rain and find the lost and wounded sheep. It’s what Jesus would do.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in churches to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted 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)