CA- A fifth Michael Jackson victim comes forward, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, May 12, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Some will blast Michael Jackson's latest accuser for his timing. That's wrong.
If kids are to be safe from predators, adults must welcome – indeed, be grateful for – abuse reports no matter when they happen. It would be wonderful if children immediately understood that they were being hurt and could immediately dial 911. But that rarely happens.
So they struggle, usually for years, with confusion, shame and self-blame. They cope as best they can. They convince themselves that the molester loves them. They don't see it as a crime.
And when they finally do understand it was wrong, they cannot imagine disclosing. They fear everyone will believe the powerful and popular predator.
Tragically, often their worst fears are realized. Often, otherwise caring adults flock around and defend a child molester, usually because he's great at his job, whether teaching, coaching, preaching, singing, dancing or some sport.
And the brave victim of abuse gets re-victimized.
So our hearts ache for James Safechuck who now says he too was sexually victimized as a child by Jackson. We commend him for his courage.
It's hard for virtually every victim of sexual violence to speak up. It's especially hard when the victim knows that his or her past will be heavily scrutinized by many who will vehemently rally around a well-known and well-loved public figure.
But it's crucial that every victim of sexual violence at least consider taking action. Silence endangers kids and emboldens predators. Speaking up exposes wrongdoers and discourages cover ups.
So we hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Jackson will find the courage to step forward.
So we are grateful that this brave victim has come forward. It is through the courage of victims who speak up that future abuse can be avoided and justice can happen.
As this lawsuit moves forward, we hope investigators and the public will not let the fame of Michael Jackson cloud their judgment. It takes a great deal of strength for victims of child sexual abuse to come forward. They rarely do so lightly.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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)