CA--Group to Baptist church: Do outreach to other abuse victims
For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 5
We applaud the brave person who is exposing child sex crimes at New Testament Baptist Church. When victims stay silent, predators keep hurting kids and colleagues keep hiding their crimes. But when we find the strength to seek justice in the secular courts, there’s at least a chance for healing, prevention and closure.
The accused perpetrator in this case is Kareem Mitchell, who is the church’s music minister. We strongly suspect that other church staff knew or should have known about Mitchell’s alleged crimes.
All too often, especially in Baptist churches, church officials refuse to act responsibly and decisively in cases of suspected child sex crimes, preferring instead to disbelieve victims or “handling” the cases quietly and internally.
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Mitchell will summon the courage to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.
And we urge Baptist officials to use their vast resources and connections to seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups. It’s possible that Mitchell - or others who may have obstructed justice, destroyed evidence, intimidated witnesses – might face more prosecution in the future.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have 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.
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.