CA--Catholic teacher arrested for sexual abuse
Victim’s group: “Bishop must do outreach now”
SNAP: “others may be suffering alone and in silence”
First court appearance for the accused is September 19th
Survivors also urge officials to teach kids that women can be predators too
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
-- discuss the case of a newly-arrested abusive school teacher,
-- stress the likelihood that she may have hurt kids at TWO schools, not just one,
They will also beg Catholic and school officials to
-- educate kids and parents that women abuse too,
--“reach out to girls who may still be suffering alone and in silence,”
-- use their resources to beg those who may have experienced, witnessed or suspected abuse by this teacher to come forward, and
-- “come clean” to law enforcement investigators about any prior allegations of inappropriate behavior with students in the interest of public safety.
Tuesday, August 23rd at 11:00 a.m.
Outside the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison Street (between 21st & Grand) in Oakland CA
Two-three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
A public school teacher who had also taught at an Oakland Catholic school was arrested last week for sexually abusing a 15 year old girl.
Heather Amanda Butts, a teacher at Taylor Middle School in Millbrae, was arrested on August 17th on suspicion of having sexually violating the teen. Butts had been a drama teacher at St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland from 1999 to 2002.
Melanie Sakoda, the East Bay Director for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is concerned that Butts may also have had victims at the Oakland facility.
“Unfortunately, those who abuse kids rarely have just one victim, and they do not just wake up one day and decide to begin molesting. It’s highly unlikely that the Millbrae victim was this teacher’s first,” Sakoda said.
“Oakland’s bishop and his staff should aggressively reach out to girls who may be suffering alone and in silence,” she continued. “They need to know that they are not alone.”
The San Francisco Director for SNAP, Tim Lennon added, “Catholic officials should use every resource at their disposal to prod anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by this teacher to call police. The diocese must also ‘come clean’ - to the public and the police – about any other reports of misconduct by Butts.”
Lennon also hoped that the Oakland bishop, as well as the school district, would take the opportunity to educate students and parents. “People are used to thinking about abusers as male, and often overlook the fact that women can, and do, abuse children of both sexes.”
Sakoda concluded, “Kids are always safer when predators are jailed. People in the Oakland Diocese may have information that can help insure that happens here.”
Butts' first court appearance will be on September 19th at 8:30 a.m. in the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.
The San Mateo County District Attorney is Steve Wagstaffe (650-363-4636).
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.