For immediate release: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949-322-7434 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A leading figure in the Zen Buddhist movement in the US, who had dozens of abuse allegations against him, has died.
Joshu Sasaki Roshi allegedly sexually abused hundreds of students. Some of the allegations were reported to the Rinzai-ji board, but no action was ever taken. A group of independent Buddhist leaders investigated the claims against Roshi and said” "we have reports that those who chose to speak out were silenced, exiled, ridiculed, or otherwise punished.”
We hope his passing will give some comfort to the many individuals he abused. We also hope it will liberate others he hurt so they can disclose their pain, share their burdens and begin to heal.
Roshi's backers talk of how much good he did. The same could be said about most sex offenders. Many of them work in "helping professions" and volunteer their time at non-profits and perform great service to others. That, however, doesn't negate the severe harm they cause. Nor should it cause us to ignore or minimize that harm.
(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 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)