CA- Jehovah's Witness sentenced for child sex crimes; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, March 3, 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)
We are grateful that a Jehovah's Witness elder will spend time in prison and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Now, JW officials and congregants must aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes.
On Feb. 28, Michael Norris pleaded guilty to molesting his granddaughter in Carpinteria, CA. He also spent time in Costa Rica. We worry that there may be other kids who were assaulted by him – in both countries – who are suffering in shame, silence, confusion and self-blame. Jehovah's Witness officials and members should work very hard to find and help these victims, and beg them to call police.
Anyone who may have seen or suspected Norris' crimes should also contact police. It's possible that current or former JW officials or members could be prosecuted for concealing Norris' crimes.
(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)
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.