Canada--Lawsuit says Mennonite Church failed to prevent abuse
For immediate release Friday, March 11
We are grateful this brave woman has filed a lawsuit alleging the Mennonite church “fostered a climate that aided in the abuse of children.” Brian Douglas Porinsky, a former pastor with the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba pleaded guilty to sexual assault and is serving time in prison.
Children are safer when predators are held accountable for their crimes; but it is vital that those who enable, shield and protect those predators are also held accountable. Too often Mennonite church officials take matters into their own hands and allow the risk of harm to continue, putting the reputation of the institution ahead of the safety of children and vulnerable adults.
When congregants, and especially children, are taught that pastors are chosen representatives of God on earth, a very dangerous situation is created. Time and time again we have seen children sexually groomed and assaulted because they felt they could not say no to a man of God.
We hope this lawsuit will force church officials of all denominations to become more vigilant in their hiring of pastors, to use their resources to educate the congregation about abuse prevention and to work with civil authorities in reporting and prosecuting these crimes.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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.
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.