Failure to punish enablers gives predators more chances
Stories like these are indicative of the dangers that come when sex abusers have their crimes covered up. Joseph Piña was known to have abused kids in the 1970’s. He himself admitted this abuse. And yet because his crimes – grossly mischaracterized by Piña as “a relationship” – weren’t reported to police, Piña wasn’t made to register as a sex offender.
And then he ended up working in a school system.
Had Piña’s crimes actually been reported to police, the chance of him working around kids again would have been near zero. Instead, Piña continued to work within the church for at least three more decades. After he was defrocked in 2006, the reverberations of the cover-up continued, and Piña was able to get a job working in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
I don’t know if any kids were hurt while Piña was working in the LAUSD, but I do know that Piña posed a threat to kids there. His therapist said he was a threat. And this threat went unchecked.
This is one reason that we always make it a point to ask for punishments for those who covered up sex crimes, and not just punishments for those who committed the abuse. The cover-up not only enable the initial abuse, but potentially enables future abuse as well, and puts more and more kids at risk.
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.