GA--Bishop apologizes; survivors respond
For immediate release Thursday, March 30, 2017
Statement by Barbara Dorris, 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org
While we are grateful that Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer has apologized for pain caused by clergy who allegedly sexually assaulted children, we are concerned that the bishop’s words do not match his actions.
Less than a year ago, Hartmayer used every hardball legal tactic he could muster to fight a child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit filed against the diocese and Wayland Brown.
In 2003, Brown was convicted of molesting two minors in Maryland.
In January of this year, another victim filed a lawsuit alleging that Fr. Henry Grover gave a boy “LSD, alcohol, MDMA, cocaine and other illicit substances to lure and otherwise attract” him for abuse. The lawsuit then says that Groover sexually assaulted the minor.
In neither of these cases did Bishop Hartmeyer use any of his vast resources to reach out to anyone who have been hurt. He chose instead to do nothing and wait for brave survivors to come forward and do the work of warning others of dangerous predators.
We hope the community will judge Hartmayer by his actions and not his words. Apologies are only effective if they are are accompanied by actions that ensure children will be protected.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. We have members who were molested in all institutional settings, including churches, schools, clubs, and homes. 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.