Survivor Group pushes governor on predator priests
They want him to order AG to use subpoenas
SNAP also wants Hawley to delay & expand abuse inquiry
"Make no announcement until after election day," they urge
Otherwise, probe will be "politicized" and "hurtful," victims argue
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand deliver a letter to Missouri's governor urging him to insist that the state attorney general
--use subpoena powers to expand a statewide clergy sex abuse inquiry,
--question Catholic officials, in Jeff City & elsewhere, under oath, and
--use state resources to prod victims, witnesses & whistleblowers to come forward soon.
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26th at 1:00 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Governor's Office 201 W Capitol Ave #216, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Two or three victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who was the group's former long time executive director, its Mid-Missouri director and a concerned Catholic deacon
Last week, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley insisted that he can't use subpoeana powers to look at clergy sexual abuse in Missouri's four Catholic dioceses unless the governor orders him to do so. To "protect the vulnerable, expose the secrets and deter more cover ups," SNAP wants Governor Mike Parson to issue such an order.
SNAP is increasingly skeptical of Hawley's inquiry which was announced on Aug. 23. It wants to make sure the probe is comprehensive and beneficial. SNAP is suggesting several specific ways Hawley can ensure the success of the effort.
The group wants Hawley to avoid rushing the inquiry for political purposes and team up with a local prosecutor or two so subpoenas can be used and sworn testimony of church officials can be secured.
They also want Hawley to expand the inquiry to include "the hundreds of proven, admitted, and credibly accused child molesting clerics who have quietly been sent, over decades, into Missouri to live, work and/or be 'treated' at church facilities and to include religious order priests (like Jesuits and Marianists) who comprise roughly 1/3 of the clerics working here.
Finally, SNAP wants the attorney general to devise "accountability mechanisms" to enforce any reforms that may be adopted and do "aggressive, repeated outreach to victims" in several ways, including a dedicated new abuse reporting hotline.
Without subpoena powers, Hawley admits he must rely on bishops to fully and voluntarily share long-secret church abuse records, which SNAP feels will thoroughly compromise any inquiry.
In recent weeks about ten attorneys general across the US have announced full-fledged investigations. Few, if any, are of the sort Hawley is conducting.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, founded 30 years ago, provides support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. 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.