HI- Victims want 2 investigation re Hawaii/Florida predator

For immediate release: Thursday, April 17, 2014 

For more info: Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com, Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com 

Victims seek two investigations

Long time Hawaii predator abused several foster kids

SNAP: "Catholic Charities and state agency should take action”

They gave him "unfettered access to vulnerable boys," group says

One key individual won promotions & is now a supervisor at state bureaucracy

A support group for sex abuse victims is urging Catholic Charities and Hawaii state officials and to investigate how a predator was able to foster children.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging the two organizations to answer questions about how so many boys were placed in the care of Jay Ram. And investigate Roselyn Viernes, who is the head of East Hawaii Child Welfare Services in Hilo, and was the social worker responsible for placing the children in foster homes.

Ram, who is also known as Gary Winnick, is accused of sexually abusing boys that he fostered and adopted in California and Hawaii. He is believed to be the Tampa Florida area. A recent documentary chronicles Ram’s abuse.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2sFheAc1rQ

Ram is accused of molesting the boys and exploiting them and forcing them to do hard physical labor. The victims say that Ram threatened them, deprived them of food and refused to let them to engage in regular social activities with their peers out of fear that the boys would report to authorities. Although Ram has been investigated by the police in the past, the victims say that they were threatened with violence and more abuse to keep them quiet. The boys were abused between the ages of 8 and 17 during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.

SNAP is writing to the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services and Catholic Charities urging officials to do a complete, independent investigation of all placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator.

“It is time for action. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints were made known,” said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP volunteer Western Regional Director.  “Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Catholic Charities and CWS refused to listen to children who were being abused? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.”

The letters from SNAP, sent today by fax and email, are pasted below.

(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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Letter one:

Patricia McManaman
Director
State of Hawaii Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 339, Honolulu, HI 96809-0339
Fax 808-586-4890
dhs@dhs.hawaii.gov

East Hawaii Child Welfare Services
75 Aupuni Street Hilo, HI 96720
Fax: (808) 933-0693

Dear Ms. McManaman

We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation's largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.

We were disturbed and dismayed by the recent news documentary LOVE SERVE SURRENDER (http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ), which tells the story of Hilo-area rancher Jay Ram, who fostered, adopted, and sexually abused more than two dozen boys on the Big Island.

What is even more upsetting is to learn that high-ranking state social worker Roselyn Viernes has had knowledge of suspicions and complaints against Ram for decades. She is currently working in your East Hawai'i Central offices. According to the news story and corresponding documents, there are records of at least two allegations of abuse against Ram in 1989. Despite this, Viernes continued to place boys in his care. The documents can be viewed here: https://news.vice.com/articles/an-alleged-pedophiles-perfect-scam?trk_source=homepage-feature

it is time for action. State social workers who ignore abuse complaints and put more children as risk must be held accountable. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints crossed Viernes' desk. Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Ms. Viernes refused to do the right thing? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.

We ask that you do the following:

--Do a complete investigation of all of Ms. Viernes' placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator,
--Immediately remove Viernes from her position until the investigation is complete,
--Reach out to all boys placed in Ram's care and let them know they have criminal and civil rights and that help is available.

Your offices may even house the evidence necessary to help criminally prosecute Jay and help his victims get the accountability they deserve.

Hawaii's most vulnerable kids deserve far better than being placed in foster homes with sex predators.

Mahalo,

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com


Letter two

Jerry Rauckhorst
President & Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Charities Hawai‘i
Clarence T. C. Ching Campus
1822 Ke‘eaumoku Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
info@catholiccharitieshawaii.org
jrauckhorst@catholiccharitieshawaii.org
(808) 599-8761 Fax

Catholic Charities
Hilo Office
62 Kinoole Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Fax: (808) 961-7059

Dear Mr. Rauckhorst:

We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation's largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.

We were disturbed and dismayed by the recent news documentary LOVE SERVE SURRENDER (http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ), which tells the story of Hilo-area rancher Jay Ram, who fostered and adopted—and then sexually abused—more than two dozen boys on the Big Island.

What is even more upsetting is to learn that Catholic Charities had a role in this abuse. According to the news story and corresponding documents, there are records of at least two allegations of abuse against Ram in 1989. Despite this, Catholic Charities, in partnership with Child Welfare Services, placed boys in Ram's care and allowed other boys to remain with Ram. The documents can be viewed here: https://news.vice.com/articles/an-alleged-pedophiles-perfect-scam?trk_source=homepage-feature

It is time for action. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints were made known. Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Catholic Charities and CWS refused to listen to children who were being abused? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.

We ask that you do the following:

--Do a complete investigation of all of Catholic Charities' placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator,
--Reach out to all boys placed in Ram's care and let them know they have criminal and civil rights and that help is available.

Your offices may even house the evidence necessary to help criminally prosecute Jay and help his victims get the accountability they deserve.

Hawaii's most vulnerable kids deserve far better than being placed in foster homes with sex predators.

Mahalo,

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com

 

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commented 2014-04-19 23:28:16 -0500 · Flag
thank you SNAP for all you do – never stop fighting!
@SNAPNetwork tweeted this page. 2014-04-17 14:38:37 -0500
Our most powerful tool is the light of truth. Through our actions, we bring healing, prevention and justice.



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