ID--Abuse victim sues Mennonites; Support group responds
For immediate release, February 12, 2016
Our hearts go out to Clayton Peaster and his family, and anyone else who may have been hurt by any Mennonite predator. We applaud Mr. Peaster for his courage and we hope his seeking justice will protect others and bring healing.
We urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered sexual violence, either as a child or an adult, to come forward, get help, protect others, deter cover ups, start healing and expose those who commit or conceal assaults on the innocent and vulnerable. We especially urge them to contact independent sources of help, like therapists, police, prosecutors and support groups like ours. Sadly, calling church officials often leads to more pain and secrecy, not less.
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)
Man sues Mennonite church over alleged abuse
Alleges adoptive father molested him, church officials failed to notify authorities
Posted: Friday, February 12, 2016 12:00 am - JEFF SELLE/Staff Writer | 0 comments
COEUR d’ALENE — A lawsuit filed Wednesday claims a child was sexually abused by his father, while leaders of a Mennonite church in Bonners Ferry failed to protect the boy.
The lawsuit was filed late Wednesday by attorneys with the Coeur d'Alene firm of James, Vernon and Weeks. It states Clayton Peaster was 11 when the alleged molestation occurred. He is now 27.
The defendants named in the suit are Mt. View Mennonite Church, Inc., the National Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, and Clayton’s adoptive parents, David Peaster and his wife, Cynthia Peaster.
During a press conference held Thursday at the firm’s office, Clayton’s attorney, Craig Vernon, said the child was adopted by the Peasters who both belonged to Mt. View Mennonite Church. The Kansas-based Church of God in Christ Mennonite, commonly known as the Holdeman Mennonites, is the parent organization of Mt. View.
Vernon went over details of the suit, which alleges . . .
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.
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.