IL--SNAP: Fire one Bethalto minister & suspend his boss over sex case
For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016
Lutheran officials should fire a Bethalto minister accused of helping an accused sex offender and suspend his boss, the pastor. They should also aggressively denounce the minister’s actions and do everything possible to help police investigate the wrongdoers.
David L. Von Bergen faces two charges. First, he allegedly videotaped a 13-year-old girl and a 63-year-old man in church. And he’s accused of conspiring to destroy evidence of his crimes, with the help of Zion Lutheran Church assistant pastor Rev. Kale W. Hanson (618-377-8314, firstname.lastname@example.org).
We see no evidence that Zion officials have taken any action against Hanson. We believe he should be fired.
We see no evidence that Zion officials have taken any action against Hanson’s boss, Zion pastor Rev. Mark Hofferber (618-377-8314, email@example.com, ChurchOffice@zionbethalto.org). We think he should be suspended.
With Hanson, some may say “He’s charged but hasn’t been convicted. He’s innocent until proven guilty.”
We say, however, that “innocent until proven guilty” is the standard for incarcerating someone. And that’s appropriate. The standard for firing an employee, however, is considerably lower, especially an employee who purports to be a caring shepherd. By virtue of the fact that Hanson’s been accused of a deliberate criminal act, and has (as best we can tell) not denied it, we believe he should be fired.
With Horrerber, some may say “there’s no evidence that he knew of the crimes of Von Bergen and Hanson.” That may be true. But we find it very hard to believe that he was completely ignorant of them, especially of Hanson’s wrongdoing. By virtue of the fact that “the buck stops” at the senior pastor’s desk, we believe he should be suspended.
And consider the reverse. Consider the signal sent if Zion officials discipline neither minister. That says – to families, kids, police, prosecutors and the public – that Zion officials don’t especially take crimes like that seriously. Is this the signal that Zion officials want to send?
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, email@example.com)
Son of alleged Bethalto church videotaper is facing child-sex charges
BY BETH HUNDSDORFER, firstname.lastname@example.org, Belleville News-Democrat, January 8, 2016
The man accused of planting surveillance cameras in a Bethalto church around Christmas Eve joined his son in the Madison County jail on Friday morning.
David L. Von Bergen, 59, was charged Thursday with videotaping a 13-year-old girl and a 63-year-old man and then conspiring to destroy evidence with Zion Lutheran Church assistant pastor Rev. Kale W. Hanson. On Friday, Von Bergen found himself behind bars with his son, David J. Von Bergen, who . . .
Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article53719630.html#storylink=cpy
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.