IL- Lawsuit alleges negligence by church officials, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, February 14, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Two lawsuits against a church volunteer for child sexual abuse also claim that officials at Willow Creek Community Church were negligent.
Robert Sobczak pleaded guilty to sexually abusing an 8 year old boy while at a church program for kids with special needs. Sobczak was a volunteer for the program and was never supposed to be alone with the children. Another family filed a suit against Sobczak for abusing their son when he was 9.
Willow Creek Community Church officials and law enforcement need to urgently investigate how Sobczak was able to be alone with the children. Those who are responsible for this gross negligence should be immediately be fired and reported to law enforcement.
We are grateful for the brave victims who spoke up and told their parents and for their parents for alerting officials. Church officials did the right thing by holding a meeting to inform parent about the abuse claims and we hope they will continue to do outreach to find other victims and those who may have covered up these crimes.
(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 (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, email@example.com), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, firstname.lastname@example.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.