IL- Youth minster charged with child sexual abuse, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A Cicero youth pastor has been charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse in a case involving multiple children. We are deeply saddened that there are likely more victims suffering in silence and self-blame.
Juan David Ferreras was the youth pastor at Sonido De Alabanza Church, he also organized two youth retreats for the church. It is extremely upsetting when a man entrusted by the community to work with their children uses his position to sexually assault them. The church should publically explain how this abuse was allowed to occur and create better child protection policies.
We are grateful for Cicero police for searching for more victims and encouraging church members to speak with their children about the case. We urge Sonido De Alabanza Church officials to reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered sexual abuse. They should also reach out to the two camps that ran youth retreats for the church.
(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)
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.