KS, MO, NJ--Victims want “outreach” about arrested priest
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
A priest faces charges of strangling a four year old in a Kansas City suburb. His church supervisors and colleagues must aggressively reach out to others in KS, MO and NJ who may have seen, suspected or suffered other crimes by the cleric.
The accused is Fr. Oleh Zhownirovych, of Clifton, NJ is or was a priest affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Church in Passaic County.
All too often, when church staff and volunteers are arrested on criminal charges, their current and former church colleagues do nothing. All too often, corrupt church officials refuse to act and thus essentially protect criminals and endanger children. And all too often, secular officials with the power and duty to safeguard society’s most vulnerable pursue ONLY church staff who COMMIT abuse and ignore church staff who CONCEAL abuse.
Church members and employees in any place this priest has been have a moral and civic duty to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute him. They’ll be tempted, of course, to do nothing. But that’s wrong. And their inaction might help enable the priest to exploit legal technicalities and escape punishment and hurt more kids.
Church officials will no doubt be tempted to do nothing about him. That too is wrong. Their inaction might well encourage other clerics to ignore or conceal known or suspected crimes against children by their colleagues.
So we hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered this priest’s crimes will speak up, call police, protect kids, expose wrongdoers, deter cover ups and start healing. We hope church officials will take aggressive steps to help police and prosecutors.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
Priest from N.J. charged with choking baby in Kansas Walmart
OCTOBER 20, 2016
A Ukrainian Orthodox priest from North Jersey reportedly has been arrested and is facing charges for allegedly choking a 4-month-old girl inside a Walmart in Overland Park, Kan.
The child was not seriously injured and police credited a security guard and bystanders who responded to her mother's screams with . . .
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.