KS--Sex offending church workers -1 from Canada-are "outed"
For immediate release: Thursday, June 23, 2016
For more information: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com), Barbra Graber (540-214-8874, firstname.lastname@example.org), Stephanie Krehbiel (734-678-2185, email@example.com)
Five names added to list of sex-offending Mennonite church workers
Each admitted to sexual misconduct but none have been charged
Four live in Kansas; One, a Canadian, is a painter on cruise ships
Group demands that Mennonite Church USA end its practice of keeping secret files on clergy with sexual misconduct charges
A support group for survivors of sexual abuse is announcing the addition of five new names to their Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) list. To be placed on the MAP list, offenders must have been named elsewhere through established media sources, internal institutional documents, court records, or any combination of the above.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says that each of these five men admitted to sexual misconduct, one of them with a teen-aged girl. However, none have faced criminal charges. Four of them live in Kansas. The fifth, a Canadian, is a painter on cruise ships. Brief histories of these predators are set forth below. Documentation and photos can be found at the associated links.
However, MAP list researcher and SNAP Mennonite member Stephanie Krehbiel of Lawreence, Kansas added, “We've learned recently that the Mennonite Church USA keeps sealed files on pastors who have had charges of sexual misconduct against them. We've even learned about pastoral search committees who have hired pastors without being informed that the pastor in question has charges of sexual misconduct against him in previous jobs. This is unacceptable. Have we learned nothing from watching the Catholic church quietly move abusive priests from one diocese to another? We demand transparency about how the church keeps track of sexual misconduct charges against individuals."
SNAP Mennonite leader Barbra Graber of Harrisonburg, Virginia, chimed in, “There's absolutely no place in a faith community for sealed files concerning a church leader's sexual misconduct."
The survivors group called on Anabaptist/Mennonite officials to publicly release the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of each and every abusive church worker.
David Clohessy, a Saint Louis, Missouri, man who is the long-time Executive Director for SNAP, also wanted to remind people that sexual predators are not just a danger within a religious group.
“Churches are quite often too quick to forgive, and when church officials keep the identity of men – or women -- who abuse kids and vulnerable adults ‘in-house’ instead of reporting to the authorities, it’s not just members of the faith community who are endangered. Anyone, including members of the public, can be at risk. Wounded victims should not have to bear the burden of warning police, prosecutors, parents and parishioners!”
“We also urge anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups to come forward, call police, protect kids and vulnerable adults, expose predators, and start healing,” he continued.
Krehbiel concluded, "We know that many survivors from Mennonite communities are still suffering in silence, and we suspect that there are still survivors of the men we just added to the list who have not received any accountability for their abuse. We hope that releasing these names will empower more survivors to come forward."
Anabaptism began during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, and today includes a complex network of churches and communities including the Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren, and the Amish. Known for their pacifism, there are more than one million Anabaptists worldwide in loosely affiliated denominations and conferences that vary in the conservatism of their faith. While the MAP list currently lists primarily Mennonite offenders, its creators are collecting information on offenders from other Anabaptist groups as well.
Anyone who has information and evidence of sexual abuse in Anabaptist Mennonite churches is urged to contact SNAP. Documentation concerning legal actions taken, dismissals from posts and/or media coverage may be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to MAP list, P.O. Box 442632, Lawrence, KS, 66044.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is the world’s oldest and largest support group for sexual abuse victims and their loved ones. SNAP was founded by victims of Catholic priests in 1988 and now has more than 21,000 members in over 79 countries. Even though “Priests” is in its title, SNAP is open to religious and nonreligious persons who were sexually violated by anyone inside or outside a faith community. The Anabaptist Mennonite Chapter of SNAP was established in early 2015.
FIVE NEW MAP PREDATORS
1. Jerry Quiring
Quiring was the pastor of Hesston Mennonite Church in Hesston, Kansas, in the 1970s and 1980s. According to a letter to Mennonite bishop Fritz Mutti, in 1976 Quiring admitted to having sex with a teenaged girl, but justified his behavior by saying that the girl was the aggressor. Later, the married pastor became sexually involved with a woman in the parish. Quiring ultimately resigned his position in Hesston. He later became the pastor of Faith Community Church in Topeka. The parish met at the Southwest YMCA from 2003 to at least 2014. SNAP believes that Quiring is still in Topeka.
(Publicly accessible Mennonite link on Quiring)
2. James Dunn
Dunn admitted to a sexually abusive relationship with a pastoral counseling client from 1974-1977. His ministerial credentials were suspended in 1992 because of this. However they were reinstated in 1996 and he returned to ministry. SNAP believes that Dunn is currently in Hesston, Kansas.
(Publicly accessible Mennonite link on Dunn)
3. Hubert Brown
Brown was suspended from ministry in 1995. He had been accused of assaulting a young man in Los Angeles in 1994. The victim first met Brown when he was a high school student four years earlier. At the time of the attack, Brown was the Dean of Students at Hesston College in Hesston, Kansas. SNAP believes that Brown is now in North Newton, Kansas.
(Publicly accessible Mennonite link on Brown) http://www.snapnetwork.org/mennonite_map_hubert_brown
4. John Sommer
Sommer was accused by multiple women of "unwanted sexual advances" over "a period of years." As a result, he was dismissed from his post in 1992 at Commission on Overseas Missions, which is a now-defunct organization. SNAP believes that Sommer is now in Newton, Kansas.
(Publicly accessible Mennonite link on Sommer) http://www.snapnetwork.org/mennonite_map_john_sommer
5. Murray Earl Phillips
Murray Earl Phillips was accused of sexual misconduct with multiple women while he was while serving as an instructor at Columbia Bible College in Clearbrook, British Columbia. Phillips, of Langley, British Columbia, is currently a self-employed artist as well as a leader of art cruises.
(Publicly accessible Mennonite link on Phillips) http://www.snapnetwork.org/mennonite_map_murray_phillips
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.