KY- Church should be "shunned," victims say
For immediate release: Thursday, July 10, 2014
A Kentucky pastor, who is also a registered violent sex offender, has been arrested again, this time for recent child sex crimes. We are grateful to the brave victim who came forward and we demand answers about how a registered sex offender was allowed to work as a pastor.
Roy Neal Yoakem, pastor at New Gospel Outreach Church in Scottsville, was recently arrested for abusing a young teenager. Yoakem is a convicted sex offender and is a registered violent sex offender in Tennessee. It is outrageous that such a dangerous man and proven criminal was given a position of trust and a chance to hurt more children.
New Gospel Outreach Church officials should immediately and publicly explain why they acted so recklessly. They should provide immediate and public outreach to all parishioners and members of the community, begging anyone who saw, suspects or suffered sexual abuse by Yoakem to come forward and report to police. Anyone who helped Yoakem get his position or helped cover-up his crimes should be investigated.
And we urge the broader Scottsville community to denounce and shun this church. Those who knowingly put innocent children in the path of a proven predator should be punished. We especially call on other ministers in and around Scottsville to use their pulpits and voices to harshly condemn New Gospel members and officials for behaving so irresponsibly.
Predators rarely abuse once and Yoakem already has a history of abusing children. We are concerned that others are suffering in silence and self-blame. We encourage them to be brave, report to police and start healing.
(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 18,000 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.
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.