KY--Group praises victim & challenges officials in new church abuse suit
For immediate release: Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016
We’re deeply grateful to the brave, strong teenager who put a child molesting clergyman behind bars and is now using a new civil lawsuit – to be filed on Monday - to expose those who essentially protected the criminal at a northern Kentucky church. And we call on church officials who are facing this new suit to act like caring shepherds, not cold-hearted CEOs.
It’s rare that someone so young can muster the courage and wisdom to disclose their suffering and take quick and effective steps to both protect themselves, protect others and deter future recklessness and callousness in church supervisors. We don’t know “John Doe.” But we applaud him for acting so responsibly. And we sympathize with him in his deep pain.
All too often, in these cases, purported “men of God” hire expensive, hardball defense lawyers and shred, aggressive public relations professionals. All too often, they “circle the wagons” and attack the victim. All too often, they posture as ‘victims’ themselves, having allegedly been fooled by a cunning predator. All too often, they try to exploit obscure and archaic legal technicalities to evade responsibility for their irresponsible actions. We hope that doesn’t happen here.
Instead, we call on officials and members at Vanceburg Christian Church to aggressively but sensitively reach out to anyone who may have knowledge or suspicions about child sex crimes or cover ups there. We beg church staff and members to prod victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step up and speak out.
In child sex abuse and cover up cases, when adults keep quiet, innocent kids get hurt, dangerous secrets get kept, wrongdoers are protected, wrongdoing is rewarded and even greater harm happens.
Pastor Duncan Aker is behind bars, again, because John Doe did his civic and moral duty and came forward. If a suffering child can do this, knowledgeable but fearful adults can and should do so too. Remember: it’s possible that Aker could be prosecuted further for other crimes. And it’s possible that supervisors or colleagues who ignored or hid his crimes could be prosecuted too.
No matter what courts or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches, schools or other institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice 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)
Press Conference -- Sidewalk in front of Vanceburg Christian Church (38 Front St, Vanceburg, KY 41179)
A teenage male (referred to as “John Doe”) who was sexually abused at ages 9 – 12 by Pastor Duncan Aker
Defendant – Vanceburg Christian Church
A new child sexual abuse case will be filed against the Vanceburg Christian Church (http://www.vanceburgchristian.org/) on c
The victim was between 9 and 12 years old when Akers sexually abused him in 2007 – 2010.
Akers pleaded guilty and was convicted of criminal charges for sexually abusing Plaintiff John Doe:
The lawsuit will allege that the Vanceburg Christian Church is liable to the Victim for the sexual abuse inflicted upon him by the Church’s Pastor and the Victim’s resulting injuries.
The Victim in Monday’s lawsuit is represented by a legal team experienced in high-profile child sexual abuse cases against institutions
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.