MD- Former youth leader sentenced, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Thursday, September 4, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A former Maryland youth group leader has been sentenced to 16 years in jail for sexually abusing at least three boys. We are grateful to the brave victims who came forward and helped get a dangerous predator off the streets.
While Raymond Fernandez was working as a coach and youth group leader at Greater Grace World Outreach Church in Baltimore, he abused at least three boys. We are glad that he will be behind bars for 16 years and will have to register as a sex offender, but we are worried there are more victims suffering in silence and self-blame.
We urge Greater Grace World Outreach church to use their resources and seek out anyone else who might have been hurt by Fernandez. One of Fernandez’s victims came forward after seeing him at a church function as recently as 2013. If you or anyone you know was hurt by Fernandez, or any other church official, please do the right thing and come forward, 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 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)
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.