MD – Survivors’ group reacts to arrest of three church leaders for sexual abuse
For immediate release, May 24, 2018
Statement by Becky Ianni, Volunteer SNAP Leader for Washington, DC, 703-801-6044, SNAPVirginia@cox.net
The head pastor of Oxon Hill Assembly of Jesus Christ, Joshua Wright, his son and church minister William Wright, and Joshua Wright’s son-in-law and church member Donald Jackson have been charged with sexually abusing four teenage girls over a decade ago. Jackson is also a United States Capitol Police Officer.
As survivors of sexual abuse, we are always grateful to see law enforcement take the witness of self-identified victims seriously. While we do not have any firsthand information about this case, research has shown that false allegations of sexual abuse are extremely rare.
Sadly, we also know that abusers can come from all walks of life, including leaders in religious communities and law enforcement. It is especially disturbing when those in such positions of power prey on children who are even more vulnerable than most, as is alleged in this case. The four victims were all enrolled in a faith-based program meant to help at-risk youth, Children Having Overcoming Power (CHOP).
We commend the bravery of these four women in bringing their allegations to the police in Prince George’s County. We hope that their courage will spur anyone with information about criminal behavior in the CHOP program or elsewhere to report to law enforcement.
It is never too late to speak out and begin healing. There are people, and groups like ours, who will believe you and support you.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. 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.