For immediate release Thursday, March 30, 2017
Statement by Barbara Dorris, 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org
While we are grateful that Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer has apologized for pain caused by clergy who allegedly sexually assaulted children, we are concerned that the bishop’s words do not match his actions.
A 28-year-old priest with the Diocese of Gaylord testified recently that another priest, Father Sylvestre Obwaka, raped him. The unnamed clergyman had known Obwaka since he was a teen, and had a “working relationship” with him. The case is going to trial, despite the fact that both priests had been drinking together. Obwaka’s defense attorney says that both of the men were adults and the sex was consensual . The next court date is scheduled for Monday, March 20th.
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.