For immediate release: Friday, June 3, 2016
For more information: Barbra Graber 540-214-8874, firstname.lastname@example.org, David Clohessy 314 566 9790,email@example.com
Group wants investigation into church/college abuse case
“But it must be independent, not internal,” survivors insist
They challenge Mennonite officials to publicly pledge full cooperation
“And they should publicly oppose even discussion of an in-house probe,” group says
A support group for abuse victims is urging Mennonite Church officials to hire independent investigators to look into an abuse case at a Virginia church and university. The group also wants church leaders to pledge, in advance, their full cooperation with such an effort and their “vigorous opposition” to any proposed internal investigation.
The case involves Luke Hartman, well known church leader who was arrested on solicitation of prostitution charges while he was a vice president at Eastern Mennonite University and a member of Lindale Mennonite Church, both in Harrisonburg, VA. He is also accused of sexual abuse, stalking, verbal abuses, threats of violence and was allowed to remain in his position, the group says, long after credible accusations were made.