MI- Pastor misled congregants, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A Michigan pastor deceived his flock, claiming that his associate pastor went on leave for “personal reasons” when in fact the associate faces child abuse charges. It is extremely disingenuous and dangerous for church officials to be so misleading in child abuse cases.
Last Sunday, Rev. Tom Cook of First Presbyterian Church in Grand Haven gave a vague reason to his members for associate pastor Scott Robertson leave.
Church officials have an obligation to tell the truth to their community. Alerting parents about potential predators allows them to properly protect their children. It also encourages victims who are suffering in silence and self-blame to speak up. Rev. Cook should be ashamed of himself and should be disciplined.
(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.