MO - Abusive Baptist preacher goes on trial; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 2, 2013
David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
At least four girls say Rev. Travis Smith of Stover (near Jefferson City) molested them. Smith goes on trial today. We hope his victims get justice and we hope Smith is convicted and imprisoned so that kids will be safer.
Shame on the misguided and reckless members of First Baptist Church of Stover who are choosing, despite four alleged victims and six felony charges, to keep Rev. Smith on the job. This is stunningly callous behavior. It’s also a severe misreading of the notion of forgiveness. We can forgive wrongdoers without putting others at risk.
Forgiveness is a private decision. Paying a credibly accused serial child molesting cleric is a public act, and one that is inexcusable. The two should never be confused.
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.
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.