MO- Accused child molesting minister wins delay
For immediate release: Thursday, May 22, 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)
We are very disappointed that an accused child molesting Missouri pastor has won another delay in his criminal trial and we are outraged that his flock lets him stay on the job despite multiple child sex abuse charges.
Every mid-Missouri clergyman and woman should use their pulpits to denounce the recklessness of the members of First Baptist Church in Moniteau County.
Rev. Travis Ray Smith continues to head his congregation even though he is accused of forcible rape, sexual abuse and two counts of statutory rape involving two girls.
This isn't the internal business of an isolated church. It's a public safety matter. If Rev. Smith molests again, it won't necessarily be a child in his congregation.
So we beg this judge to allow no further delays. We beg First Baptist officials to oust Smith. We beg religious figures in central Missouri to speak out against this callous and irresponsible move by church members to keep Rev. Smith in the pulpit. And we beg every single person who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to call law enforcement immediately. It's our civic and moral duty to help police and prosecutors convict child molesters so kids will be safe.
(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 15,000 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.
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.