MO - Child sex abuse victim speaks for 1st time

  • Child sex abuse victim speaks for 1st time
  • Victims’ group appeals to Presbyterian church
  • They want action on a credibly accused predator
  • Minister faces allegations of molesting at least 2 boys
  • He has never been publicly accused before, however
  • But he has been “stripped of his ordination,” officials say
  • SNAP will release 28 page internal “investigation report”
  • “Don’t permit him to ever again act as a minister,” they beg

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy child sex abuse victim and his supporters will release copies of a previously secret, 28 page internal Presbyterian Church “investigation report” into child sex abuse allegations against a former St. Charles minister. In the report, church officials

--acknowledge that two separate allegations of child sexual abuse have been filed against the minister,
--claim they reported the accusations to two law enforcement agencies, and
--has “stripped” the minister “of his ordination,” their “most severe” penalty.

The victim, speaking publicly for the first time (and disclosing his name) will also
-- blast church officials for being secretive, moving slowly and abruptly ending their investigation, and
-- beg anyone who has seen, suspected, or suffered crimes in Presbyterian churches to come forward to secular authorities.

WHEN
TODAY, Monday, December 10, at 1:00 pm

WHERE
Outside the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy at 2236 Tower Grove (corner of Cleveland) in St. Louis, MO

WHO
The victim in this case, his parents, and members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
In February 2012, Gary Cave of St. Louis, reported to local Presbyterian officials that he had been repeatedly molested as a child (starting at age ten) in 1984 by Rev. Michael Walker Jackson at Dardenne Presbyterian Church in Dardenne, MO. Cave says Rev. Jackson abused him for at least four years, even after Jackson had moved to the northwest Georgia town of Dalton.

At one point, around 1989, Jackson flew Cave to visit him for two weeks, molesting him both in Georgia and in Panama City, FL. After returning home, Cave tried to commit suicide. While recovering, he told the police of the abuse he had suffered but no charges were filed.

In March of this year, church officials began investigating and in June, they sent Jackson’s lawyer the charges that they intended to file against Jackson. In July, Jackson “renounced” his ordination/ministry (though denying the abuse). So he has been “stripped of his ordination,” according to the church investigating committee chair.

SNAP wants the Presbyterian officials to publicly disclose the allegations and the church’s response so far, ensure that Jackson can never work again in the church, and aggressively seek out – through pulpit announcements and other ways – others who may have seen, suspected or suffered Jackson’s crimes. They also want all information church officials have about Jackson turned over to law enforcement.

Jackson was dismissed from Giddings-Lovejoy in Jan. 1989 and months later he started working in Albany Georgia at Covenant Presbyterian. That church’s pastor, Rev. Paul Luthman, “remembered an incident in which a young man was over at (Jackson’s) apartment alone and ‘the mother objected,’” according to the report. Jackson was “told at that time that under no circumstances was he to have any child - male or female – alone with him in his apartment.” Luthman “later heard from the police about the same matter.” Jackson “left Covenant very abruptly in Nov. 1989.

In the “Investigating Committee Report,” church officials claim they notified the FBI and Georgia law enforcement officials about the allegations against Jackson. And in a July 2012 letter to Cave’s attorney, Georgia Presbyterian officials acknowledge that they had also received an “allegation of inappropriate boundary violation from a Georgia child from the late 1980s.”

SNAP is concerned because, since Jackson “voluntarily” stepped down, he can easily misrepresent the circumstances around his removal and make himself appear safe to children and vulnerable adults.

“He could easily act as if he is simply retired, or had a theological disagreement,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. "The Presbyterians have done the bare minimum. They can't just walk away now.”

Until July of this year, Jackson worked as a chaplain at Greenleaf Center Inc. in Valdosta GA (912 247 4357), a hospital “providing individualized psychiatric and substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults. He was ordained in 1982.

Cave is represented by Clayton attorney Ken Chackes (880 4465, 369 3902 cell, KChackes@cch-law.com) and Nicole Gorovsky 880 4469, ngorovsky@cch-law.com). He works in construction and is in his 30s. Jackson’s lawyer is Christopher Townley of Rossville GA (706 861 6003).

Church officials involved in the case include Rev. Terry Epling (314-772-2395 x123), Elder Stephanie Foltz (618-210-8465), and Elder Kathy Landis (all in St. Louis) and Rev. David Garrison, Rev. Rebecca Blackwell (888-384-6554, 770-382-6280) and Elder Velma Tilley (in Georgia).

While in St. Louis, Rev. Jackson was active in Boy Scouts, soccer and the Big Brother Association. The latter association made a report about the allegations to its national organization.

Rev. Thomas Sale (270 830 6238) was the Dardenne pastor when Jackson worked there.

In September, church officials have paid Cave a $5,000 “donation” to help with counseling.

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