MO- Former principle charged with sexual abuse
For immediate release: Friday, March 7, 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 former principal of a Collinsville Christian Academy has been charged with attempted sexual assault. We want school officials to aggressively reach out to any other victims.
Robert Allen Lane allegedly tried to sexually assault a student twice on school property. We believe there are more victims. School officials have an obligation to seek out anyone else who many have seen, suspected or suffered abuse.
Church officials who worry about shrinking Christian schools should insist that their officials take real measures, not symbolic ones, to end the long-standing and dangerous church culture of recklessness and deceit in child sex abuse cases. That will no doubt help stem declining enrollment in religious schools.
This case is a reminder that public schools are inherently safer than private schools. There is more openness and more accountability in public schools than private schools. And there's less incentive to ignore or conceal child sex crimes in public schools than private schools.
First, law enforcement and fiscal authorities can more readily and easily audit and investigate public schools than private schools.
Second, citizens and journalists can better gain access to records in public schools than private schools.
Third, public school parents can attend and speak at regular, public school board meetings. They can oust board members, back other candidates, and run for those positions themselves.
These "checks and balances" aren't perfect. Kids do, of course, get molested in public schools, far more than anyone would like to admit. And child sex crimes are sometimes covered up in public schools. But in our experience, there are far fewer cover ups of crimes against kids in public schools than private ones.
We are grateful for this brave victim speaking up and we hope that other who may have been abused will gain courage and report to police.
(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.
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.