MO--Victims blast Ft Wood officials over rape case
For immediate release: Thursday, Jan. 15
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, (Dorris is the Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A detailed report of sexual abuse by an Army sergeant in today’s Post Dispatch raises troubling questions about how seriously senior officers at Ft. Leonard Wood take the safety of enlisted personnel.
Top Army officials seem determined to focus on the crimes of Sanchez while minimizing the wrongdoing by others who should have prevented those crimes. It’s disingenuous and self-serving to portray Sanchez as exceptionally shrewd and manipulative and able to “get around” safety protocols.
Frankly, many rapists are shrewd and manipulative. That’s why it’s crucial that those who ignore or conceal sex crimes be punished as much or more than those who commit them.
An investigator found that the “command climate contributed to the lack of reporting from trainees on SSG Sanchez.” That’s a damning conclusion, and one that rings true to us. And that’s what top brass must effectively address. Fixating on the offender won’t do this. Only a deep, sincere and thorough self examination – coupled with harsh punishments for those who, wittingly or unwittingly, enabled Sanchez’ crimes – will make Ft. Leonard Wood safer.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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)