MO- Victims want Presbyterians to do "outreach"
For immediate release: Thursday, July 24, 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)
In a heart-breaking new lawsuit, a Presbyterian minister is suing the Presbyterian church because of child sex crimes by another Presbyterian minister and cover ups by Presbyterian officials.
While all child molesters must be considered dangerous, this one is especially dangerous. He admitted in a Boone County court that he severed a man's genitals in an illegal gender reassignment surgery. He also admitted possessing child porn. And now he is being sued for allegedly sexually assaulting a boy from Sedalia.
He is the now-imprisoned Jack Wayne Rogers, formerly of Fulton, Missouri. Rogers has also been publicly named as a suspect in the disappearance of a northwest Missouri boy who went missing months after Rogers allegedly assaulted Rev. Kris Schondelmeyer.
Rev. Schondelmeyer has filed a civil lawsuit charging that Rogers sexually violated him at a nationally sponsored youth conference in Maryland in 2000. At the time, Rogers was a Presbyterian lay pastor for the Jefferson City-based Missouri Union Presbytery serving at Bellflower Presbyterian Church.
This is heartbreaking on so many levels. First, Schondelmeyer's pain is heartbreaking, especially because it could have been prevented. Second, the other crimes by Rogers are heartbreaking. Third, it's heartbreaking that Schondelmeyer feels compelled to file a lawsuit because Presbyterian officials refuse to reach out to others Rogers may have hurt. And fourth, it's heartbreaking to think about others who were likely assaulted by Rogers and who are still struggling today, mired in shame, confusion, and self-blame.
We desperately hope that those who are in pain because of Rogers find the strength to step forward, get help and start healing.
And we call on mid-Missouri Presbyterian officials – at the headquarters in Jefferson City and in churches across the region – to use their church websites and pulpit announcements to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered Rogers' crimes.
(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 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)
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.