MS--Jones County priest arrested
For Immediate release Thursday, September 10
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
We are grateful for many things in the Jones County case involving a priest and a young boy.
We are grateful that the father of the young boy had the wisdom to call the police rather than contact church officials.
We are grateful that police immediately responded and arrested Father Jose Vazquez.
We are grateful that civil authorities will investigate further and attempt to bring other charges.
We encourage anyone who has been harmed by Vazquez to come forward and begin to heal. We beg witnesses and whistleblowers to remember that charges are not a conviction. That church officials often hire high powered defense attorneys so that even if found guilty the priest will spend little time in jail and then once again pose a risk to children. So now more than ever it is imperative that anyone with information no matter how old or insignificant they feel it is to come forward and talk with civil authorities.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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.