MS--Victims applaud arrest of predatory Baptist preacher
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 16
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank heavens for the attentive and responsive parents who reported an allegedly abusive Baptist youth pastor to the Hancock County sheriff. Often kids can’t tell, parents don’t believe them, or families foolishly tell church figures, not secular authorities. This mom and dad, however, promptly did the proper thing – they honored their moral and civic duty by calling law enforcement. We applaud them for their courage and wisdom.
We’re grateful that Rev. David Matthew Thorne of Picayune, a youth pastor at Goodyear Baptist Church in Pearl River County, has been arrested. But it’s a long way from arrest to conviction. Now is not the time for complacency. Anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Thorne’s crimes – or cover ups by church staff or members – must come forward.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups at Goodyear Baptist to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted and cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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.
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.