NC- Church group responsible for “suspicious activity”, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
An Asheville Baptist church is behind reports of “suspicious activity” directed at teenage girls. SNAP calls on church officials to use common sense and better train their volunteers on how to interact with kids.
As part of an effort to boost church attendance, several “well dressed men” tried to lure young girls to their cars. Most parents in America teach their children to never get into a car with a stranger, so to have a church group attempt to get congregants by baiting minors to approach strange cars is appalling.
The pastor, Rev. Keith Shelton of Gospel Baptist Church, said they would "review their policies" on interacting with children, but that's too little too late. Church officials should apologize to the community, post clear guidelines on such "outreach" on their website and harshly discipline any church employees or members who do this in the future.
Keeping children safe should be a number one priority and this action sets a dangerous precedent.
(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.