OH--Accused predator teacher in court Monday
For immediate release: Friday, May 13, 2016
An ex-teacher at Cleveland's Jefferson Elementary School and Lakewood Catholic Academy, Michael Soderquist, is in court today on child sex charges.
We believe Catholic officials were warned about Soderquist while he was at Lakewood and before he went to Jefferson. We also believe they could and should have done more to stop his wrongful actions.
We hope that
--prosecutors move quickly but thoroughly in this case,
--Soderquist’s victim (or victims) are treated compassionately,
--school officials, both public and Catholic, aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered this teachers’ crimes, and
--Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact the independent, experienced professionals in law enforcement.
Lennon has a dreadful record on child sex crimes and cover ups. We are not confident he’ll do the right thing here. So we beg current and former church and school staff and parents to take action, rather than wait for and hope that Lennon will step up. We beg everyone associated with Lakewood or Jefferson to spread the word about the charges against Soderquist and prod potentially helpful sources and witnesses to call law enforcement immediately.
We also hope that Soderquist is convicted and ends up behind bars as long as possible so more kids are safe.
No matter what judges, prosecutors, school or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic or public schools to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
The pre-trial is Monday, May 16 at 1:15 p.m. at Stow Municipal Court, Stow, Ohio.
The prosecutor is Brendan Mackin 330.689.2869.
The detective is Linda Rinear with Summit County Sheriff's Office 330-643-5404.
(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.