OK- Church must "seek out" victims of just arrested-man, SNAP says
For immediate release: Tuesday, July 22, 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)
A teenaged missionary from Oklahoma is accused of sexually abusing several young children from an African orphanage. Our hearts ache for the vulnerable children who, instead of receiving much needed aid, were sexually assaulted. We hope the children will now, more than ever, receive the care they need.
Matthew Durham has traveled several times to Kenya to work at a children’s home with an organization called Upendo. The allegations of abuse stem from his most recent trip, but we are concerned there are more victims who have been suffering in silence and self blame from previous trips. We urge Upendo to publically explain how one of their volunteer missionaries was able to sexual assault the children they were meant to help.
We suspect Durham was or is affiliated with a church in Oklahoma. Officials at that church must aggressively seek out others in their congregation who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by him.
Children sexually abused in developing countries face added hardships of limited access to recourse and rehabilitative services. Upendo should immediately provide the children with access to rehabilitative services and reach out to anyone else who might be suffering in silence and self blame.
(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.
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.