Ok- Top Jehovah’s Witness officials may face criminal charges, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, February 10, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
An Oklahoma prosecutor is charging that top Jehovah’s Witness officials knew about but concealed allegations of child rape. We are glad that the DA’s office is working to expose these heinous crimes.
When officials conceal sex crimes, they are not only breaking the law, they are doing a huge disservice to the people and families that trust them. Victims who have suffered immeasurable pain and hardship are hurt anew when trusted officials hide crimes.
Now, every Jehovah’s Witness official who knew of or suspected or concealed these heinous crimes should be ousted and prosecuted for failure to report possible child sex crimes to law enforcement. If convicted, they should experience the most severe penalties possible. That's how we as a society deter such callous recklessness in the future.
We hope this case gives courage to anyone who saw, suspects or experienced abuse. We hope it prods them to call law enforcement. We also hope prosecutors across the US will use this case as an example to pursue charges against officials who conceal sex crimes.
(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.