OR--Victims challenge Mennonite school on abuse
For immediate release: Thursday, March 5
We applaud this brave teenager for having the strength to take action against the man who assaulted her and the school officials who enabled those crimes to happen.
It is very rare that someone so young manages to find the maturity and courage to step forward like this. Usually, it takes decades before a child sex abuse victim understands that what they endured was criminal, hurtful, apt to be repeated, and then summons the strength to act.
By her bravery, she is no doubt sparing other kids horrific trauma and deterring other school officials – in Mennonite circles and elsewhere – from acting so recklessly and callously in the future.
We challenge school officials to why they knowingly put kids at risk. We also urge them to show real courage and compassion by aggressively seeking out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered teacher Matthew Yoder’s crimes, either at Western Mennonite School or elsewhere.
It’s important that school staff mail and call students and staff who spent time around Yoder and beg anyone with information or suspicions about his crimes to call law enforcement, expose wrongdoing, protect others, deter cover ups and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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.
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.