PA- Lawyer claims “exploiting a minor” charge was with an adult
For immediate release: Thursday, July 24, 2014
An attorney for a once-convicted preacher accused of sexual misconduct with a congregant is claiming that the victim was over 18 and consenting. Regardless of the age of the victim, there can never be true consent between a congregant and a religious authority figure.
Duane Youngblood works at Higher Call World Outreach Church in Homestead. His attorney referred to the abuse as a consensual relationship with an adult, but that is a dangerous and manipulative claim that obscures the true nature of what happened. There can be no true consent when the power difference between the individuals is so great. That's why it's illegal in all states for therapists to sexually exploit clients and doctors to sexually exploit patients. In 17 states, it's illegal for ministers to sexually exploit congregants. Age doesn't matter.
Youngblood also has a previous sexual assault conviction involving a minor.
We hope that church officials will aggressively reach out to anyone else who may have been hurt by Youngblood. And we hope anyone who saw, suspects or suffered sexual abuse by Youngblood or any other church official will find the courage to speak up 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’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.