PA- Youth minister in jail for child sexual abuse, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, July 29, 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 Pennsylvania youth minister has been arrested on charges of child sexual abuse and has admitted abusing her for several months. We are grateful to the witnesses who came forward with their suspicions and urge anyone else with information to come forward to police.
Brian Keith Smith was the youth minster at Journey by Grace Church and led their youth program, The Joshua Project. The victim is a 15 year old girl who joined the youth group in 2013.
We urge officials at Journey by Grace to reach out to all congregants urging them to speak up if they suspect anything and to talk to their children. They should urge anyone who saw, suspects or suffered abuse to report to police. It is possible that there are more victims 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.