SC--Victims blast Bob Jones University over “inaction”
For immediate release: Thursday, March 12
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
We are dreadfully disappointed in Bob Jones University officials who refuse to reform in the wake of a thorough investigation into how sexual crimes and cover ups happened at the school.
We join victims of abuse and betrayal at BJU who feel very let down by the obvious inaction by top university staffers.
The GRACE report does a very good job of exposing wrongdoing. But now it’s up to school administrators to turn this information and advice into action. That’s the step they’re clearly not taking.
President Steve Pettit seems more worried about the morale of Bob Jones III and Jim Berg, who dealt with most of rape and abuse cases at the university, than about the safety of students or the healing of victims.
These two men should be publicly demoted and disciplined. The well-being of the vulnerable and the healing of the wounded trump the purported privacy of wrongdoers.
The decision to keep selling Berg’s books and is particularly callous. It rubs even more salt into the already-deep and still-fresh suffering of those who were hurt by him. It shows the school administration is more concerned about maintaining its revenue than healing its victims.
"Thousands of believers,” may have “benefited from his books,” as Petit claims. But that’s telling victims: “Others matter more than you do.” It sends precisely the wrong message to youngsters who are being hurt or will be hurt at BJU in the future: “Your pain and safety are secondary to us. Selling more books and DVDs matters more.”
Petit pledges an alleged review of student life and better training. But student life isn’t the real problem. A self-serving, secretive and recalcitrant school hierarchy is the problem. And a lack of training isn’t the problem. A lack of real compassion and courage is the problem.
Our hearts ache for anyone who was sexually violated at BJU or reported sexual violation at BJU, only to be re-victimized. We worry about the safety of current students and staff at BJU. And we fear that Petit and other BJU staff will sporadically talk about – but not implement – reform.
So we urge anyone who sees, suspects or suffers sexual crimes or cover ups at the university to call secular officials, not school officials.
(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.