SD- Victims urge church officials to help with new abuse case
For immediate release: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A former Lutheran minister in South Dakota is facing criminal charges of molesting a girl. Now, Lutheran officials have a duty to help police and prosecutors with this case and aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by the clergyman.
We applaud this brave girl and her family for cooperating with police and prosecutors. And we applaud law enforcement officials for investigating and pursuing this case. But church members and staff have an obligation to help too, by using pulpit announcements, bulletins, mailings and websites to reach out to anyone who might have information or suspicions about Tony Haglund that could be helpful to law enforcement.
All too often, church officials proclaim their opposition to child sex abuse but act helpless when a cleric is accused of hurting kids. Church officials must be proactive and responsible and try to track down former congregants who may have been assaulted by alleged child molesting clerics.
We urge anyone in the Canton area – whether victim, witness or whistleblower – to speak up now and safeguard innocent kids and vulnerable adults by exposing wrongdoers. We especially call on current and former church employees to act responsibly and share what they know or suspect about Catholic clerics who commit or conceal child sex crimes with the police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public right away.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com),Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
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.