<% unless FeatureFlag.disable_quantcast? %> <% end %>


SNAP
Press Release


 

BACK TO:

Roster of Press Releases

 


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

For More Information:
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, 314-566-9790, snapclohessy@aol.com
Christa Brown, SNAP Baptist Outreach Director, 512-217-1730, christa@stopbaptistpredators.org
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-862-7688, snapdorris@gmail.com

Sex abuse victims urge top Baptist official to name clergy child molesters

Departing head of Texas Baptists was long-time keeper of secret file of accused clergy

“For kids' safety, disclose predators' names before you leave,” says self-help group

A nationwide support group for clergy molestation victims is writing to the outgoing head of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, urging him to disclose the names of ministers reported for child molestation.

Jan Daehnert, the BGCT’s interim executive director, recently announced that he will be departing at the end of March 2008. Before taking the top post, Daehnert was the long-time director of a BGCT office that maintains a file of ministers reported by churches for sexual abuse, including child molestation. Essentially, Daehnert was the keeper of that file.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is prodding Daehnert to publicly disclose the names in that file before he leaves.

"By this one simple act, Daehnert can protect dozens, perhaps hundreds of kids," said Christa Brown of Austin, SNAP's Baptist Outreach Director. "His legacy will either be one of courage and compassion or of secrecy and recklessness."

A BGCT-published booklet, “Broken Trust,” refers to it as the file of “known offenders” and states that the file contains the names of ministers who have confessed to abuse or for whom there is “substantial evidence that the abuse took place.” The BGCT’s website currently describes the file as containing “confirmed” cases of abuse.

In public comments, Daehnert himself justified the secrecy of this file by saying this: “We don’t publish the list because the list is given to us in confidence by congregations that have had ministers confess or where substantial evidence has been uncovered. Those congregations have reported something that is very troubling. They share with us in confidence their experience.”
http://www.baptiststandard.com/postnuke/index.php?module=htmlpages&func=display&pid=4586

“He's either going to side with secretive adults or vulnerable kids," said Brown. “Even though my own perpetrator’s name was in that file, he was still able to continue as a children’s minister in Florida,” she continued. “No one in Baptist leadership warned people in the pews, and he left the ministry only after the Orlando Sentinel published an article about my lawsuit.”
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-brown_28edi.ART.State.Edition1.153aa9d6.html

“How many more molesting ministers’ names are in that secret file and how many kids have they hurt?” asked David Clohessy of St. Louis , SNAP’s National Director. “Why aren’t parents entitled to know which ministers’ names are in that file?”

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support network for people who have been sexually abused by clergy. Founded in 1989, it has more than 8000 members and 65 support groups across the country. Its goals are to heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable. See SNAPnetwork.org and StopBaptistPredators.org.

A copy of SNAP’s letter, sent this morning by fax to Dr. Jan Daehnert, at (214) 828-5261 and by email to jan.daehnert@bgct.org is below.

Contact Information:
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, 314-566-9790, snapclohessy@aol.com
Christa Brown, SNAP Baptist Outreach Director, 512-217-1730, christa@stopbaptistpredators.org
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-862-7688, snapdorris@gmail.com

The Letter sent 3/18/2008:

Dear Dr. Daehnert:

In your online February 29th open letter, you asked people to let you know if the Baptist General Convention of Texas is “dropping any balls.” You are, and you have been for too long.

As you know, for at least the past 8 years, the Baptist General Convention of Texas has maintained a file of ministers reported by churches for sexual abuse, including child molestation. According to your own published policy, these are ministers who have either confessed or for whom there was “substantial evidence the abuse took place” or for whom the abuse was “confirmed” by churches.

We beg you to consider the moral implications of keeping those names in a closed file. Keeping those names secret keeps kids at risk.

We realize that you prefer to call it a “confidential” file rather than a “secret” file. However, whatever word you use, the reality remains that this critical information is not being disclosed to the people who most need to know – i.e., the parents who sit in the pews of Baptist churches.

Because you have previously attempted to justify the file’s secrecy by saying that it protected the identity of victims, we would simply point out that victims’ identities can easily be preserved while still disclosing the identities of reported clergy-perpetrators. Secrecy for the sake of the victims is an excuse that simply doesn’t fly.

We request that you make the safety of kids the highest priority by using the media resources of the Baptist General Convention of Texas to make public the names of the ministers in that file.

Sixteen Catholic dioceses have made public the names of admitted, proven and credibly accused priests. The Baptist General Convention of Texas should do likewise and make public the names of ministers in that file that you yourself previously maintained in the office of minister/church relations.

Specifically, we request the following actions: (1) Immediately post on the BGCT’s website and in the Baptist Standard the names of ministers in that file so that others can be warned; (2) Locate the whereabouts of the ministers in that file and inform the people in the pews of every church in which a file-listed minister has worked about the reported abuse in his past; (3) Turn over to secular authorities all names and materials in that file so that criminal investigations can at least be considered; (4) Begin receiving, reviewing and archiving sexual abuse reports received from the victims themselves and not merely reports received from church officials.

For the safety of kids and the sanctity of congregations, the Baptist General Convention of Texas should take action now, without waiting until it is finally pressured into it by investigative journalists, brave victims and outraged church-goers. Many more kids and congregants will likely have been hurt by then.

David Clohessy
SNAP National Director
(314) 566-9790 / snapclohessy@aol.com

Christa Brown
SNAP Baptist Outreach Director
(512) 217-1730 / christa@stopbaptistpredators.org

Barbara Dorris
SNAP Outreach Director
(314) 862-7688 / snapdorris@gmail.com.


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
 


<% unless FeatureFlag.disable_quantcast? %> <% end %>