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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

In bizarre case, group begs witnesses & victims to come forward

Organization praises “six brave victims” & Missouri law enforcement

“Aggressiveness” in pursuing Lafayette County sex crimes is applauded

SNAP begs anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” sexual abuse to “speak up”

Clergy sex abuse support group also wants Independence church to “reach out” to others

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, 2 clergy sex abuse victims will
-- applaud the arrest of several men, members of an Independence MO-based church, who are accused of child abuse, mock weddings, bestiality, rape with objects, and forced abortion and sodomy,
-- prod others who may have been abused to step forward so they can begin to heal,
-- urge anyone with information or suspicions about the men to speak up promptly, and
-- beg church officials to use every resource possible to seek out and offer help to anyone else who may have been harmed - especially in the church

WHEN
Friday, November 13, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Community of Christ Headquarters and church, 1001 W. Walnut St. (corner of River St.) in Independence

WHO
Two clergy abuse victims who belong to a national support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
The Lafayette County MO sheriff arrested five men were on Tuesday on multiple charges of forcible sodomy and rape. At least six victims of these men have come forward and described the horrific childhood abuse they suffered. Authorities believe there is a "strong possibility" of more victims.

Though the men apparently molested relatives, it’s possible or even likely, SNAP feels, that they might have also molested children of fellow church members. So it’s the duty of church officials to do all they can to help find other victims and witnesses so the police can investigate quickly and thoroughly.

(The accused are allegedly “lay priests” in the Independence-based Community of Christ, which split from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1860 and was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints until 2001. According to news accounts, even while church officials were denying the men had "leadership roles," the officials also claimed the men's priesthood licenses were suspended.)

SNAP believes some people with information about the alleged crimes – whether victims or witnesses – may be uncomfortable calling law enforcement. The group will urge anyone with suspicions or knowledge of these men’s crimes to call SOMEONE – a therapist, friend, support group, anyone – so that they can get help and so that the wrongdoers can be prosecuted.

"We hope church officials will learn from the mistakes of the Catholic Church. rather than splitting hairs over the accused men’s titles and duties, we hope church authorities will work with church members and the public to do outreach to anyone who may have been hurt by these men or who saw or suspected their crimes and encourage them to contact law enforcement," said Barbara Dorris of SNAP.

"Because they’re powerless, kids often bury their feelings and pain to survive when the abusive situations becomes overwhelming. In this situation they literally buried their pain in notes they buried in jars on the property" said David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP. “These victims need the help of everyone in the community and the church to put these dangerous men behind bars where kids will be safe."

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. It’s been around since 1988 and has more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in its title, SNAP has members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers.)

CONTACT
Judy Jones 314 974 5003, David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566 9790 cell, Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 862 7688, (314) 503 0003 cell


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