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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex abuse victims blast church

KC-based denomination blames child victims for their abuse

Legal move is “mean spirited” & “designed to intimidate,” group says

SNAP to church officials: “Reach out to, not lash out at, children who’ve been hurt”

“Have you learned nothing from the on-going Catholic sex scandal?” victims challenge church

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- harshly criticize a KC-based national church organization for filing court papers that blame children who were molested for their own abuse,
-- call on church members to stop donating to the denomination until the hardball legal tactics stop, and
-- beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffer child sex crimes or cover ups in the church group to call police and get help

WHEN
Monday, Nov. 23, 11:30 am

WHERE
Outside the Church of the Nazarene Headquarters, at 6401 Paseo Blvd (corner of Meyer & 63rd. st.) in Kansas City, MO (816-333-7000)

WHO
Three members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
Last year, five girls (three from Oklahoma and one from Louisiana) filed a civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit seeking unspecified damage against men and institutions with the KC-based Church of the Nazarene. In response, church officials have filed court papers charging that, to some degree, the girls are to blame for their own victimization. SNAP calls the legal maneuver “outrageous and immoral.” The self help group believes that church officials will likely stop exploiting such harsh tactics if church members withhold donations in protest.

Starting around 2000, the girls were reportedly “sexually molested, abused, fondled and inappropriately touched” by their children's pastor, Ryan Wonderly in an Oklahoma City suburb. Wonderly attended Southern Nazarene University (SNU) and admitted to an SNU staffer named Lynn Sims that he had problems with child porn, according to the lawsuit. Instead of helping, suspending or expelling Wonderly, SNU officials permitted him to continue on as an intern children's pastor at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene across the street. Church members and employees there repeatedly reported suspicious and inappropriate behavior and touching by Wonderly to higher ups, but little was done. Police arrested Wonderly in 2004. He is now behind bars, having been sentenced to 35 years.

Wonderly also reportedly worked at a church camp where children from 22 counties from northwest Oklahoma attended each year.

Defendants include 4 church institutions (the Nazarene General Board, the church’s Northwest Oklahoma District, Southern Nazarene University, and Bethany First Church of the Nazarene) and 4 individuals (Doug Forsberg, Lewis McClain, Harold “Melvin” McCullough, Preston “Lynn” Sims).

The church’s district office is in Oklahoma City.

The congregation (405-789-2050) and the university are in Bethany (405-789-6400). Three of the defendants live in Oklahoma (McClain in Bethany, Forsberg in Yukon, and Sims in Oklahoma City) and one (McCullough) lives in Missouri (in Johnson County, suburban Kansas City).

The lawsuit was filed in May 2008 in Oklahoma County, OK (Case No. CJ 2008 3689). The court clerk is Patricia Presley.

http://www.kwtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8217135, http://newsok.com/article/3234282/1209013863\

CONTACT:
Judy Jones 636-433-2511, David Clohessy 314-566-9790


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


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