The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
Sex abuse victims respond to allegations against prominenent evangelical
For immediate release:
Statement by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, national board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (414-429-7259)
We understand and sympathize with members of New Life Church and the evangelical community in this time of turmoil.
At the same time, however, we urge Haggard's supporters to resist the temptation to lash out at the media or Haggard's accuser and assume the allegations can't be true. When allegations like this arise, we must all strive to be open-minded and realize that sometimes even an apparently warm, outgoing and successful individual can be sexually troubled.
In cases where sexual misconduct has occurred, instant public denunciations of an accuser can be very harmful, deterring others with information about the potential crimes - both victims and witnesses - from speaking up.
We all have a duty to help foster an environment that encourages, not discourages, disclosures of sexual misconduct, especially by powerful individuals like clergymen.
New Life Church officials have announced that a panel of four ministers will investigate these allegations.
We urge Haggard's church to involve others, including mental health and law enforcement professionals, in that process. Time and time again, we've learned that no institution can effectively investigate itself.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest self-help group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 17 years and have more than 7,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we welcome and support people who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests