Survivors Network of
those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
Monday, April 7, 2008
Baptist pastor refused to call police about child sex abuse report; victims respond
Statement by Christa Brown of Austin, Baptist Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (512 217 1730 cell) and David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)
It’s alarming that the senior pastor of a Southern Baptist church would choose to “handle” a child sex abuse report by keeping quiet.
According to a lawsuit filed last week, Pastor Wayne Stockstill at the First Baptist Church of Hesperia said he “erred on the side of grace” when, a decade ago, he did nothing about a report that church deacon Roy Long was molesting children.
This past January, deacon Long pled guilty to child molestation. Investigators have said there is a good possibility of other victims.
We hope that law enforcement officials will immediately open an investigation into Pastor Stockstill’s blatant and hurtful disregard for California laws. We don't know if he can be prosecuted, but he certainly should be. And he should be questioned about any other child molestation reports he may be keeping secret from the police.
“When cars are hurtling down the highway, you don’t ‘err on the side of grace’ and lay down on the highway,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis , SNAP’s National Director. “That’s how reckless it was for Pastor Stockstill to do nothing about a reported child molester, except he chose to put kids at risk rather than himself.”
“Whatever happened to the notion that ‘grace’ was a gift from God?” asked Christa Brown of Austin , SNAP’s Baptist Outreach Director. “When did Baptist pastors start thinking it was their own gift to bestow on child molesters?”
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support 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 have members who were molested by religious figures from all faith groups. Our websites: SNAPnetwork.org and StopBaptistPredators.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Christa Brown (512-217-1730), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688).
of those Abused by Priests