Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, March 26, 2009

Philly pastor charged with child sex abuse, SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP National Outreach Director 314-862-7688

It's tragic each time a trusted clergyman is accused of child molestation. We applaud this brave teen for disclosing these crimes and protecting others from this pastor. We hope others who saw, suspected or suffered Rev. Benson's crimes and misdeeds will step forward and call police and get help.

An arrest is not a conviction, and many times, shrewd accused sex offenders exploit legal technicalities and walk free. So it's crucial that other victims and witnesses find the courage to speak up and cooperate with law enforcement.

(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 20 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)

Pa. church pastor charged with sex abuse in Del.

NEWARK, Del. — Police in Delaware say a Newark man who is a pastor at a Philadelphia church has been charged with sexually abusing a boy for years.

New Castle County Police say 40-year-old Harry Benson, the senior pastor of Eastern Pennsylvania United Methodist Church, was arrested Tuesday. He has been charged with rape and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

The arrest came after the teen told his high school resource officer Tuesday about the sexual abuse.

New Castle County Police say detectives investigating Benson's relationship with the student learned that Benson had been abusing the boy for several years.

Benson is being held in Howard Young Prison after failing to post bond.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests