The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Baptist predator/murderer arraigned; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by 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)
While our hearts ache for Sandra Cantu and her loved ones, our heads tell us there may well be others who’ve been victimized by Melissa Huckaby. Sexual predators – male or female – rarely strike just once.
We have no information whatsoever about possible other sex crimes by Huckaby. But history, psychology and common sense suggest that she has likely hurt others.
It’s important, of course, that criminal authorities, not church authorities, investigate alleged crimes by church employees and volunteers. At the same time, however, church officials can do a lot to help law enforcement solve and prevent crimes like this. We strongly urge the staff and members of Clover Road Baptist Church (where Huckaby teaches Sunday school and her grandfather is pastor) to aggressively reach out to current and former church members, and ask if any of them were injured by Huckaby. That’s what the Biblical parable of the ‘lost sheep’ tells us to do. That’s what any truly compassionate shepherd would do.
There are essentially two choices for Baptist officials: to be timid and passive and irresponsible, sitting back and doing little, just hoping that nothing awful happened at the church or to church members. Or to be courageous and pro-active and responsible, taking every possible step to seek out and help anyone else who may have been hurt by Huckaby and who might still be struggling in shame, silence, and self-blame. We hope church authorities choose the latter course.
Finally, we desperately hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Huckaby’s crimes or misdeeds will find the courage to come forward, get help, and call police. When victims and witnesses stay silent, child molesters walk free and keep assaulting. But when victims and witnesses speak up, at least there’s a chance for healing, justice, and prevention.
(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 SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact Joey Piscitelli (925-262-3699), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests