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SNAP
Statement



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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sex abuse victims prod Baptist church's prior leaders to search consciences

For more information:
Christa Brown of Austin, TX, Baptist Outreach Director of SNAP, 512-217-1730 (cell)
David Clohessy of St. Louis MO, National Director of SNAP, 314-566-9790 (cell)

Sex abuse victims prod Baptist church's prior leaders to search consciences

Music minister at prominent church arrested on sexual indecency with child

More victims have come forward with allegations dating back years

Support group urges church to make outreach to others

The music minister at the prominent First Baptist Church of Benton, Arkansas, was arrested on a felony count of sexual indecency with a child.

At least three more adult men have now brought forward allegations that they too were sexually abused as teens by this long-time minister, David Pierce. News links:
http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/258337/
http://www.bentoncourier.com/content/view/168976/1/

During Pierce's 28-year tenure, other Baptist leaders passed through this church, including the current executive director of the largest state-wide Baptist organization in the country, the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Dr. Randel Everett was pastor at First Baptist of Benton from 1984-1988.
http://texasbaptists.wordpress.com/2008/01/22/everett-to-be-nominated-as-bgct-executive-director/

We urge all Baptist leaders who worked in this church during minister Pierce's tenure to search their consciences. In all likelihood, someone in this church saw or heard something in the past, or had some suspicion, and that information should now be reported to police.

We also urge First Baptist of Benton to proactively reach out to any other possible victims with a public offer of independent counseling.

We applaud the courage of the teenager and the men who brought forward these allegations. When victims and witnesses speak up, there is a chance for justice, healing and prevention. But when victims and witnesses stay silent, predators often walk free and kids get hurt.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse survivors. We've been around since 1988 and have more than 9,000 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 websites: SNAPnetwork.org and StopBaptistPredators.org.)

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Christa Brown (512-217-1730


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


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