Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Four Amish bishops charged in Webster County, MO for failing to report abuse; SNAP responds

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

We are grateful that law enforcement has held the bishops in the Amish community accountable for their failure to report these horrific crimes. We must give wrong-doers no added incentives to hide their wrongdoing. On the contrary, we must make sure our justice system rewards victims and whistleblowers, no matter when they find the ability and courage to understand and report crimes.

We hope that this message will encourage anyone who is being sexually abused by a member of the clergy to come forward and get the help they need and deserve. That anyone who saw or suspected these crimes will contact 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 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 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 home, 314 503 0003)

Four Amish bishops charged in Webster County for failing to report abuse

News-Leader Staff • November 3, 2009

Webster County authorities have charged four Amish church leaders with failing to report alleged child abuse.

The four men, all bishops in Amish churches in the county, each are charged with one class misdemeanor of violating Missouri’s mandated reporter law, which requires teachers, medical professionals and others to report potential abuse to law enforcement.

Authorities say the men were aware for at least six months that Johnny Schwartz, a member of one of Webster County’s six Amish churches, allegedly had been molesting two female relatives.

Johnny Schwartz was arrested and charged in early October with four counts of statutory sodomy and two counts of child molestation.

His wife, Fannie Schwartz, has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of her children because she allegedly knew her husband was sexually molesting the girls, now ages 15 and 16.

The four bishops — Christian J. F. Schwartz, 41; Jacob P. Schwartz, 79; Emmanuel M. S. Eicher, 44; and Peter M. Eicher, 59 — also allegedly knew of the abuse.

Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole has said Johnny Schwartz “made a confession to the entire congregation ”twoyears ago and was subsequently shunned by the church. But the bishops, who allegedly discussed the case internally, did not report it to authorities.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests