The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, November 23, 2009
Controversial church says arrested pedophile isn't a member; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, national president director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003)
A public relations person for the controversial Independence-based Community of Christ church now claims Paul Cool, who was just arrested on child molestation charges, isn't a member of the church. She admits Cool donated to the church but claims he wasn't a member.
We stand by our earlier statements that, according to two sources, Cool was, in fact, a Community of Christ priest working to become an elder.
Whether his name formally appears on a membership roster isn't the issue. He attended and donated. He had access to kids through and at the church. We believe it's likely that victims, witnesses or whistleblowers, with information about Cool's crimes, attend or attended the church. And we know that church officials have a moral duty to reach out to anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes.
Putting Cool aside for a moment, we repeat our plea from last week: that Community of Christ church officials use all the resources to reach out to anyone who may have been hurt by any of the church members and leaders who have been arrested on child sex abuse charges.
We are disappointed that the church held a prayer service about this last week and apparently made no mention of the civil and moral obligation of victims and witnesses to call police with information they know about possible crimes.
Finally, we desperately hope that Community of Christ officials spend less time trying to distance themselves from likely criminals and more time trying to find and help likely victims.
(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 21 years 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 SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests