The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Predatory preacher gets light sentence; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)
We’re deeply saddened that this predator will spend so little time behind bars. Jailing child molesters for long periods is the only proven way to protect kids from devastating harm.
At the same time, we’re very glad this young woman found the courage to speak up and seek justice. We applaud her bravery and her persistence. We hope she is proud of herself for exposing a child molesting clergyman.
Finally, we strongly suspect there are others with information about other crimes by Landy. We urge anyone with any knowledge of his misdeeds – however slight, old or vague – to call law enforcement. The best thing that can happen now for children would be if other victims and witnesses stepped up, more charges were filed, and Landy was given a stronger sentence.
(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 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Former OATS director sentenced
by R.J. Cooper Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Mike Landy stood from the pew-like bench to greet each new person who walked through the swinging doors with a firm handshake and pat on the shoulder.
And when they left about an hour later, Mr. Landy, wearing a navy sweater, khakis and brown shoes, waved goodbye to each like this was another Sunday morning in church.
Except it was Tuesday afternoon in Buchanan County Circuit Court. And in between the familiar pleasantries, Judge Dan Kellogg sentenced Mr. Landy, 57, to at least 120 days of shock detention for committing statutory sodomy in the second-degree.
In October, Mr. Landy, the regional director for OATS Inc., pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a girl from 1996 to 1999. The victim was 13 and the defendant 43 when the relationship started, and Mr. Landy met her while working with the youth program at the New Life Bible Church.
According to Prosecutor Dwight Scroggins, the abuse entailed everything except intercourse, but went unreported for a decade until the victim finally disclosed last year.
When confronted, Mr. Landy confessed the relationship to his congregation and issued a statement to police essentially corroborating the victim’s accusations. For his sentencing Tuesday, the defendant brought with him enough support to pack the courtroom to its capacity.
“He asked us to forgive him, and we did,” said Dallas Cornelius, an elder in the church who showed up. “I was completely in the dark. ... Had we known there was an issue, we would have addressed it immediately.”
To start off the proceedings, Mr. Scroggins read a statement from the victim, who was present but relegated to a corner of the courtroom because of the crowd. She wrote that, “(Mr. Landy) used religion to manipulate me into thinking this is what God wanted.”
The victim said she disclosed separate abuse from her childhood to Mr. Landy in his role as a Sunday school teacher, and he subsequently pursued a relationship with her.
“I had given up hope,” she wrote. “It makes me sick he had that much control over my mind.”
The victim wrote that she felt guilt and shame, struggled with depression and panic attacks and experienced nightmares. The abuse affected her subsequent marriage, and she wrote she doesn’t trust anyone to watch her child now.
“His abuse was so deep, I constantly have to work to get him out of my head,” she wrote.
Mr. Scroggins asked that the defendant receive the maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
“It was done repeatedly,” Mr. Scroggins said. “He placed himself in a position where he had opportunity, where had access.”
In Mr. Landy’s defense, attorney Hugh Kranitz pointed out that the sentencing assessment report placed his client in the low-risk category to reoffend. He argued that based on the low-to-non-existent risk factors and subsequent sentencing guidelines, his client should receive probation.
Before hearing his sentence, Mr. Landy told the court, “I can never absolve myself for what I did,” and requested forgiveness.
Judge Kellogg admitted it was impossible to reconcile the two sides of Mr. Landy — the criminal with overwhelming community support. He sentenced Mr. Landy to seven years in prison, at which point a couple cries of, “Oh no” erupted from the audience.
The judge then suspended the execution of that sentence in lieu of five years probation and the shock time, which drew a handful of cheers that Mr. Kranitz quickly silenced.
During his probation, Mr. Landy can’t have contact with someone under the age of 17 unless it’s supervised by an adult who has been approved by the defendant’s probation officer. Mr. Landy can’t attend church unless that’s approved, as well.
Mr. Cornelius told the News-Press that his church would be, “making arrangements with (Mr. Landy’s) probation officer to do whatever we need to have him in church with us.”
Even though New Life Bible removed Mr. Landy from his position in the church upon hearing the confession, the defendant had been attending services there during the legal process.
OATS Inc. confirmed Tuesday Mr. Landy no longer is employed there, but wouldn’t comment on whether that had to do with his guilty plea or any other specifics.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests