TN- Church should reach out to possible victims SNAP says
For immediate release: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A Tennessee youth pastor has been sentenced to 3 years in jail on child pornography charges. We are glad he is going to jail but believe his sentence should have been much stricter.
Joseph Todd Neill was the youth pastor at North Fork Baptist Church prior to him being investigated on a statutory rape charge. Investigators later found violent and graphic child pornography at his home.
We urge North Fork Baptist church officials to immediately reach out to congregants and beg anyone who saw, suspects or suffered crimes by Neill to call police immediately.
We hope any victims suffering in silence and self blame will find the courage to speak up. Children are kept safe when those who know about or suffered crimes call police and share what they know.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. 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)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.