TX--Popular convicted predator loses appeal; Victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2016
A convicted Austin child molester who was openly supported by several churches has lost his appeal. We are grateful that he’ll stay behind bars and hope he’ll stop appealing. And we hope that the clerics and congregants who publicly rallied for him will now apologize to his victims.
In 2014, Greg Kelley was found guilty of sexually abusing a four year old. Before sentencing, Kelley voluntarily accepted a plea deal in which he admitted guilt. Two young boys testified against him. One mom testified that her son told her Kelley had molested him.
Still, officials and members at Generations Church in Leander held rallies for Kelley, a move which we believe was immoral, callous and which likely deterred other victims of other predators from coming forward.
It’s time for these misguided church staff and congregants to apologize for their insensitivity. To hold rallies for a convicted and admitted predator endangers kids by making it harder for those who see, suspect and suffer child sex crimes from speaking up.
Those who believe Kelley is innocent should visit him, pray for him, write to him and help his family. But they should do so in ways that do not scare other victims of other predators into staying silent.
By mounting public displays of support for a convicted and admitted predator, these misguided individuals are rubbing even more salt into the already - deep and still - fresh wounds of abuse victims and making it harder for police, prosecutors and employers to catch and oust child molesters.
Adults must learn to accept a disturbing truth: child molesters don't have forked tongues or devil’s tails or horns on their heads. They are usually not "creepy" people who give us "the willies" or seem socially inept. They are usually charming and charismatic and outgoing. That is often how they are able to gain the trust of children and adults.
So we must overcome the dangerous temptation to believe an accused sex offender is innocent just because he's likable or talented or devout. Discrediting victims and publicly supporting predators, especially convicted ones, not only hurts the innocent victims who have already suffered too much, but it also hurts other victims who suffer in silence and self-blame.
It creates a hostile environment and does not encourage victims to speak up and help protect other innocent people.
We urge officials at Generations Church in Leander to acknowledge their hurtful misdeeds (It is pastored by Bob & Tammy Brydon, 512-616-7000,firstname.lastname@example.org). According to the church website, the Brydons have been “actively involved in local church ministry, in both lay and pastoral staff positions, in several large Austin-area churches.”
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)