For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 13
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Authorities have charged a Houston pastor with sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl.
This predator is away from kids largely because, according to one news account, “a church member who saw suspicious activity . . . continuously voiced her concerns.” We are grateful to this brave and compassionate person for speaking up.
We are also grateful to the girl’s parents who are apparently cooperating with law enforcement.
At the same time, we are disappointed in the predator’s wife who claims he has “repented.” Even if this is true, it’s irrelevant.
It’s heartbreaking to see churchgoers radically and recklessly misinterpret the concept of forgiveness in ways that endanger children. By all means, let’s forgive the drunk who causes a car accident that hurts kids. But let’s not hire him as a school bus driver. By all means, let’s forgive the adult who beats up a child. But let’s not put her in charge of a classroom.
By all means, let’s forgive a credibly abusing cleric. But let’s make sure he’s prosecuted, convicted and kept away from kids. Let’s not allow him back in the same kind of post he once exploited to assault a child – a church leadership role – just because he claims he’s “repented.”
We don’t knowingly put felons to work in a gun shop. We don’t knowingly put embezzlers to work in a bank. And we shouldn’t knowingly put a child molesting cleric in a position of power in a church, any church.
We encourage anyone with more information about this perpetrator to report it to authorities to help keep this man away from children. As seen through this witness’s actions, speaking up protects children. Staying quiet protects predators.