TX- Pastor with poor child protection record is honored, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Statement by Amy Smith of Dallas, SNAP leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (281 748 4050, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention has been named the honorary chair of the 2015 National Day of Prayer, despite having refused to call police about a now-convicted child molester who was once on his staff. We are deeply saddened by this choice.
Jack Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas. Graham has done little or nothing to help police or prosecutors pursue his one-time youth minister John Langworthy. Langworthy is now a convicted child molester. And Graham has done little or nothing to find or help others who may have been hurt by him.
We have written to Graham and begged him to take more serious action to ensure kids in the Baptist church are kept safe. We have begged him to make moves to support victims and not predators. So far we haven’t seen any such action.
Wrongdoers should be punished, not rewarded. Punishing those who conceal child sex crimes deters others from concealing child sex crimes.
This move – tapping Graham for this honor – sends a dangerous message to other officials: “Don’t worry about kids’ safety. Just focus on secrecy and your career will be fine.”
For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, we hope members of the National Day of Prayer Task Force will reconsider their decision, disinvite Graham, and replace him with another minister who doesn’t have such a tarnished record.
(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)