TX --- Wichita Falls man arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a 14 year-old girl
For immediate release: Thursday, May 31
Statement by Barb Dorris, Managing Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
A Wichita Falls man was arrested and charged with indecency with a child following a call to the Wichita Falls Police. We are grateful that law enforcement is investigating. But we fear there could be more victims who have not yet come forward. We want survivors to know it is safe to come forward and report to police. We encourage all victims to report to law enforcement, not church officials.
We hope, although it is unlikely, that this was an isolated incidence. If Russell William Detwiler is a predator, they rarely attack only once. Russell William Detwiler allegedly abused the girl at his home in 2010 and 2012. A check of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church website directory shows Detwiler listed as a deacon for the Parish.
Church officials should aggressively seek out any other people who may have been hurt. Bishop Michael Olson should personally go to each parish where Detwiler worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers to speak up and call Wichita Falls law enforcement.
We hope that anyone who saw suspected or suffered abuse will contact law enforcement.
(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 15,000 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.
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.