UK- Church elder jailed for sexual abuse, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A Jehovah’s Witness elder, who last week was found guilty of sexually assaulting two young girls and raping another woman, has been sentenced to 14 years in jail. We are grateful to the brave victims who helped get this dangerous predator locked up.
According to the judge, Mark Sewell showed no signs of remorse, “groomed” at least one of his victims, and used his position of power within the Jehovah’s Witness to prey on these girls. We are glad the judge saw the true nature of sexual predators and sentenced him to 14 years.
Because of the brave victims who worked courageously to get Sewell behind bars, other children will be safer. We hope officials within the Jehovah’s Witness will reach out to any other possible victims who might be suffering in silence and self-blame.
(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.