UK- Jehovah Witness predator convicted; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, June 27, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A former Jehovah's Witness elder has been found guilty of child sex crimes. We are very grateful to his courageous victims. And we are glad that Mark Sewell will be kept away from children, at least for a while.
Sewell will be sentenced next month. So it's not too late for others who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to step forward and help make sure he's locked up for a long time.
The internal church “process” followed here was awful. Victims were sworn to silence and had to be in the room with this predator when they reported their pain, both of which are cruel demands to make on brave but deeply-suffering crime victims.
Given the mean-spirited treatment by JW officials, it's a miracle that Sewell's victims are willing to cooperate with the secular justice system. We applaud them for doing so. We hope they take some comfort from the jury's wise decision today.
(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.