USA--New report says groping rarely prosecuted; Victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Today's New York Times reports that unwanted sexual groping is rarely addressed through criminal cases or civil lawsuits. This must change.
Heightened awareness to sexual assaults is welcome. But those of us who were molested as children you know that greater public visibility isn’t enough. Awareness does not automatically bring reform. Aggressive action must follow awareness.
So we strongly urge
--police and prosecutors to more vigorously pursue cases of sexual violence (involving adults or kids, penetration or no penetration), and
--legislators to strengthen laws against all types of sexual assaults (especially by ending or extending predator-friendly statues of limitations).
Most of all, we urge every victim of sexual assault – whether groped or raped – to
--report their experiences to law enforcement (even if you believe nothing will happen), and
--check out whether they have any civil options.
It’s our civic duty to at least share what we know or suspect about sex offenders with the independent professionals in law enforcement. And it’s our moral duty to at least consider whether we can stop predators through civil lawsuits.
No matter what lawmakers or other officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered sex crimes and cover ups – especially by the powerful or in institutions –– to protect others by calling police, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how the vulnerable will be safer, the victimized will recover, the criminals will be prosecuted, the “enablers” will be exposed, the cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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.