VA- Ex-school board head abused in Virginia; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Thursday, June 5, 2014
Statement by Becky Ianni. Virginia director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (703-801-6044, SNAPVirginia@cox.net)
A former school board chairman and federal employee has been indicted on 111 felony charges related to the sexual abuse of four children in Stafford, Virginia.
We applaud the federal authorities and the Stafford County Sheriff’s office for their efforts in bringing Thomas Francis Villacres to justice. Without their efforts, he may never have been exposed and countless children might still be in danger.
Villacres, who currently lives in Florida, is a former teacher and Army officer. We urge the Stafford School system to reach out to other possible victims. We fear that Villacres may have either committed or concealed child sex crimes in the school district.
According to a news report, he was also involved in St. William of York Catholic Church. We are worried that there might be other victims suffering in silence. We hope that Bishop Paul Loverde and the Arlington Catholic Diocese will use all their resources including the diocesan newspaper, church bulletins, and pulpit to encourage other possible victims to come forward to the authorities. We also hope that Loverde will personally visit each parish where Villacres spent time and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact law enforcement immediately.
Our heart goes out to these brave victims. We hope anyone who saw, suspects or suffered child sexual abuse by Villacres will call police, get help and start healing.
(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.
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.