For immediate release: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Statement by Becky Ianni, Virginia SNAP Director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPVirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
A Virginia Catholic school volunteer has been arrested on three counts of sexual abuse with a child. We are grateful to the brave victims who spoke up and to law enforcement for arresting this predator. And we are so disappointed in the response by Richmond Catholic officials.
David Linn Sellers was a volunteer at Christ the King school prior to his arrest. Catholic officials claim the alleged abuse did not occur on church or school property or “when the individual was in a volunteer capacity."
We wish Catholic officials would spend less time trying to distance themselves from their predators and more time trying to find others who saw, suspected or suffered their crimes.
We feel it is dangerous and self serving to make these claims. In many child sexual abuse cases, more victims with more information come forward as they gain courage from seeing others speaking out.
One of the Richmond bishop's public relations staffers also refused to confirm that Sellers was the individual charged with sexual abuse when a journalist asked. Shame on her. Catholic officials claim to be “open” in child sex cases. So why won't they disclose a crucial detail – like the name of the arrested predator – when asked?
We hope there are no other victims, but we beg Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo to personally visit this parish and aggressively reach out to any other possible victims of Seller who might be suffering in silence and self-blame. Anyone with knowledge or suspicions of child sex crimes should immediately call secular officials – not church officials - and protect others 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 18,000 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)