VA--VA lawmakers make progress on campus rape bill
For immediate release: Tuesday, Jan. 27
Statement by Becky Ianni of Virginia, SNAP Leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (703 801 6044, SNAPVirginia@cox.net)
A bill mandating the reporting of alleged campus sexual assaults to police is moving ahead in the Virginia legislature. But it’s a tiny step forward.
Measures like this seem good but sadly, are rarely used. Very few wrongdoers ever go to jail or even face charges for ignoring or concealing sexual assaults, against kids or adults.
So it’s crucial that police and prosecutors really use this law if it’s passed. It can protect the vulnerable and prevent future crimes. But only if those who don’t call police are vigorously prosecuted.
Often law enforcement officials are reluctant to bring “failure to report” charges because the penalties are often so light. We urge Virginia lawmakers to make this offense a felony, not a misdemeanor.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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.