VA- Youth pastor charged with online child sex crimes, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Thursday, June 5, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A Virginia youth pastor was arrested for allegedly sexually soliciting a minor online. We are glad law enforcement stopped this dangerous predator.
Deric Wallace Peacock was the youth pastor at Church of God South Hopewell since January 2013. We are grateful that undercover law enforcement officers were the ones Peacock was soliciting, but are worried that there might be real victims suffering in silence and self-blame. (Peacock and his wife reportedly were foster parents.)
We urge law enforcement to urgently investigate whether Peacock sexually assault any children that may have been in his care or at his church. Church officials should publicly disclose that Peacock has been arrested and beg anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes to come forward, call law enforcement and start healing.
Transparency about child predators is one of the best ways to keep kids safe.
(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)
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.
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.