GA -- Victims Leaflet the Church
Victims to leaflet church-goers
They tout new child sex abuse law
It could bring hundreds of new suits
Rare measure lets even old cases be filed
Dozens of child predators could be exposed
Group also seeks others hurt by “notorious perp”
Two of his victims were each awarded more than $1 million
SNAP: “Catholic church officials should do aggressive outreach”
As parishioners leave mass, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand them fliers. The leaflets:
-- applaud a new Georgia law that may lead to many more lawsuits against child predators
-- beg victims to use that law to “expose molesters and protect kids,” and
-- prod anyone who saw or suspected clergy sex crimes or cover ups in the Savannah area to step forward.
They will especially prod people to speak up if they have been hurt by a notorious Georgia predator priest who was just sued last month.
Wednesday, April 22 at 12:15 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 222 East Harris Street (corner of Abercorn) in Savannah GA
Two members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director
The victims will hold signs and childhood photos.
One month ago, the third child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit was filed against Fr. Wayland Yoder Brown and his Catholic supervisors.
More such litigation may be on the way, however, because Georgia lawmakers have opened an unusual “window” giving potentially hundreds of child sex abuse victims the chance to expose their predators in court.
Only a handful of states (California, Delaware, Hawaii and Minnesota) have adopted a measure like this, which gives almost anyone who was abused as a child by anyone the chance to file a civil suit no matter when the alleged crimes took place. Victims’ advocates applaud the law, saying it protects kids by making public the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesters, most of who still walk free and work or live among unsuspecting families, neighbors and co-workers.
Until now, SNAP says, an “archaic and predator-friendly” statute of limitations has enabled most adults who commit or conceal child sex crimes to escape detection. The group calls the “window” the “best, cheapest, quickest and safest way to safeguard kids and prevent crimes by exposing predators.”
The “window” opens in July and covers victims up to age 53 who have not previously sued.
SNAP is also convinced that more victims of Fr. Brown “remain trapped in shame, silence and self-blame.” The group is highly critical of Savannah Catholic officials – especially Bishop Gregory John Hartmayer - for doing what it says is “little or nothing” to find and help other victims of Fr. Brown. SNAP says Hartmayer should personally go to each site where Fr. Brown worked, “even briefly,” and make “an impassioned plea for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to break their silence.”
The first known abuse complaint against Fr. Brown came in 1969 when he was lay teacher in Savannah. Then-Bishop Raymond Lessard ordained Brown despite advice from a vocations director. Complaints against Brown kept surfacing through late 1980s.
There are current criminal charges against Brown in South Carolina, filed in 2008. case 20081960 in the warrants division.
After treatment at a Maryland church facility for sexually trouble clerics (St. Luke’s Institute in Suitland), he was returned to ministry in 1986. Three men accused him of abusing them as boys in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2002, Brown pled guilty to molesting two boys in 1974 while at Catholic University seminary in Washington DC. For those offenses, he was sentenced in 2003 to ten years prison. He was released, however, in 2008. That year, another lawsuit was filed against him. It settled the following year for $4.24 million. In 2011, another suit was filed against him. He was reportedly defrocked by the Vatican in 2004.
Brown’s photo and work history is here: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/assign/Brown_Wayland_Y.htm
One of Brown’s victims is represented by Savannah attorney Mark Tate (912-484-1762)
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.