Victims urge Episcopal Bishop to take action against retreat leader
- Defrocked minister to lead retreat in Georgia
- In 1999 he admitted abusing boy at a retreat in Texas
- Now, he’s set to lead a retreat in Augusta this weekend
- And church officials are refusing to warn retreat-goers
- Self help group is urging Episcopal bishop to ‘take action’
A convicted and defrocked child molesting cleric will lead a religious retreat this weekend in Augusta and a support group is begging Georgia’s Episcopalian bishop to stop him.
Starting Friday, a registered sex offender, Lynn C. Bauman will lead a three-day event at the Episcopal Convent of St. Helena. Bauman is a defrocked Episcopalian priest who, in 1999, admitted molesting an eight-year-old boy on a retreat in Texas in 1996. Bauman was sentenced to ten years probation.
A Chicago based support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is writing Georgia’s Episcopal Bishop J. Neil Alexander, asking him to step in and remove Bauman himself.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Bauman is accused of molesting two other boys as well, and prosecutors have said that he is unrepentant. ("Former Episcopalian charged with molestation," by Brooks Egerton, 1/7/99).
Despite these crimes and accusations, a group of Episcopalian nuns - the Order of Saint Helena (which runs the Augusta center) is letting Bauman lead the retreat. Their promotional material makes no mention of the fact that Bauman has been convicted of child sex crimes on retreat. The event flyer they have put out online has no information about Bauman’s criminal history (available here: http://www.osh.org/_flyers/bauman-flyer-feb-2012.pdf)
When contacted regarding these omissions, OSH officials said that this was not relevant and refused to take action against Bauman. They have not responded to a letter SNAP sent to them last week about Bauman.
SNAP leaders are criticizing the OSH not only for refusing to warn event-goers of Bauman’s crimes, but for inviting him to speak in the first place.
“The organizers of this event are being reckless and callous,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, Executive Director of SNAP. “We are begging Bishop Alexander to step in and take this simple step to protect children.”
The Convent of St. Helena is located on 3042 Eagle Dr, Augusta GA 30906. Their phone number is 706-798-5201. Their fax number is 706-796-0079. They can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia is located at 2744 Peachtree Road, Atlanta GA 30305. Their phone number is 404-601-5320. Their fax number is 404-601-5330. They can be reached by email at email@example.com.
A copy of SNAP’s letter, sent today by fax and e mail to Georgia’s bishop, is available upon request.
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director 314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director 314-862-7688, email@example.com
We are leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
We are writing to you today because of our concerns about an upcoming retreat – held by the Order of Saint Helena – in which Lynn Bauman is listed as a leader.
In 1999, Bauman admitted molesting an eight-year-old Texas boy on a retreat, a crime for which he was sentenced to ten years of probation, and was required to register as a sex offender. The Dallas Morning News reported that he’s been accused of sexually abusing at least two other boy, and prosecutors have said they don’t think he feels any remorse.
If asked about these crimes today, Bauman will say that they are “not germane” to the work he is doing today. We disagree.
Last week, we sent a letter begging the sisters of the Order of Saint Helena to remove Bauman from this position of authority. They, like Bauman, claim that his crimes are not relevant.
However, Bauman found his previous victims while leading retreats such as this one. To allow him into this same position of authority is to invite the chance of another child being abused. As we all know too well, abuse can cause lifelong pain not only for the child but also for those that know and love that child. Is having him as a speak at your retreat really worth that risk?
Childhood sex abuse is a terrible thing. Victims are often forced to deal with depression, nightmares, failed relationships, substance abuse and when the pain becomes unbearable some take their own lives. No child should be placed at risk needlessly.
Bauman has been defrocked. Bauman has been convicted. Is this the man you want to represent your faith? Your retreat center?
(Please don’t split hairs and dodge your duty and try to claim that this center is somehow not yoru responsibility. It’s advertised on your diocesan web page. It’s in your diocese.)
We beg you to immediately intervene in this situation. We are dismayed that the sisters of the Order of Saint Helena have refused to take this simple step towards protecting kids. For the safety of children we hope that you will take the high road and use your authority as bishop to prevent Bauman from leading this retreat.
Some may advocate “forgiveness.” We too believe in forgiveness. But we also believe also in prudence. It is simply not prudent to give a predator access to children and vulnerable adults. We hope you will do the prudent thing, remove Bauman from the retreat.
Executive Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143
314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Outreach Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster Place
Saint Louis, MO 63130
314 503 0003
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.