VT--Victims blast Jehovah's Witnesses in abuse trial
For immediate release: Tuesday, March 31
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Officials with a purportedly spiritual group is splitting hairs and exploiting loopholes more befitting of cold-hearted corporate CEOs.
Jehovah’s Witnesses bureaucrats are using legal technicalities to try to deny child sex abuse victims their day in court. Shame on them. They’re squandering any moral authority they may have had by ducking and dodging in court like desperate criminals determined to use any and every legal maneuver possible to save their own reputations and careers.
Church officials have won a partial victory. A judge has granted their requests to have portions of a child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit tossed out. We hope that ultimately they will fail and that Miranda and Annessa Lewis will be able to expose the callousness and recklessness of Jehovah's Witness officials in a trial.
Already, by their courage, these sisters have warned thousands about the predator who hurt them, Norton True. We are very proud of these courageous young women. And we hope they realize that by breaking their silence and filing this suit, they have already won in the most important sense: they have taken back the power that was stolen from them in childhood. We are confident that because these sisters are speaking up, others who were assaulted as kids have been inspired to speak up too.
Finally, we hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by True or cover ups in churches will call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.
(The sisters are represented by attorneys Irwin M. Zalkin of California and Jerome O'Neill of Vermont.)
(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.