Canada--Lawsuit says Mennonite Church failed to prevent abuse

For immediate release Friday, March 11

Statement by Barbra Graber, Leader, Anabaptist-Mennonite Chapter of SNAP,

We are grateful this brave woman has filed a lawsuit alleging the Mennonite church “fostered a climate that aided in the abuse of children.” Brian Douglas Porinsky, a former pastor with the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba pleaded guilty to sexual assault and is serving time in prison.   

Children are safer when predators are held accountable for their crimes; but it is vital that those who enable, shield and protect those predators are also held accountable. Too often Mennonite church officials take matters into their own hands and allow the risk of harm to continue, putting the reputation of the institution ahead of the safety of children and vulnerable adults. 

When congregants, and especially children, are taught that pastors are chosen representatives of God on earth, a very dangerous situation is created. Time and time again we have seen children sexually groomed and assaulted because they felt they could not say no to a man of God.

We hope this lawsuit will force church officials of all denominations to become more vigilant in their hiring of pastors, to use their resources to educate the congregation about abuse prevention and to work with civil authorities in reporting and prosecuting these crimes.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (  

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