IL- Commune accused of "rampant child sex abuse," SNAP responds

For immediate release: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,

New lawsuit in Chicago accuses a Christian commune of covering up “rampant” child sexual abuse.

Once again we see the same repeat pattern in the Uptown Jesus People USA’s behavior that we have seen over and over throughout our nation and the world.  A situation exists where there is a hierarchy of power, and a central belief system that promotes control over people and their daily lives.  From this unhealthy environment, comes unhealthy behaviors, including sexual abuse. This appears to be just another case.

The part that concerns us the most at SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the response that we see constantly by those in power. Those that were and are in a position of power have a responsibility to prevent, or at the very least to respond to, abuse of any kind as quickly as possible.  Here we see the typical pattern that occurs when a victim comes forward.  There is denial first and foremost, then they point out the statute of limitations, and refer inquiries to their lawyers.  

What should be glaringly apparent is that there is no reaching out to the victims, no cry for other possible victims to come forward, and no investigation in joint effort with civil authorities, to make sure the crisis is promptly addressed, victims treated and/or compensated, preventing future abuse and cover ups, and punishing those responsible.

Until this accountability is an automatic response to all forms of abuse, we will not be satisfied, and will not rest.

(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 15,000 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 (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,, Peter Isely (414-429-7259,, Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434,


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