SNAP Stands in Support of Danny Lavery and Calls for Investigation into Menlo Church

A whistleblower who came forward with proof that a megachurch pastor allowed an admitted pedophile to continue working as a volunteer around children is now facing blowback from the church community and their own family. We in SNAP stand in support of this brave whistleblower who risked their reputation and livelihood in order to protect children from abuse.

Being a whistleblower is a difficult and often thankless task, one that falls to people of conscience who witness wrongdoing and have the strength of character to speak up about it. Danny Lavery clearly did the right thing in this situation. Parents want to know their children are being watched over by trusted adults, not pedophiles who are protected by their superiors. We recognize that there have been no allegations against the volunteer, and that he calls himself a “virtuous pedophile” who has not hurt anyone. However, it is still a bad policy to take such a risk, particularly when the situation is hidden from parishioners and others affected by the decision.

It is also not right that all of the work in reforming Menlo Church has fallen to Danny, but we applaud him for bringing this issue into the public eye. Now it is on Menlo Church leadership to undertake a full investigation into this situation and ensure not only that proper disciplines for enablers are handed down, but that steps are put into place to ensure no children are placed in harm’s way like this again.

The fact that family dynamics are at play in this situation makes it all the more challenging for Danny, but it should not complicate the issue in the minds of parishioners and the public. In our view, this is a simple case of powerful church leaders using their influence to protect their own reputations at the expense of children. This is wrong no matter who is involved and we hope that people in the community will call for Pastor John Ortberg’s removal, a thorough examination of the culture that led to this point, and a public plea for anyone who may have been hurt in Willow Creek Community Church or Menlo Church to come forward and find help and healing.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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