MO- Former principle charged with sexual abuse

For immediate release: Friday, March 7, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected]) 

A former principal of a Collinsville Christian Academy has been charged with attempted sexual assault.  We want school officials to aggressively reach out to any other victims.  

Robert Allen Lane allegedly tried to sexually assault a student twice on school property. We believe there are more victims. School officials have an obligation to seek out anyone else who many have seen, suspected or suffered abuse.

Church officials who worry about shrinking Christian schools should insist that their officials take real measures, not symbolic ones, to end the long-standing and dangerous church culture of recklessness and deceit in child sex abuse cases. That will no doubt help stem declining enrollment in religious schools.

This case is a reminder that public schools are inherently safer than private schools. There is more openness and more accountability in public schools than private schools. And there's less incentive to ignore or conceal child sex crimes in public schools than private schools. 

First, law enforcement and fiscal authorities can more readily and easily audit and investigate public schools than private schools.

Second, citizens and journalists can better gain access to records in public schools than private schools. 

Third, public school parents can attend and speak at regular, public school board meetings. They can oust board members, back other candidates, and run for those positions themselves. 

These "checks and balances" aren't perfect. Kids do, of course, get molested in public schools, far more than anyone would like to admit. And child sex crimes are sometimes covered up in public schools. But in our experience, there are far fewer cover ups of crimes against kids in public schools than private ones.

We are grateful for this brave victim speaking up and we hope that other who may have been abused will gain courage and report to police.

(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, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])



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  • Jay Lankford
    commented 2014-03-11 18:13:33 -0500
    Im sure no one will care..but a few years back a teacher named terry hartman who is a friend of dennis amsden..the pastor at this school, sexually abused several boys at this same school…i wonder what would happen if someone asked them to explain him. It was handled “internally” and he quietly left the school with zero consequences.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-03-08 12:08:07 -0600
    I don’t know why, but over these last 25 to 30 years, or so, it seems that southern California has suffered very much child sexual abuse, and suffered it in nearly all venues: In private secular daycare (Mc Martin Preschool), in public (K-12) schools, and catholic schools, seminaries, orphanages and churches (remember roger mahoney and those he abetted). At the beginning of those years, was the Mc Martin Preschool calamity and atrocities, and subsequent bungled trial. As a young adult parent, living through that time, I cannot stress enough to you, how much it seemed to me that the press and media joined together to “hold the trial on tv” and how much I believe that adversely effected the results and the judge’s decisions in that trial. They (the media) were able to sway many people into believing that the children were “lying”. (Today, I know people my age, who to this day, don’t believe any child sexual abuse occurred there.) It’s awful.
    And, now, fast-forwarding to today, even though in the past I would have agreed with you that public schools are generally safer for children, than catholic or other private schools; we here in Los Angeles county have experienced in the last 4-5 years, a terrible increase in (the discovery, at least) child sexual abuse in the public schools; the checks and balances you describe, Mr. Clohessy, notwithstanding. I don’t disagree with you that there has been MORE sexual abuse of children in the catholic church, than in public schools.
    But, I would like to suggest to you, that it is likely due to many, many new things happening globally, in this past quarter century that are now making the discovery of pedophiles, and their heinous acts, more public, and sadly it might be that nearly as much sexual abuse against children has been happening in public schools all along, just on perhaps a smaller scale because of the checks and balances you mention.
    I think the origination of organizations like SNAP and others, have contributed a huge groundswell of assistance in achieving the goal of exposing pedophiles and the horrible abuse still occuring in the catholic church, today.

    However, I think SNAP is unique in its mission and in the history of this catholic church scandal of child and disabled adults sexual abuse, and I am very, very grateful for all of your accomplishments, thus far; I think this (your) organization’s actions have also been influencing the course of discovery and acknowledgement to the public of such abuse committed not only by catholic pedophiles, but also of non-catholic pedophiles and reporting not only the few legal actions taken against them, but encouraging further legal actions in the U.S. and in thecase of the catholic church, in the ICC. Thank you very much.
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