OR--Victims challenge Mennonite school on abuse

For immediate release: Thursday, March 5

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

We applaud this brave teenager for having the strength to take action against the man who assaulted her and the school officials who enabled those crimes to happen.


It is very rare that someone so young manages to find the maturity and courage to step forward like this. Usually, it takes decades before a child sex abuse victim understands that what they endured was criminal, hurtful, apt to be repeated, and then summons the strength to act.

By her bravery, she is no doubt sparing other kids horrific trauma and deterring other school officials – in Mennonite circles and elsewhere – from acting so recklessly and callously in the future.

We challenge school officials to why they knowingly put kids at risk. We also urge them to show real courage and compassion by aggressively seeking out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered teacher Matthew Yoder’s crimes, either at Western Mennonite School or elsewhere.

 It’s important that school staff mail and call students and staff who spent time around Yoder and beg anyone with information or suspicions about his crimes to call law enforcement, expose wrongdoing, protect others, deter cover ups and start healing.

(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)

Contact - David Clohessy 314-566-9790, [email protected], Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, [email protected], Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, [email protected]  

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