OR--Victims sues church for child sex abuse’ Group responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
We applaud the brave Oregon man who is suing the First Assembly of God officials for committing and concealing child sex crimes. Civil lawsuits often seem to be the only way to expose “enablers,” the employees who ignored or hid knowledge of or suspicions about horrific abuse of kids. And these suits perform a valuable public service by deterring other supervisors and colleagues who may be tempted to turn a blind eye to abuse or worse, help keep it under wraps.
The case is W.J. v. First Assembly of God of Albany, et al., filed today in Multnomah County (Circuit Ct. Case No. 16CV11965). It’s being handled by Portland attorneys Gilion Dumas (503-952-6789, [email protected]) and Ashley Vaughn (931-206-0090, [email protected]).
Sadly, abuse and cover up are far more common than any of us realize or would like to admit, especially in churches and especially in the more insular and conservative denominations like the Assemblies of God. It takes real courage for any victim of sexual violence to speak up. And it takes real compassion for victims to take legal action so that other vulnerable kids are protected and other wounded adults can heal. So again, we are deeply grateful that this man has found the strength to step forward and the wisdom to expose wrongdoers in court.
No matter what happens in court, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Assemblies churches or institutions – especially byGantt and Todd Clark – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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 SNAPnetwork.org)