SC—Newspring Church must do outreach on child sex abuse case
For immediate release: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Statement by Amy Smith, <[email protected]>, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests leader,
Florence church youth volunteer kissed and fondled teen boy, police say
By Eric Walters, April 29, 2016, WBTW News 13
FLORENCE, SC – A youth group volunteer at a Florence church has been arrested for sexually assaulting a minor.
According to Florence Police Major Carlos Raines, a 15-year-old boy claimed Leo LaSalle Comissiong, 20, of Florence kissed and fondled him through his clothes.
The incident happened in February at the NewSpring Church on North Cashua Drive, Raines said.
Comissiong is charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, 3rd degree.
A spokesperson for NewSpring Church, Suzanne Swift, released the following statement regarding the case:
On Sunday, April 24, 2016, a NewSpring Church staff member saw Leo La Salle Comissiong III enter an unoccupied room with a 15 year old. The staff member immediately entered the room and questioned Comissiong. Comissiong denied any wrongdoing at that time. Because we take the safety of minors very seriously, we never allow adults to be alone with children or teens while on a NewSpring Campus. NewSpring Church questioned Comissiong again, and at that time removed him from volunteering in any capacity at NewSpring. After a separate conversation with the student, NewSpring staff contacted law enforcement. Since that time, NewSpring has fully cooperated with authorities and in this investigation.
NewSpring Church will continue to corporate with this investigation and we are praying for everyone impacted.
Perry Noble is the lead pastor of Newspring Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch headquartered in Anderson, South Carolina.
We are glad that law enforcement was contacted. Now, Perry Noble and Newspring Church have a moral and civic duty to aggressively seek out others who may have suspicions or knowledge of Leo Comissiong’s crimes and beg them to call law enforcement. With Newspring’s vast resources, we hope they will will spread this news and use church bulletins, pulpit announcements, and church websites to aggressively seek out others who Leo may have hurt.
This is how kids will be safer, other victims could be found and assisted in healing, 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)
Contact - Amy Smith (281-748-4050 cell, [email protected], David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected])