SNAP appalled that a sitting US President would pardon a child molester
In January of 1981 the out-going American President pardoned a popular folk singer who had been convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in 1969. President Carter, a born-again Christian and longtime Sunday school teacher, pardoned Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, on his last full day in office.
That a sitting President of the United States would pardon a man who preyed on a young girl tells us our government has a long way to go in understanding and dealing with child sexual abuse. President Carter has a daughter, Amy, who in 1981 was 14 years old. How could the President not see the parallel? Children have no shot at justice when the powerful and connected cover up child sexual abuse.
In 1981, when President Carter pardoned Yarrow for a crime the singer committed in Washington, DC, he had only admitted to abusing one victim. It now appears that Yarrow abused others as well. We applaud the brave survivor who sued the singer under New York's Child Victims Act. These "windows to justice" are great equalizers in a world where the rich, famous, powerful, or politically connected can get away with the heinous crime of taking a child's innocence and murdering their soul.
There are many thousands of child molesters in this country. Over seven thousand of them are Catholic priests. In 22 states archaic statues of limitations laws are being overhauled so that men and women like Peter Yarrow cannot hide behind their celebrity. In another 20 states investigations are ongoing into clergy sexual abuse in organized religion. Dozens of arrests have already been made.
But even when these powerful people are arrested and arrested and convicted, if they are granted pardons, who wins? The perpetrators win, of course, and they are the last people who should win.
Yarrow says "he has paid his debt to society." What about his debt to his victims? What about society's debt to his victims, and society's debts to all victims of child abuse, where the abuser was helped and enabled by law enforcement, politicians, or a molesting priest's supervising bishops?
We believe that President Carter owes Yarrow's survivors, and the nation, an apology. Our current President, Joe Biden,and his administration owe the nation an investigation into child sexual abuse in religious institutions. When organizations as powerful as the Catholic Church can get away with soul murder, it is no wonder that an entertainer like Yarrow can finagle a pardon from a President.
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP Treasurer (415-341-6417, [email protected]), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 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)