Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Detroit Annual Conference of
United Methodist Church


March 14, 2005

District Headquarters
Detroit Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
1309 N. Ballenger Hwy, Suite 1
Flint, MI 48504-7519

Dear Members of the Detroit Annual Conference:

Our organization, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), is a self-help group of over 5,000 members dedicated to supporting clergy abuse victims. Although the word "priests" appears in the title, SNAP supports any survivor of sexual abuse by any religious authority figure, no matter the denomination or role of the abuser. Survivors from various denominations belong to our group, and in general they experience the same dynamics as survivors from the Catholic Church. All citizens have a legitimate stake in ensuring that our religious institutions fulfill their duties to their followers, among which are to uphold the truth and to protect their members.

For several months our organization has been following a story involving the UMC Detroit Conference. We have noted UMC's extensive policy regarding handling of sexual abuse allegations within your Church. On paper, the policy looks good, but no policy is effective if both the letter and the spirit of the policy are not enforced.

Joy Veronica Reyes Singer has brought allegations of sexual abuse against the Rev. Charles Boayue, a Detroit minister in the United Methodist Church. In analyzing the official church response to her allegations, our organization believes that the victim did not receive the advocacy and support outlined in the policy. Those steps are vital in the recovery/healing process for a survivor and his/her family. They are also crucial if others who have been wounded are to feel encouraged in reporting dangerous abusers to church and civil authorities.

The accused has sought a court "protective order" to prevent Joy from discussing her case. Gag orders or attempts to muzzle the victim, others, and the media interfere with the pursuit of justice and truth. To speak out about one's own sexual abuse, especially by a member of the clergy, is daunting and terrifying for any person, no matter one's age or circumstances. Survivors who risk all to challenge predators should be applauded, not silenced.

The United Methodist Church prides itself on its commitment to social justice. This case of alleged clergy sexual abuse tests the depth and breadth of the institutional church's resolve to attain social justice. We in SNAP are closely observing the developments in this case. Our hope is that United Methodist officials of the Detroit Conference will live up to the promises of your policies.

We strongly urge you to speak out against the oppressive and unjust gag order Boayue is requesting. We also strongly urge you, for the sake of healing and justice and prevention, to remove Boayue from his ministerial position, until a thorough, independent investigation of Joy's charges is completed. That's the first step toward protecting other vulnerable people from this pastor.


Janet Patterson, National Board Member
1171 N. Conway Springs Rd.
Conway Springs, KS 67031
316 772 6537 cell

David Clohessy, SNAP National Director
7234 Arsenal
St. Louis MO 63143
314 566 9790

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests