SNAP to NY Victims: “Now go to the police”
Children in New York are much safer now because hundreds of abusers were publicly exposed yesterday by brave victims of sexual violence, thanks to the window opened by the Child Victims Act. Now, we urge those survivors to take the next crucial step: reporting to law enforcement.
Often, the quickest way to protect children is to 'out' perpetrators. Thanks to these courageous victims, that happened many times yesterday. But the very best way to protect the vulnerable is to jail those who would prey on them. That can only happen when survivors call law enforcement and make a report. We urge every single person who filed a suit yesterday to call the police today, if they have not already done so.
It is our moral and civic duty to share with police and prosecutors what we know and suspect about possible child sex crimes and cover ups. It is the duty of law enforcement to determine what information might help charge and convict these wrongdoers and keep them from repeating those offenses.
That is what should happen today, especially in New York, but also across the US. We believe that if a person is strong enough to file a lawsuit, they are strong enough to file a police report. Both will go a long ways towards safeguarding the vulnerable. In NY, a report should not only be made to police, but also to the office of Attorney General Letitia James. AG James can be contacted by calling her sexual abuse hotline at 1-800-771-7755 or by visiting the sexual abuse investigation page.
We applaud every victim who reports crimes to anyone at any time, especially the many New York victims who have already talked with police and prosecutors. But we believe more could and should. The time to do so is now.
Our plea goes beyond the directly victimized. It includes current and former co-workers and supervisors of abusers, and their neighbors and their friends and their relatives. They too should call law enforcement if they saw or suspected abuse.
Most of the accused are older. However, there is no magic age at which molesters stop abusing.
Many of the accused are deceased. However, there may be accomplices who could still be charged with related crimes like witness tampering, victim intimidation, evidence destruction, and other wrongdoing. We will not know unless the crimes are reported to police, even if the principal wrongdoer is dead.
Many of the alleged crimes happened long ago, but it is up to the professionals in law enforcement to decide whether allegations can become formal charges. But they cannot even begin to investigate or pursue child molesters unless the victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers speak up.
So, for the sake of the vulnerable, we all need to step up our game. We need to summon even more strength. We need to call law enforcement and do our part to see that dangerous men and women in New York are behind bars where they really belong.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, 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)