Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 29
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )
A civil lawsuit has been filed against a Little Rock minister accusing him of sexually exploiting an adult congregant. We applaud this brave woman and are confident that her speaking out will prod others who were hurt by this minister to step forward and get help.
Apostle Lawrence E. Braggs, pastor of the Awareness Center International Ministries, allegedly manipulated, abused and exploited a church member, Jennifer Richardson, from roughly 2007 until 2012.
This was NOT an “affair” or a “relationship.” This is exploitation.”
It’s not “consent.” It’s manipulation under the guise of spiritual help. It’s awful.
It is inherently problematic and unhealthy when clergy have any sexual contact with congregants. There can be no true “consent” given the power difference between the individuals.
Our society has long understood that it’s virtually always hurtful when a doctor has any sex with a patient or a psychologist has any sex with a client. Gradually, more people are finally understanding this.
An allegedly holy religious authority figure who holds the exalted title of “reverend” cannot ever have truly consensual or healthy sexual contact with a congregant. It is always morally wrong and emotionally harmful. Often, it’s also illegal.
That harm is compounded when the minister or his backers mischaracterizes the exploitation.
Clergy always hold an exalted position, and when they have any sexual involvement with church-goers, it is always hurtful.
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