Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Thursday, June 25, 2015
For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org,
Judge rules in Baptist child sex case
Group deplores secrecy by church officials
SNAP: Pastor “changed his tune” about abuse
Victims think he should be investigated & charged
Preacher “clearly filed false police report,” self-help organization says
A judge has ruled that parties in a civil clergy sex abuse and cover up case can’t discuss or disclose the evidence publicly and a support group that sought to intervene is criticizing church officials for “continuing their reckless secrecy” in the case.
“Kids are safer when those who commit or conceal child sex crimes can’t keep hiding their wrongdoing,” said David Clohessy, the director of a Chicago-based self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We’re especially worried because the convicted child molester and the accused complicit church officials are still in the area. Parents, police and the public should know as much about them as possible.”
Years after he reported suspected child sex crimes by a church volunteer to police, a Jackson minister went back to police again and tried to “water down” his formal report in an unusual move to apparently try to protect himself and his congregation from civil liability, SNAP says. A civil abuse and cover up case was filed against him and his church in May 2014.
The group has urged prosecutors to investigate the two very different accounts and possibly charge the minister for making a false police report.
( Read the police report here: [police report] )
In 2006, Pastor Mark McSwain of First Church in Bemis reported to police that Chad Lutrell was inappropriately touching young girls and kissing one on the mouth. He also said that Lutrell was stalking and harassing adult women.
Three years later, however, in 2009, McSwain backtracked from his original statement. McSwain approached police again, this time telling an officer that Lutrell kissed a child on the cheek, not on the mouth. McSwain also denied that Lutrell had inappropriately touched children, and claimed that Lutrell only sent one adult woman an inappropriate email and follower her home.
“It is very suspicious that the pastor changed his tune so much, especially after three years, and in such self-serving ways” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We hope prosecutors will consider filing charges against McSwain for making a false police report.”
“The pastor clearly is trying hard to protect his reputation and his church’s reputation from negative news coverage and civil lawsuits,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director. “There’s really no other possible explanation for his bizarre behavior.”
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