Victims group seeks help from area ministers

Wayne County Journal Banner [Piedmont MO]

March 15, 2024

A support group for abuse victims is writing to more than two dozen churches in Wayne County asking them for help in finding and consoling anyone who’s been hurt at Lighthouse Christian Academy, where three officials have recently been arrested.

 It also plans to hold two meetings in the Piedmont area in the weeks ahead.

“Now is not the time to be complacent.” SNAP’s letter reads. It wants to “find and help the ‘lost sheep’ – anyone who was hurt at Lighthouse, recently or in years past…so they won’t have to “suffer in shame, silence and self-blame.”

The group is urging ministers to preach about the Lighthouse scandal from the pulpit, give out and post leaflets about the situation to their members and ask anyone with knowledge or suspicions about the facility to contact law enforcement.

In the weeks ahead, SNAP plans to hold two meetings in Wayne County. “One will be a private, confidential support group for anyone who was violated as a child anywhere,” the letter notes. “The other will be an open, public discussion and Q and A session about the Lighthouse/ABM Ministries scandal.”

SNAP is seeking meeting space at a local church.

The letter is signed by SNAP leaders Annette Hodges of Sedalia and David Clohessey of St. Louis. He is the Volunteer Director of Missouri SNAP and the organization’s former National Director for 30 years.

“When child abuse is known or suspected, each of us have a simple choice. We can do nothing, which benefits the wrongdoers,” the letter to the pastors reads.  “Or we can take action, which benefits everyone. We emphatically urge you to take action, specifically action to help us reach out to any individuals who have seen, suspected or suffered wrongdoing at Lighthouse. We care because children are precious and abuse is deeply harmful.”