World Humanitarian Day: Call to protect children and hold Lutheran clergy accountable

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Carol Midboe
Carol Midboe signed this petition

World Humanitarian Day: Call to Lutheran Clergy to End Child Rape and Hold Abusers Accountable

On World Humanitarian Day let us reflect on how we can do better.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report released August 14, 2018 is further evidence that cover-ups of child sexual assault are the rule, rather than the exception in both Catholic dioceses and other institutions.  I applaud Attorney General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania who fought hard to insure the heartbreaking truths brought forward by brave victims would be made public.  I also commend Attorney Edward Hohn of Texas (now deceased) who fought for 14 Lutheran victims of Pastor Gerald P. Thomas.

Customary International Humanitarian Law Rule 93. Rape and other forms of sexual violence are prohibited. 

“The prohibition of rape under international humanitarian law was already recognized in the Lieber Code. Furthermore, “rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity” constitutes a crime against humanity under the Statute of the International Criminal Court and “rape” constitutes a crime against humanity under the Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  The prohibition of “outrages upon personal dignity” is recognized in Additional Protocols I and II as a fundamental guarantee for civilians and persons hors de combat.[4] Article 75 of Additional Protocol I specifies that this prohibition covers in particular “humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault”, while Article 4 of Additional Protocol II specifically adds “rape” to this list.[5] The Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I require protection for women and children against rape, enforced prostitution or any other form of indecent assault.[6] Rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault are war crimes under the Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.[7] The expressions “outrages upon personal dignity” and “any form of indecent assault” refer to any form of sexual violence.” (International Committee of the Red Cross, https://ihl-databases.icrc.org Aug. 19, 2018)

Join this campaign to protect children and end silencing victims.

It is time to hold church officials accountable and insist all Lutheran institutions post the names of all church workers who have been found guilty, who have admitted, or who have been accused of the sexual abuse of children.

Believe victims when they come forward, and never tell them to “get over it.”

In the interest of public safety and for the healing of victims, Lutheran institutions should reach out to communities where known predators worked and plead for survivors to come forward and report to law enforcement regardless of how much time has passed since the sexual assault.  Law enforcement can play a crucial role in protecting the vulnerable and comforting the abused when they aggressively investigate crimes against children. 

Children who report sex abuse deserve to have a thorough investigation.

I appeal to people of good will everywhere to insist

  • Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • John A. Moldstad, President, Evangelical Lutheran Synod
  • Rev. Mark Schroeder, President, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod 
  • Matthew Harrison, President, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod 
  • Frank Simek, Chief Administrative Officer, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod 
  • Gaylin Schmeling, President, Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference 
  • Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa, President for the Lutheran World Federation
  • Ms Karin Striebel, Assistant to the General Secretary for governing bodies of the Council for The Lutheran World Federation 

 divulge the kind of secret records that Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops were forced to produce during the Pennsylvania grand jury investigation and post the names of church workers who have been found guilty, who have admitted, or who have been accused of the sexual abuse of children since 1950.

Sign this petition to help protect yesterday’s children, today’s children, and all future generation’s children.

Keep the vulnerable safe, hold Lutheran religious institutions accountable and stop protecting predators.

Thank you!