A call for documents

Here’s how the map list works

The MAP List is a public website that aims to post previously circulated and/or publicly available documents that are relevant to the abuse crisis among Anabaptist Mennonites.

We post Information and documentation on those church worker offenders who have been convicted, sanctioned, sued, or publicly accused of abuse.  We have so far prioritized the posting of those who are living over those dead. We hold a confidential and secure master file of all those who have been reported to us since the late 80’s, but we cannot make those names public without credible documentation of their offenses (see list below).

The long history of institutional secrecy around these cases has caused their details and severity to be known only to the accused, the accuser, their families, and a very small group of church insiders who processed the case. Meanwhile there is often no police report filed and the offender is free to move on to another community to abuse again. The church insiders who were asked to ‘investigate’ the matter may be sworn to secrecy and confidentiality and the larger community is never the wiser. Sometimes even after there is a police report and a conviction, local church leaders hide the news from their congregants. See the writings of Tim and Kathy Wiens for first person accounts of how cover-ups and collusions to protect the known perpetrator’s identity continue in local communities.

The public safety and the safety of Anabaptist Mennonite communities will not be protected as long as predator-friendly policies and practices remain.

Here’s how you can help

If you or someone you know has ever reported or adjudicated the disclosure of sexual abuse by an Anabaptist Mennonite church worker or leader, living or dead, please get in touch with us.

If you are considering reporting the person who abused you, please get in touch with us. It matters not the perceived severity of the offense or how long ago it happened.

Our term ‘church worker’ or ‘church leader’ is defined broadly to include any lay, ordained, volunteer, or paid staff who has abused from within Anabaptist Mennonite families, congregations, conferences, agencies or institutions, including Mennonite schools and hospitals.  We also include independently licensed mental health professionals who offend if they have Anabaptist Mennonite heritage and have served Anabaptist Mennonite clients or communities.

The MAP List is not able to handle family based incest cases unless the offending family member served as a lay worker (paid or volunteer) or ordained minister in an Anabaptist Mennonite congregation, agency, or institution.

The documented information you provide this website will likely save lives, prevent more abuse and make it safer for others to come forward. Read our article “Why We Name Names” to understand the reasons we believe this strategy of archiving names of offending church workers, inspired by those of other denominations, may be one of the most effective, low-cost tools of prevention available.

Here is the list of documents we can use

Without necessary documentation we are not able to post names to The MAP List. We update and maintain the website with only a few volunteers, so the large task of finding and collecting documents will need to come from our readers.

Here are the kinds of items we need to create credible new posts:

  • court records
  • birthdates
  • county of the crime
  • names found on birth certificates
  • aliases used
  • newspaper articles and notices
  • letters and correspondence
  • church bulletin announcements
  • church year books
  • video and audio
  • photographs
  • committee meeting notes
  • conference dismissal or discipline documents
  • written first person survivor reports, or the report of a loved one if survivor is deceased
  • information on where the abuser is currently living and/or working

Whether it means taking and sending a snapshot or a link to an obscure news clipping from a church or secular media outlet, or going to your local library or courthouse to copy legal documents, or sending us the committee notes you have kept in a file from an internal church or conference process of which you were a part, you are making a difference in the lives of survivors and could literally save a life.

By offering more widely publicized information even decades later, we can deter new offenses and make it safer for others to come forward when they realize they were not the only one.

We have found that repeat offenders tend to continue offending until they are in the grave. Thus it is not safe to allow someone with a credible record of even one incident of abuse to return to a position of power and authority over others. Because of the immense power their position holds, they must remain above suspicion when it comes to sexual misconduct. They must lose their privilege of church leadership status for life because the risk of committing more abuse is too great and the consequences too grave and life shattering.

 

Donate your files

Join other volunteers who have a collection of clippings in a folder at home, some important meeting notes, or documents stored on the computer and send them to us. If they have anything to do with the Anabaptist Mennonite abuse crisis, they are valuable to us. You may be the only person who sat on an ‘internal investigating committee’ who has kept their files of the meeting notes and findings. Or the article you have may not be available on the Internet. However large or small your collection, consider donating it to us, or arranging with us for a copy to be made. Please email us at mennonite@snapnetwork.org to discuss the possibilities or put what you have in an unmarked package and send it to The MAP List, P.O. Box 1768, Harrisonburg, VA 22803.

If you are nervous about sending documents, be assured

If you fear retaliation or repercussions for sharing information with us or you fear being exposed as an informant or whistleblower, please be assured:

  • We don’t need to know who you are.
  • We don’t need to know from where the documents came.
  • We don’t need to know how you got them.

Wrap what you have in an unmarked package or envelope, make our address the return address and send it off.  We pledge to shred the packages and envelopes upon receipt.

Hard copy documents may be mailed to:

The MAP List
P.O. Box 1768
Harrisonburg, VA 22803

You may email computer or scanned (preferably pdf) files to mennonite@snapnetwork.org.

You may text or phone The MAP List Director Barbra Graber directly at 540-214-8874.

THANK YOU for doing your part to help heal the wounded and prevent more abuse in Anabaptist Mennonite homes, churches, and institutions.

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