Rantings on Better Ways for Churches to Respond to Sexual Abuse

 

"It still remains true that no justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous." CS Lewis

 

 

wikipedia

After learning about a horrible pedophile situation in a former church, TWW has been committed to shining a light on this problem. It is time for the evangelical church in America to admit that it has shown a less than compassionate and intelligent response to this pervasive issue. One would think that the experience of the Roman Catholic Church would serve as warning to the Protestant church. But, it seems, we are just too clueless to learn from another's mistakes.
 

It is becoming glaringly evident that many denominations, along with para-church ministries, are experiencing pedophile situations on par, percentage wise, with the Roman Catholic Church. And we should hang our heads in shame. Our response to those who have been abused has been pitiful and we deserve the scorn of those outside the faith who point their fingers and call us hypocrites. We are, no excuses.
 

The following is a number of suggestions taken from both my experience in working with abused children as well as watching a pedophile debacle unravel at a church. I am frustrated by the recalcitrance of church leaders to intelligently address this issue and call the church into account. When will there be a Protect the Kids Coalition?
 

 

1. Admit that the church is filled with sinners, not saints.
 

Christians should be the first to admit that we are capable of great sin. Some of us appear to be under a delusion that Christian no longer sin…well….at least not the big sins. Just the nice sins like overeating, getting fat and dying years before our time. God doesn't really mind that, does He? The church has presented a "holier than thou" attitude to the culture at large. We condemn certain sins like homosexuality and ignore the reality that some of our members and pastors secretly struggle with this issue in their own life.
 

We have set up a system that demands that people hide their nasty sins. I had a woman approach me when I encouraged members of a class to find someone to help them walk through their issues. She said it would be too embarrassing to do so since she believed that most people in the church would be condemning. I told her that, in my walk as a Christian, I have known committed Christians who struggle with: homosexuality, affairs, pornography, physically and sexually abusive behavior, stealing, greed, anger, mental illness, drug addiction, gluttony, alcoholism and on and on. Oh, these weren’t the dregs off the streets-these were BSF leaders, pastors, Christian leaders, elders and deacons. If you do not believe this is possible, then you are purposely avoiding reality.
 

Folks, there are pedophiles in your churches and they may be your pastors or youth workers. Instead of spending time pontificating about societal problems, we should be openly and confidently proclaiming that the church is filled with sinners and we need Jesus just as much as those outside of the church..
 

 

2. We need to accept that there are unidentified pedophiles in our churches and set up checks and balances to protect our children.
 

This means we go the extra mile to make sure our kids are never alone with one worker. We question our children about their activities and make sure that said activity is what is really going on. If the youth leaders lie about the activities, they must be fired, on the spot. One pedophile I know about told the parents he was taking the kids to a G movie and then would bring them to explicit R movies. The pastors found out and, after a brief suspension, (the parents were not informed as to the reason for his absence) allowed him to continue to work with the teens. He molested teens for another 6 months.
 

Parents should not trust the pastors or others to properly vet and supervise the workers. They must take matters into their own hands. For example, they should surreptitiously show up at events, movies, etc., to be sure that the activity reported is the activity in reality.
 

 

3. Pastors are not capable of adequately judging whether a report made by a parent or child is valid.
 

They must call in the authorities when a family member, child, or anyone else in the congregation mentions a strange occurrence. Most police departments have specialist who know how to carefully investigate a complaint. They will handle the report discretely and will proceed only when they believe there is enough evidence.
 

I know of one incident in which a teen reported that a camp counselor exposed himself to him. The pastors, believing that they knew better, blew the kid off and the pedophile continued to molest kids for another year until police outside of the church setting discovered him.
 

Paige Patterson infamously demanded that a group of girls, who were being molested by Darrell Gilyard, provide two or three witnesses to the incident.The  guy continued to molest the girls.  This is the epitome of idiocy and they let this man run a seminary! Good night!
 

 

4. Pastors and elders often show favoritism to one of their own.
 

Paige Patterson infamously protected Darrell Gilyard for years, not believing he was capable of molesting teen girls. After all, he was a pastor, wasn’t he? And pastors don't do this stuff do they? He is now in jail. I know of pastors who gave preference to a seminary student over a teen when it came to a report of suspicious behavior. The family was told that the seminary student had more believability!!!  Said seminarian brutally molested many boys.
 

This goes against Jesus admonition not show favoritism to people based on a particular position. But, that’s one of the nice sins, isn’t it. And pastors are almost always better than a teenager, aren't they?
 

 

5. Congregation members wrongly assume that their pastors are above reproach.
 

Church members-it is time to get a clue. Pastors and seminarians are capable of great sin and evil, just like the rest of us schlocks. I become very frustrated when church members act shocked when a pastor is caught in sin. Why? Do they actually buy the nonsense, pushed hyper-authoritarian types , that pastors are anointed and able to avoid terrible sin? This is not in the Bible, folks.

 

 

6.When a report is made to the pastors or leadership, the civic authorities must be notified immediately.

 

Do not waste time on meetings. The lives and well-being of our children hang in the balance.
 

 

7. Kids take priority over the pedophile.
 

Here is a comment that one of our readers, Arce, made today.

 

“Jesus put the entire culture on notice that children are the essence of the kingdom == unless we become like them, we cannot enter. So, when one is abused, harmed, hungry, needy, not being loved — then the church needs to move into forceful action to remedy that situation. Those responsible for abuse and neglect need to be told that they have failed to carry out Jesus’ mandate, and are not welcome in the body until they publicly confess and repent, comply with the civil authorities (best by turning themselves in and confessing there as well), and forever avoid situations where they are at risk of either repeating or being thought to have repeated the offense.”

 

8. Pedophiles should never, ever be “restored” to the ministry and must never be alone around children again.
 

Pedophiles almost always reoffend. Period. I know one church which allowed a convicted pedophile to wander ad lib around the church because they were told that he was cured! This after 30 years of molestations and one measly 8-month jail term.
 

 

9 Never blame the victim. Any pastor or elder who does should not be in their position.
 

Often churches will blame the victims. I have heard of elders chastising kids because they did not tell their parents about the abuse. “Didn’t you know it was wrong?” This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation. Children are manipulated and threatened not to tell their parents.
 

Such irresponsible church leaders are guilty of revictimizing the abused children. Not only should they should be ashamed of themselves, repent, and apologize, they should be removed from leadership, immediately.

 

 

10. The church’s first response is to care for the children, not the pedophile.

In one pedophile situation, some members of the church rallied around the pedophile, even suggesting that the victims not testify against him. These folks thought they could counsel him into full health “in the Lord.” They went to the court trials to give him support and continued to visit him in jail. Some even testified to his character! These same folks rarely, if ever mentioned the boys who were badly molested.
 

Such people need to be removed from the situation. They show either a basic ignorance of the seriousness of pedophilia or are emotionally unhealthy themselves.
 

 

11. The church should consider going to the media.
 

Bet this one surprised a few readers. First, if this situation becomes public knowledge, as it should and almost always does, the media will cover the story, usually on Page 1 with really big headlines.  The church should be the first to speak to the reporters, giving them a Christian perspective of the tragedy. If the church does not do so, the press will define the situation, often to the detriment of the church. The church needs to enter the age of the Internet. Sexual abuse can no longer be hidden from the world and the church must learn how to operate in the Information Age. Give it up. You can't hide  it anymore. All you will do is look guilty.
 

Secondly, the media can be effective in getting the story out. There may be other victims outside of the church who are harmed and in need of help. Recently, Senator Scott Brown announced to the press that that he had been a victim of sexual abuse. This confession took an interesting turn as other people, who had suffered in silence, came forward and said that they had been abused at the same Christian camp. Media accounts of one brave person can often give other people the courage to tell their own tales of abuse.They no longer need to suffer in silence. Good going, Senator Brown!
 

The church should rejoice when other victims are found. This gives the church an opportunity to demonstrate love and sacrifice in ministering to those who have been harmed.
 

 

12.  Always provide counseling, at the church’s expense, for the victims and their families.
 

One church refused to assist with counseling, stating they could handle it within the church. One pastor, after a 45-minute conversation with one molested boy, deemed him totally healthy, no further followup necessary.
 

No pastor has the sufficient counseling background to adequately deal with the complex issues surrounding molestation. To do so anyway, shows a profound ignorance of the needs of the victim, a certain amount of egotistical hubris on the part of the pastor and raises the suspicion that the church might be attempting to “control” and silence the situation.
 

The church should immediately take the lead to provide the victims with financial resources to find the best help available.
 

 

13 The first response of the church should NOT be to protect the church from lawsuits. Stop acting like pagans by hiding behind lawyers.

 

If the pastors and elders truly believe the Bible, they should be aware that God, and God alone, will protect the church. God does not need their help. He gives and takes away. The church should keep the focus on caring and loving the victims , even if lawsuits become a reality.
 

And, if truth were told, some of these pastors and churches are so negligent that they should be made accountable, by the courts, for their actions.
 

 

14. Always tell the congregation that there is a sexual molester on the staff or attending the church.

 

Some pastors, out of a misplaced sense of priority or a temporary loss of common sense, have knowingly, and secretively, hired convicted sexual offenders, believing that pedophiles are now safe since the abuse happened in the past. Others allow pedophiles attend church with little to no supervision.
 

Here is a strong piece of advice to all pastors. Your congregation will find out, and when they do, there will be hell to pay for hiding this issue. You will lose members when it is revealed. Why? Because it is obvious that you care more about the offender than you do about the children in your congregation. Just ask Steve Gaines.
 

 

15. Finally, if you don’t feel pain and compassion for children and teens that have been molested in your church, you need to reevaluate your Christian walk.
 

I had a conversation with a lady from a church about the kids who had been raped and sodomized by a molester. She told me that she didn’t feel “led” to be involved in the situation. God had “other things” for her to do. Needless to say, said person is no longer a close acquaintance.
 

Here is a telling comment, posted on our blog by Lydia. It is a good note to end on.

 

"Whatever makes us think that this is “of Christ”? I think what amazed me the most is how many decent people on staff or consultants (including myself) could go along because we were thinking of the “greater good” the organization was doing. But was it?

 

I know now I was not really saved. I had little godly sorrow or brokeness for the hurting people because I was too busy trusting the leaders. I did not know them personally, they were numbers or problems to deal with. We were busy and had “important” things to accomplish.

 

After all, God must have been on our side to build up such great organizations. I had it all backwards. God most often uses the foolish (from the world’s perspective) , the poor, and downtrodden for His Purposes. He not only tells us that in the NT but models it throughout with who He uses. The “rabinically educated Jew” is sent to the Gentiles!

 

The bottom rung…basically those who did not make the second cut of rabbinical studies are chosen to be Apostles to the Jews! How could they have credibility with Pharisees, etc?

 

God’s economy is often the opposite of what we think. It was a huge lesson for me to learn. Many still need to understand this so they will quit following man and instead follow Christ. Guys like CJ want people to believe they are the same thing."


Lydia's Corner: Joshua 11:1-12:24 Luke 17:11-37 Psalm 84:1-12 Proverbs 13:5-6

 

Comments

Rantings on Better Ways for Churches to Respond to Sexual Abuse — 24 Comments

  1. This is great!. I would add one more thing. Churches are often rightly concerned about the family of the abuser. That should be second to being concerned about the abused and their family. The proper way to help the family of the abuser is:
    1. Set the condition that everyone, abuser included, acknowledge publicly the fact of the abuse.
    2. Provide financial support to the family if the abuser was a church staff member. Normally target 12-24 months of declining support starting with salary replacement and linearly reduced each quarter.
    3. Maintain health insurance program.
    4. Provide counseling with an outside counselor. There are resources available for family members of abusers, including a national organization.
    5. Encourage them to find a new congregation to avoid the looks, gossip, etc. If the abuser is not incarcerated, he can be in church with them in their new church home. He should never be back in the church where the abuse occurred.
    “Restoration to the body” does not mean the specific church where the abuse occurred, nor to the position held. It means to the church universal. BTW, the new church must be informed of the circumstances and given an opportunity to put limits on the activities of the abuser — attending only worship services or only being in specific parts of the building, etc.

  2. “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
    Jude 22-23

  3. Thank you, Dee. My original reaction to Wallace’s story was a strong sense that every church needs to put a written policy in place so that when these things happen, they’re not in such shock that they make major mistakes. Your list is a great start for that. Each church needs to add their own specifics, such as the phone numbers of hospitals, police depts, church hierarchy personnel,etc., so that in this time of horrific shock, disbelief, and sickening disgust, they can pull out a checklist, document everything, and they won’t miss something.

    Thinking back on situations that came to light in several churches, in addition to the incidents described by stopbaptistpredators.org, etc, it looks to me like many of the wrong actions taken by prominent church leaders stem from
    (1.) ignorance of the subject of pedophilia and
    (2.) the pure shock that this thing has actually happened to them.

    NOBODY wants to face the fact that these things happened on their watch. The sad fact of the matter is that pedophilia not only victimizes the child, but the parents, the church, the pastors, etc. So the church needs to not only protect the children, but protect themselves from their own ignorant or inadequate reactions to these crimes.

    Looking back in my own life at reactions to traumatic information, I recognize a strong gut reaction of disbelief immediately following bad news – some kind of subconscious self-protection phenomenon that tried to alleviate the pain. On hearing that a relative had been killed in an accident, my brain shouted, “NO, NO — that’s not true — you mean he was HURT, you can’t possibly mean he was KILLED.”

    So, I believe that in many of these situations, particularly where there has been no personal precedent for those who have to handle it, they’re hearing the “NO NO NO THIS COULDN’T POSSIBLY HAVE HAPPENED” in their self-protecting minds, causing them to minimize the real issue. And the devices of minimizing, normalizing, denying all kick in. So, we need to be prepared. I know there are pastors out there who’ve had to handle these nightmares. Perhaps some of them can comment on how they reacted, and what they’d do differently now that more light has been shed on the subject.

    Several churches I’ve attended in several different denominations have policies that make sure nursery workers, SS teachers, etc., have background checks, and that class teachers or nursery workers must be made up of people from more than one particular family. So, Mr. and Mrs. Smith can’t be the sole nursery workers — but Mr. and Mrs. Smith can work together if Mrs. Jones is working with them.

    But pedophiles are smart. I imagine that many, if not most, pedophile crimes happen off church property, off school property. In my own experience, the perp cultivated such trusting relationships with the families involved that he took his victims to neutral territory under the guise of just hanging out, mentoring, being friends, etc. So the policies for handling/preventing pedophile problems shouldn’t be limited to just what happens on church property or during church-sanctioned events — but should include how the church will react when such things are committed by staff, by members / attendees, and how the church will support victims of any of these types of people PLUS how they will support victims of non-church-related criminals.

    After reading a little on the phoenixpreacher blog, I followed a link to http://www.kellyclarkattorney.com. Interesting information and comments on his site.

  4. Dee,

    So here’s the magical question .. if God DOES heal illnesses as claimed by virtually every denomination, why is it that pedophiles are beyond that healing power or why is it that God chooses, it seems, to not heal them (along with amputees). I’m sure some clever Christian has a convoluted, way of explaining this other than be simply acknowledging that it seems there is no one up there.

    Just how much evil does there need to be IN the church before people wake up and smell the roses, so to speak and stop deluding themselves by providing “God” with more and more “excuses” for what clearly is lack of action or involvement.

    When exactly will people STOP resorting to prayer, second only to closing ones eyes, wishing for something and blowing candles out on a birthday cake in it’s ineffectiveness and actually DO something about the problem.

    Arce,

    Speaking as an attorney, if I were to start a website where victims could list places of worship where they were abused, or where they know abusers go to worship, how much liability do I have for the accuracy of what is posted, what protection do I have against defamation lawsuits or other risks?

    I’d like to have a website which would maintain a list something like the following….which is searchable and available for updates by victims and church leaders…

    Church City State Date of Offense Abuser Leadership aware of Case
    Karl’s House of Worship, Abuserville, CA. 1/1/2010 (abuse date), Jon Q. Abuser, Pastor Peter Saintly

    Arce, if you are interested in doing something like this, and willing to help (pro bono of course, I can’t afford to pay, but I will gladly do the work)…drop me a line (Dee has my email).

  5. Karl

    What makes you think that God is intending on healing, in the physical plain, on a regular basis.Could it be that some have this healing thing utterly wrong. Jesus did not heal all He encountered when He walked this earth. In fact, the healings were secondary. Take for example the healing of the lame man. Jesus first told the man that his sins were forgiven. The Pharisees had a cow. Jesus then told the man to take up his mat and walk.

    The concern is for spiritual healing, not physical healing. Jesus often healed to prove that He had the right to forgive sins. It was a sign.

    Assuming that we are on this earth to find and know God, I would venture to guess that the true healing occurs when we find HIm and have our sins forgiven. Sin is the root of all the problems on this earth and is the cause of pain, sickness and suffering.

    There are many Christians out there who misunderstand the purpose of miracles They are miracles precisely because they are not common occurrences. God has not yet healed this earth and, until He does, we bear the consequences of sin. At the same time, He also reveals to us the miracles in nature. Who would have thought that bread mold could be the beginning to curing bacterial infections?

    As for doing something about the pain and suffering, many Christians do. Francis Collins mapped the human genome which will lead to genetic solutions to some illnesses. My husband has used his medical skills in impoverished countries.

    One can acknowledge the God who is there and not sacrifice caring for the world he has created. In fact, for some of us, me included, my faith gives me an intense concern in this gift of life He as granted. I see and appreciate His beauty in the woods in back of my house, tHis infinite creativity in the myriad of birds that visit my feeders and wonder at the giant slug I found on my front porch last night. I plan to post the picture.

    No, praying and doing are not exclusive. And one can begat the other.

    Just in case you think I am saying that you cannot appreciate nature, I am not. I am telling you only what I, a Christian, think and believe. For me, there is joy in knowing the Creator God. To paraphrase Lewis, there are those who see and enjoy the sunbeam. There are others who, upon seeing the sunbeam, race up its arm to see and glory at the Source.

  6. Karl

    On another note, go over to Stop Baptists Predators (under links). Christa Brown has done some work in this area and you might ask her about your idea.

  7. I belong to a church (PCA) which has a written child protection policy that’s taken very seriously. Anyone who comes into contact with youth – whether it’s nursery volunteers, Sunday school teachers, youth group volunteers, etc., must take a class that includes codes of conduct (e.g., male youth director doesn’t ride alone in a car with a teenage girl, two volunteers must be present if a preschooler needs bathroom help, etc.); signs of abuse and to report it immediately to an elder. All elders, deacons, and paid staff members who work with minors have a background check run on them. All volunteers must sign a statement that they’ve never been investigated for or convicted of a sex offense; if a volunteer declines to sign, he or she may not work with youth, period. When any allegation of abuse is reported to an elder, the police are called within 24 hours. All volunteers must have a refresher class once a year. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t recall all of it right now.

  8. Thank you so much for this list. I am part of a church plant (the very beginning stages) and I’m going to print this for our new pastor and keep it for reference. It is my fervent prayer that we will never have to use it, but it is a great resource. Thinking through all these things has just made me long more for the day when sin will be eradicated and we are with Him.

  9. Dee,

    Don’t you think it even the slightest bit strange that God is credited with healing cancer, the common cold, a variety of internal types of pain and illnesses and yet, He never, ever regrows an amputees limbs, or miraculously fixes compound fractures (although He does get some credit for internal fractures we can’t actually see), isn’t it odd that every God, in every religion has adherents who swear that their God is responsible for a variety of healing and miracles.

    Why do pedophiles seem to be unable to change their behavior and yet God gets credit all the time for helping alcoholics and drug addicts get over their addictions? If God is able to cure a common cold just as easily as he can cure the plague why is it that God almost never seems to cure people who are symptomatic with rabies, yet apparently is somewhat more more merciful to those who contract ebola?

    It never ceases to amaze me, the excuses we make for God, in the name of apologetics.

  10. Leila

    That is an excellent policy. All churches should adopt these policies with reservation.

    The real problem develops when a pedophile does not have a record. Did you know that by the time the average pedophile is apprehended,he has molested an average, you may not believe this, 140 times!?

    How do we protect the church from something yet undiscovered? The two volunteer policy is great. That is why we also need to have unexpected spot checks on activities, maybe always have a parent at youth activities, etc. I know many youth workers resent this intrusive, suspicious approach yet , if we protect one child due to diligence, we have done well.

    I think it boils down to an understanding of the sin nature of all men. We spend much time telling the world what good people we are. Instead, we need to be cognizant that, within our midst, we are capable of great evil.

  11. Leila,

    While I would normally applaud their effort, I must ask, what difference it makes if the person was “investigated” for a sex offense, if he was not convicted, or is just the appearance of impropriety enough these days?

  12. Karl

    We are left in a world of our own making. Jesus did not raise us up out of this world to start again in a new world. Although, one day, He will.

    He did not heal Paul. He allowed Job to struggle. He does not heal as much as people would wish. Sometimes people are wrong when they claim a miraculous intervention.The charlatans like Benny HInn pretend there are healings by focusing on back problems, etc which are hard to prove.

    Jesus told the lepers to go to the priests for verification that they were healed. Even He seemed to understand that people sometimes falsely claim healings.

    Every cancer patient, healed or not, goes on to die.

    Alcoholics and drug addicts (I worked at an alcoholic facility for a short time) believe that God gives them strength to help them fight their addiction. He doesn’t miraculously cure them and prevent them from drinking again. It is a process. However, it is the rare dry alcoholic who states they never have the compulsion to drink. Most of them fall off the wagon on occasion and must continue the good fight.

    The problem with pedophilia is that, falling off the wagon means irreparably harming a child and we must do our best to limit contact with children because of this reason.

    Karl, there is pain in the world. God did not promise us freedom from pain, only a Presence to cheer us and to strengthen us and the future hope of heaven.

  13. Maika

    It is so good your church is considering a comprehensive policy. I, too, pray you won;t have to use it. i think the most important part of planning is this. A church must be willing to admit that even the most upstanding member has the propensity to sin and none of us are immune from this problem. There is great freedom in admitting this. It gives us a clear vision for the realities of our church life.

  14. Dee,

    Would any of what you said (especially about going public etc) change if the perp is a child themselves, in the 10 to 14 age range?

  15. JC

    That is another issue altogether. These children are declared minors. So, a report is made to Child Protective Services. They investigate the home situation which is highly likely contributing to this situation. These are children who have been harmed in some way and most likely the victims of sexual abuse themselves.The media has a code of ethics that they do not release the names of minor children. However, a newspaper might report such an incident without naming the children involved. The church will need to respond is some way, saying that the church is attempting to support all children involved. This is not the typical pedophile situation in which one has an adult (above age 16 usually) molesting a child under the age of consent.

    But the authorities must get involved. These children need help immediately.

  16. You said, “It is becoming glaringly evident that many denominations, along with para-church ministries, are experiencing pedophile situations on par, percentage wise, with the Roman Catholic Church.”

    Here is the thing, it is on par with the Catholic church, but us religious folks FAR outstrip “the world” when it comes to sexual crimes. That’s right folks, look it up. Religious folks make up a far greater percentage of the sexual predator population than we do of the population at whole. Pretty sick, huh. Can anyone say, “repression?”

  17. Dee,

    I agree authorities need to get involved right away in these situations, no matter what. For the good of everyone. I was asking because it seems like the stories in Fairfax involve offenders who are minors (though I just read through once and it wasn’t clear to me, but seemed implied)…I was just wondering if that would affect your strategy at all…it seems as though it would definitely affect the way pastors should deal with the situation.

  18. “Don’t you think it even the slightest bit strange that God is credited with healing cancer, the common cold, a variety of internal types of pain and illnesses and yet, He never, ever regrows an amputees limbs, or miraculously fixes compound fractures (although He does get some credit for internal fractures we can’t actually see), isn’t it odd that every God, in every religion has adherents who swear that their God is responsible for a variety of healing and miracles.”

    Karl, You been watching Benny Hinn…again? ;o)

  19. Younger (pre-teen) perps are more often “cured” than older. Many times with younger perps, it is really sexual experimentation or exploration, rather than a willful abuse.

    Interestingly, there is data that relatively few sexual abusers re-offend after they have been caught and prosecuted. And most offenders are not strangers to the family of the victim(s), but are family members or family friends. However, there are predators.

    The majority of (former) abusers report struggling against their urges, so measures to reduce the opportunity to re-offend are helpful to them in their struggles.

    Dee/Deb, please provide Karl with my email contact information.

  20. Wonderful suggestions! I have taught Sunday school to children off and on since I was about 20 and at every church I’ve belonged to, I’ve been pleased to see policies that ensured children were not left alone in class with only one adult and no one on one meetings took place with a child unless it was a counseling/discussion session and the adult meeting the child was within sight (even if not hearing) of another adult. For example, I taught a class of elementary schoolers with various learning disabilities and behavioral problems for a couple of years. Sometimes I would need to take a child out of class to calm down or to talk about behavior. We had the classrooms configured so that I could do this and while no one would hear the child and I speaking, my teacher’s aide and the teacher in the adjoining room would both be able to see what I was doing at all times, and I could do likewise for them.

    On another note, I find it especially sad when churches fall into denial/”blame the victim” mode over abuse allegations because these reactions can not only damage victims emotionally but also can permanently damage their faith. However, I have to say that this type of reaction is not uncommon in abuse cases in general. For my work, I’ve had to be involved with abuse cases and I’ve seen families of abusers, schools, summer camps, etc… all fall into this pattern. In one instance that I know of, an incident was captured on security tape in a home for the mentally disabled and co-workers of the abuser still maintained that a nonverbal, wheelchair-dependent woman with the mental development of an infant somehow seduced the man. I don’t mention this to let churches off the hook (they should be setting the example after all, not just following the world), but merely to point out that churches are sadly not unique in their treatment of abuse victims.

  21. Pingback: A Former Trinity Baptist Insider and the 20/20 IFB Story | Why Not Train A Child? UNITED STATES

  22. Why does it seem that clergy abuse is only associated with children? Is it because someone of adult age is in a better position to resist sexual advances or because they aren’t a child they should have known better to let something happen? Clergy taking advantage of adults in my opinion is probably more prevalent than what is happening to kids. Is Adultery and fornication with married and single pastors so widespread that we have pretty much accepted it as the norm? Where are the sermons on God’s holiness and righteousness, sin and repentance.? Where is the fear of God in sermons, let alone in the lives of parishioners and pastors? Isn’t the fear of God the beginning of wisdom? Perhaps what is happening in our churches is symptomatic of a much deeper spiritual malady.

  23. Jim Loglin,

    Thanks for making an extremely important point. Abuse of any kind is offensive to God and should be addressed from the pulpit.

    I’ll do some investigating on your concerns.