A Convicted Rapist at Highpoint Church: How to Understand Molestation and Deal with It Properly

“She told me that my rape was not my fault, that I should feel no shame, that – simple as it may sound – I hadn’t caused it. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. It was true. And it had not been obvious to me. And hearing it from someone else, a professional, someone who should know, helped me believe that soon I would believe it.”  
― Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir link

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Last Friday, I posted Did a Collierville Watch Group Attempt to Conceal Valid Reports of a Highpoint Church Sex Offender? Little did I know that this would involve both me and a reader in a massive controversy in Collierville, TN. Apparently, blog administrators do not like being held accountable for their words. Between a couple of Collierville blogs, Highpoint Church members, and associated rabble rousers, we have been accused of: 

  • Being on a witch hunt
  • Being conspiracy theorists
  • Being used by Satan
  • Trying to destroy Highpoint Church.

It is well know that this blog has, for over 7 years, reported and exposed churches which we believe use unsafe practices in allowing abusers and molesters to attend church. These might include:

  • Allowing them to perform music on stage (in this instance)
  • Allowing them to attend the church unaccompanied
  • Assuming that a married molester is a safe molester
  • Assuming that a stint in prison is a cure for rapists

It is my hope that this post will educate those who have not had much training in understanding the problems associated with those who rape and molest underage kids.

Updated info:

We have since learned that the wife of Timothy Heinz, the registered sex offender, is a member of the Collierville watch group and have seen a photo of that membership. We also have reason to believe, due to a number of sources, that Heinz's victim was 13/14 years old at the time of the rape. Heinz and his current wife (his third wife) have children in the home.

Rape and molestation are acts of violence. Sex is used to gain power and control over a victim.

This quote says it better.

“And let's stop calling them "sex offenders," as if their crimes had anything to do with sex. (Perhaps Jeffry Dahmer was a "food offender.")” ― Mike Lew

According to the Rape Victims Advocates:

Sexual assault is about power and control and is not motivated by sexual gratification.[1]
 ( Groth, A., Burgess, W., & Holmstrom, L. Rape: Power, anger, and sexuality. American Journal of Psychiatry, 134(11), 1239-43. Pubmed.gov.)

Rape and molestation are acts of violence which can affect the victim for the rest of their lives.

Rapists and molesters are not just sinners; they have a serious mental health problem with which they will struggle for the rest of their lives.

Some people in the Collierville area claim that molestation and rape are just sins like any other sin. Sadly, such statements exhibit dangerous naivety. If I swear at the man who cut me off on the road, i have sinned. However, with repentance and work, it is a sin which can be overcome and I am not mentally ill or disturbed. Unfortunately that is not the case with rapists and molesters.

I have heard many misinformed evangelicals say that the reason that priests molests children is because they cannot marry. I have some friends.The husband used to be a priest. He fell in love with a woman his own age. He left the priesthood and married her. This is a normal response. Think about it. Someone who wants to have an affair doesn't say "Gee, I think I will have an affair with a 13 year old child." This is an abnormal obsession.

Pedophilia, molestation of children under the age of consent, and rape all suffer from mental health issues such as:

 For sexual offenders, if considered together, avoidant personality disorder had the highest prevalence followed by obsessive compulsive, schizoid, paranoid and borderline personality disorders.

For those who molest children, their preference will be to have sex with children-an obsession with which they will likely struggle for the rest of their lives. They have a psychiatric disorder which will not be cured, merely endured.

Recidivism rates for rapists and child molesters.

For example, the recidivism rate in convicted rapists is high. Nn article published by the NIH is rather concerning. It appears that no one can predict with any accuracy the possibility of recidivism. That means you cannot tell if they will do it again. 

Almost 50 percent of the group had committed some offense by the fifth year out of prison. The recidivism rates for sexual, violent, and any criminal recidivism were 16 percent, 26 percent, and 53 percent, respectively. The ability to predict sexual and violent recidivism in this population of rapists was rather poor.

Recidivism rates for child molesters are worrisome. Here is one study published in Canada.

The initial follow-up of the child molesters found that 42% were reconvicted of a sexual or violent crime during the 15-30 year follow-up period. Ten percent of the total sample of child molesters were first convicted for a sexual/violent crime between 10 and 31 years after release. Not all child molesters recidivated at the same rate. The highest rate of recidivism (77%) was for those with previous sexual offenses, who selected extrafamilial boy victims, and who were never married. In contrast, the long-term recidivism rate for the low risk offenders was less than 20%.

Is there a cure for pedophiles and molesters? 

No!

The best treatments we have available for pedophiles help them develop the skills they need to live a healthy, offense-free life and, in some cases, to block their sex drives (if they feel it would help them). We have not yet found a way to convert pedophiles into non-pedophiles

Is there a definitive cure for rapists?

Not yet!  From the NIH Rape and rapists: theory and treatment

We also argue that despite the advances of the last decade this has been in terms of theory proliferation rather than integration, and that major explanatory gaps remain. In particular, there is a need for more middle-level theory that articulates mechanisms and can underpin treatment. Current treatment approaches have typically been developed for child molesters, and while there has been a significant increase in comprehensiveness and sophistication, the evidence for treatment efficacy with rapists remains tentative. 

Summary and caveat:

  • Both rapists and child molesters can repeat their behavior even after prison.
  • Rapists and molesters have two problems: a sin problem and a serious mental health problem. Prison does not solve the problem.
  • It is difficult, even for professionals, to predict who will reoffend. Therefore, it is vital to protect potential victims.
  • This post is not addressing an 18 year old kid who has sex with his 16 year old girlfriend. That is a different issue altogether.
  • Marriage does not cure a rapist or a pedophile.
  • Some pedophiles use marriage in order to produce children for them to molest in their home. Therefore, we should be concerned for the children of molesters and rapists.

Church and the convicted pedophile, rapist or molester.

TWW received the following questions from a reader and I will attempt to answer them.

  • What, in your opinion, is appropriate for convicted offenders (sex or otherwise) when it comes to being involved in a church?
  • Do you believe they should be allowed to attend, but not volunteer?
  • Do you think they should not be allowed to attend at all?
  • Do you think if they attend and the church leadership knows their conviction history they should inform the entire church of said history?
  • Someone earlier posed some suggestions that offenders are always attended to during services and in bathrooms etc. Is this “good enough”?
  • What is appropriate from a societal perspective when someone has, according to the law, served their time and paid their dues?
  • Do we believe that the legal system’s justice is not sufficient and thus must enforce a societal system of justice as well? Are they allowed back into society at all?
  • Should they be able to shop in stores or allowed at public events where there are likely people in the same “victim group” as their previous victim(s)?
  • If this is allowed, why is a church or worship center/volunteer arrangement not allowed? 

The molester and church

It is important to understand that molesters, rapists and paraphiliacs seek out venues in which people will be prone to trust them. Unfortunately churches are targeted because most Christians like to believe the story that a convicted molester has been "healed by Jesus" and all is well. Church people tend to be trusting when a man shows attention to *dear little Johnny.* Also, church attendees like to believe that anyone who comes to church could never molest a child especially if they are in a position of leadership. The molester in my former church was a seminary student and therefore was trusted.

A proper understanding of sin

One of my pastors helps us to understand sin this way.

We are positionally holy but we are functionally sinners.

In other words, we are forgiven and have Christ's righteousness imputed to us. But, and this is a big but, we still sin. I am not talking about the new Christian. Even long time Christians can sin. To believe that anyone gets a pass on sin because they are pastors, leaders, youth workers, women's Bible study leaders, whatever is naive and shows a dangerous misunderstanding of the Bible. People can use the church to further their on selfish gain and this includes molesters. Wake up! They are there among you and they are so good at what they do, you won't know it.

Should a known molester be allowed to attend church? 

If he is repentant.

What does repentance look like?

I am not talking about cheap "I'm sorries." I am talking about out in the open.  "I have a serious obsession with children and I could be dangerous even if I hope I won't be." Let me demonstrate what this looks like in a real life situation. Wade Burleson is our EChurch pastor and the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, OK.

A convicted pedophile came to him, said he wanted to get his life together and attend church. Wade spoke with him at length.

1. Wade asked him if he would allow his picture to be posted in a couple of places at the church so that others would know what he looked like and could keep him accountable. This man agreed. A person who is open about his problem and wants others to hold him accountable should be willing to be open about his crime in order to protect the children that he knows he could harm.
2. Wade asked if he would agree to be accompanied by an escort whenever he was at the church. The escorts would be people in the church who were trained and willing to work with him. If an escort was not available, he would not come to the church that week.
3. Of course, he would have no contact with children while at the church.
4. If a molester cared about the children, he would want them to be safe from him.

This is what repentance looks like. Openness and humility are part of the deal. As far as I know, this arrangement worked out fine. 

Anyone who attends the church should be made aware that an offender is attending the church.

It takes a village to keep a child safe. Many eyes provide lots of accountability. Once again, if the molester does not want people to know, he may not be fully repentant and may be planning to molest again.  If he cared about his victims. he would be open about his problem for the sake of the potential victims.

Can a molester/rapist volunteer at a church?

After a period of time to see if he is serious about his situation, he/she could volunteer in situations that do not involve kids. For example. he could make coffee for the Adult Sunday School classes but always with a volunteer in tow. He/she must never, ever be at the church unaccompanied if children will be present. He could join an all adult Bible study group as long as no children were present and the attendees were informed and cooperative.

What is appropriate from a societal perspective?

Even society recognizes that a perpetrator is highly likely to reoffend. That is why we have registries of sex offenders. I believe that every parent should be aware of the sex offenders in their neighborhood, churches, etc. So should churches. It is silly and dangerous to hide a potential problem. As I stated earlier, prison does not cure the psychiatric disorder. It merely punishes the crime. Jesus forgives the sin but the offenders must now live their lives openly, confessing their disorder, if they truly care about the safety of others. Ask why if they wouldn't want to do this…

Society can choose what they will allow. That doesn't mean the molester is safe, however.

As we all know, Casey Anthony was declared "not guilty" in the death of her daughter. Society claims she is now free to go about her life. i guess this means she could legally get a job as a nanny. So, if you needed a nanny, would you hire her since *society allows it?" The court system is only a legal answer. It does not provide an answer for psychologically disturbed individuals. The legal system does not force me, in my private life, to hire Casey Anthony to baby sit in my home. It does not require that the church to do so, either.

A response to the Highpoint Church statement on the convicted rapist in their worship band.

Here is the link to Highpoint Church's statement on November 23, 2016 in which they admit the leadership knew they had a convicted rapist leading worship. Well, they claim he wasn't but he was front and center in the church.

So, it is true that we have a convicted sex offender serving at Highpoint Church. 

Naive: "The reality is that Highpoint Church is made up of all kinds of sinners. Highpoint is a perfect place for imperfect people."

The leaders of the church show a serious lack of understanding about rape and molestation. These acts are not just *sin* and signs of *imperfection.* They also constitute a serious psychological disorder which has not been addressed by the church. Timothy may be forgiven of his sin but is probably not cured of his mental deviation. The pastors need to be trained in how to go about dealing with a mental disorder. Until they do, the church could be at risk from other such "imperfect people."

Naive: "Timothy (Tim) Heinz and his wife and children began attending Highpoint when the Collierville campus first began in the fall of 2013, with his disclosure of being on the Sex Offender Registry to the Highpoint leadership team. "

If you read the statement, at no point does the leadership state that they informed the attendees of the church. This shows that they do not understand that many eyes prevent a reoccurrence of molestation. These pastors appear to believe that they, and they alone, can protect an large church from a convicted rapist. They cannot. They do not mention that he was accompanied by a trained person while he was in the church and around other children which means he probably wasn't.

Also, it was unwise to bring his wife and children into the statement. This is his third wife and he has children which should be a matter of long term concern to the leadership. Marriage does not cure molesters. This is not mentioned at all which leads me to think that they believe all is well since he is married and has kids.

Doesn't look like it: "The safety of the children and students in our congregation is our highest priority."

If that was the case, the parents would have been informed.

Really? "While we believe that nobody is beyond God’s redemption, we also believe that people must live with the consequences of their decisions."

Then why did you not protect the kids at your church by alerting their parents? 

I have a question: "Tim has never worked with children or student ministries while at Highpoint."

I wonder if this band ever performed for the teens at the church in any capacity? If so, that was not protecting them from a man who raped a 13/14(acc. to reports) year old girl.

Question: He has been in accountability with a team of men the entire time he has been at Highpoint.

What does accountability mean? Since none of them can be with him 24 hours a day, were they with him every moment he was at the church? Molesters are charming and have been known to lie every now and then….

What is their motive? "In order to alleviate any potential adverse perception, and in view of the impact of this situation on Tim and his family, Tim will no longer be serving in any role on stage."

This is concerning to me. It sounds like the leadership has dug in their heels and said "We didn't do anything wrong. We are only doing this to protect.the church from adverse reactions and to protect the family." They should have done this right from the beginning to prevent the possibility of harm to young people in the church. The fact that they will not say this leads me to believe that they are merely embarrassed and they still do not get how to deal wit molesters.

Be very cautious here. You are dealing with a rapist who likes them young and who has been married three times and has kids. His wife needs to be in counseling as well so she can learn to protect her children as they enter adolescence.

What does this mean? "Heinz will continue to serve in a support role."

We hope that he will have an escort in whatever he does in a support role. This is a broad term with no reassurance of supervision and restrictions.

Then you better beef things up: "We will continue to be a place of refuge for those who have been victims of sexual abuse." 

Let me close with this. My guess is that the girl who was raped by Heinz would not be comfortable in your church as you spend all this time and effort on putting him up front and center. I would ask that you consider getting yourselves some training through Boz Tchividjian's group, GRACE.

 Two closing points:

Slander or an Inconvenient Truth

To chalk this post up to slander is to ignore the possibility that God is protecting the church from harm whether now of in the future. This blog is dedicated to telling the truth as we know it. We wrote a post called Slander or an Inconvenient TruthThe Bible is clear. Slander is a deliberate telling of a lie.

We are Christians and would never deliberately lie. That is why we post so many links. You may not agree with our conclusions but they are based on our understanding. For anyone to claim that we are from Satan demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of the Biblical narrative and demonstrates that they do not have a firm grasp on the Scripture.

Highpoint Church: I never knew about you until now.

This may be difficult to believe but I had never heard of your church until the whole sex abuse situation arose. I have no reason to hate your church. However, I do have a reason to encourage your church to do a better job in preventing molesters from further harming others. Never, ever forget the victims!

Comments

A Convicted Rapist at Highpoint Church: How to Understand Molestation and Deal with It Properly — 144 Comments

  1. Off topic but thought it may be of interest to blog readers (and may go overlooked as it was on the tail end of previous thread):

    It looks like Perry Noble has a new business going, where he’s a consultant to churches.
    This is his site where he is selling his services to churches:
    https://www.iwantmychurchtogrow.com/

  2. @ Daisy:

    You can’t go off topic first post unless you say ‘first’ 🙂

    People need to stop talking about slander and start talking about truth verses lies. Maybe that would clear a few things up!

  3. I am opposed to putting sex offenders in any respected position. I’m opposed to letting them attend Bible Studies.

    This was done by my ex-pastors/elders with their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornopgraher at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. It was very dangerous and he’s very manipulative. People let down their guard that “so-and-so” [name of sex offender] is ok. They’re not. That’s exactly how adults let down their guard and give sex offenders access to children.

    When people are sick with a major illness they aren’t permitted to come to work so it doesn’t spread to other people. I think the same thing about sex offenders. They should be ministered to apart from the regular congregation, like the Mennonites do with their C.O.S.A. (Circles of Support and Accountability) in which highly trained volunteers work closely with a sex offender’s probation/parole officer and others in charge of their case.

  4. The original post mentions that marriage does not cure pedophilia. True.

    And celibacy does not cause pedophilia (this stereotype is frequent).
    I’m a life long celibate, and I have absolutely no sexual or romantic interest in children. I am attracted to men around my own age, not children or teens.

    I’ve read articles that say a lot of pedophiles are married precisely to throw others off the truth: that they prefer children sexually, not adults.

    What kind of people are pedophiles?
    Most are male, though about 6 percent are female. Although the stereotype of the pedophile is the trench-coated loner who hangs around playgrounds, in reality most pedophiles function as ordinary members of the community, like former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, the man accused of sexually abusing children in his care.

    About 44 percent of convicted pedophiles either are or have been married, and a vast majority of pedophiles have sexual relationships with adults — only 7 percent say they are exclusively attracted to children.

    The majority of child molesters do not abuse children at random. For all the worries about “stranger danger,” 70 percent of reported abuses involve an offender who knows the child, including relatives.

    …Many take voluntary positions or jobs that allow them to be close to children, such as Scout leader, coach, or priest.

    Pedophiles usually select targets carefully, and “groom” them over a period of months with gifts, attention, and special trips. Only then, after gaining the child’s trust, do they initiate sexual contact.

    Source:
    http://theweek.com/articles/479986/pedophilia-guide-disorder

  5. “Molesters are charming and have been known to lie every now and then.”

    They also are excellent at grooming the adults around them. Often the only person to see the “monster” is the abused.

    Services can also be viewed off-site via live-stream and video.

    T h a n k s for publishing this information. This post is a good one to link to the “public service” section at msm sites.

  6. @ Velour:
    I like that Mennonite idea. Sounds like they’re doing something right.

    I have a vivid memory of running into the best friend of Dave Adam’s wife in Kohl’s right after the news about his sex offenses against his step daughter were made public on the SGM survivors blog. This woman and her husband were in a home group with the Adam’s, and other people in the care group did not know about Dave’s crime, and were understandably very shocked. Unfortunately the powers that be (not sure who made the call) asked the other people not to attend the care group for awhile. I wonder how many of them are still at CLC? Probably none!

  7. Velour wrote:

    I am opposed to putting sex offenders in any respected position. I’m opposed to letting them attend Bible Studies.
    This was done by my ex-pastors/elders with their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornopgraher at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. It was very dangerous and he’s very manipulative. People let down their guard that “so-and-so” [name of sex offender] is ok.

    I’ve formed a very similar hypothesis to yours. That is, there are two very distinct groups of people who are vulnerable to sexual predators:
     Their ultimate targets, i.e. children whom they will groom in order to abuse;
     Weak-minded and naive adults whom they will groom to use as allies

    I have vastly more sympathy (for want of a better word) for one of those groups than for the other. Nevertheless, one might in a sense consider adult church memberships to need protection from paedophiles because they are unusually easily deceived. They’re not vulnerable to paedophillic abuse (as they’re not children) and most of them are not vulnerable to sexual abuse generally (predators will target isolated individuals). But they are highly vulnerable to being manipulated into aiding and abetting abuse.

  8. Are there any studies showing whether or not certain types of theologies/teachings have any kind of correlation with abuse? For example, are YRR churches more or less likely to harbor abusers? I’m guessing that the more authoritarian churches are more unsafe, but it’s not always possible to see the signs of authoritarianism until it’s too late. But most churches are very open about the theology they teach (e.g., age of the earth debate, gifts of the Spirit, the authority of creeds, etc.). If there are some correlations, maybe it could help people to know what types of churches are more risky so that they can avoid high risk churches. Does this question make sense?

  9. I am so tired of hearing about the accountability (so called) with other men. The track record on that is not sound.

  10. Velour wrote:

    They should be ministered to apart from the regular congregation, like the Mennonites do with their C.O.S.A. (Circles of Support and Accountability) in which highly trained volunteers work closely with a sex offender’s probation/parole officer and others in charge of their case.

    THIS sounds like a way the Church can REALLY help a sex offender, as part of a team working with the probation/parole officer and other professional associates …… if these neo-Cal Churches took a page from the Mennonite way of SERIOUS Christian ministry, they could really do some good for these offenders instead of playing with people’s lives and lording it over everyone that the pastors have the ‘right’ to shield predators and not tell their congregations.

    The Mennonite Christians were capable of some serious discernment about what the problem entailed both for the perpetrator and for the Church;
    and then they set to work to plan out a reasonable way to offer ministry to the perpetrator while protecting their congregation.

    Wade Burleson did the same thing. He thought about what was best for EVERYONE involved, and he was pastor to all who needed Christ. Wade has some past experience working with law enforcement and is knowledgeable about parole concerns, also. His is another model that ‘naive’ pastors and Churches could follow rather than the foolishness they have shown.

    If the errant Churches could face reality and deal with it straight up, they could actually offer some real help to the perpetrator. But right now, they are close to clueless which leads them into all kinds of irresponsibility to the innocents among them.

  11. “Jesus forgives the sin but the offenders must now live their lives openly, confessing their disorder, if they truly care about the safety of others. Ask why if they wouldn’t want to do this…”

    This is one of those situations where normal and empathetic people tend to impute a sense of shame to a perpetrator which may not be there. They would be deeply ashamed if they were guilty of the same act, so they assume the perpetrator must be suffering the same shame. Knowing how painful this would feel to them, they shield the perpetrator. But the perpetrator may not feel shame over his/her actions, only regret at being caught, and will take advantage of the opportunity this gives him/her.

    In the end, it’s more compassionate to remain neutral and to practice wise consequences for behavior, as Dee has outlined here.

  12. Ken F wrote:

    I’m guessing that the more authoritarian churches are more unsafe,

    I don’t know. I suspect predators will tailor their grooming to be environment. So the we love grace types will get a Tullian. The super purity types will get a gothard, Catholic Church obviously got priests…

    I think authoritarian churches are prone to specific problems, and I would be highly suspicious of churches that try to control the natural flow of information on pain of hell.

  13. trs wrote:

    They also are excellent at grooming the adults around them. Often the only person to see the “monster” is the abused.

    And NOBODY will EVER believe the abused.

  14. Based on what I’m reading and my own experience with an evangelical church, I do not think any denomination that embraces the Bible as infallible and inerrant could ever be trusted to make the right choice. Or at least stay with the right choice in the long term.

    It’s great that Pastor Burleson has put so many checks and balances in his institution but ultimately the whole house cards upon which the religion is based are a set of very intolerant writings.

    For every wonderful missive in the gospels, there is a countermand in God’s law as laid out in the scriptures – A law that Jesus himself (in Matthew) admits he didn’t come to change, Paul also embraced that law as well.

    I have no doubt about the faith and good intentions of TWW and it’s commentators but the root cause is unfortunately the book upon which that faith is based. TWW uses an enlightened rationality that does not exist in many (I daresay a significant) churches that embrace the literal bible. This enlightened view would have been abhorrent in biblical times.

    Christianity (and I include the mainline churches as well) needs to address the aspects of scripture (example overt misogyny) that are at odds with the hard won rights of our 21st century liberal democracy.

    If a church has the words “inerrant” and/or “infallible” in any belief statement when it comes to scripture then I would stay away.

  15. @ Jack:

    There are ex Progressive Christians who are turned off by liberal / left wing expressions of Christianity via the Tony Jones scandal.

    A lot of progressive Christians did not come to the aid of Jones first wife when she asked for help, which really disgusted a lot of progressive Christians I saw on other sites.

    I think the bottom line is that abusive or selfish people will use any means necessary to rationalize (or hide) their abuse, whether it’s the Bible, or some other religious book, or political view, or whatever philosophy.

  16. siteseer wrote:

    But the perpetrator may not feel shame over his/her actions, only regret at being caught, and will take advantage of the opportunity this gives him/her.

    And it’s important to note, that just because people –say– they are ashamed, doesn’t mean they actually are.

  17. @ Jack:
    Hi JACK, if there were no written New Testament, we would still have had the Incarnate Word: Christ Himself
    ” in Christ the Father says everything ”

    the way I see it, some among fudamentalists have removed Our Lord as the lens through which ALL of sacred Scripture is to be read and interpreted

    this is what I think has led to problems in reading and culling out the true meaning of many difficult passages of Scripture

  18. Jack wrote:

    If a church has the words “inerrant” and/or “infallible” in any belief statement when it comes to scripture then I would stay away.

    I completely agree with you about staying away from churches that espouse the Scripture is “inerrant” belief, i.e. Chicago Statement.

    After a discussion here months ago about the Chicago Statement, signed by a bunch of men in a hotel room in the 1970’s, I started to research the men behind it. The men behind it are frightening. They believe in the overthrow of the U.S. government, that ten local men from a church should take over the local government, then groups of ten “Christian” men take over everything else. They believe in slavery. They believe that “non-Christians” should be enslaved, which is apparently anyone not in lock-step with their crazy beliefs.
    They subscribe to a Biblical Patriarchy as a form of society and government. They deny the Holocaust took place. They hate Jews.

    I think they used the Inerrant nonsense to gain credibility and traction for their hateful beliefs, all of which I reject.

  19. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I’ve formed a very similar hypothesis to yours. That is, there are two very distinct groups of people who are vulnerable to sexual predators:
     Their ultimate targets, i.e. children whom they will groom in order to abuse;
     Weak-minded and naive adults whom they will groom to use as allies

    Sex predators say over and over again in research interviews that they spend as much time grooming the family and other adults as they do grooming the children.

  20. This is a good article about how sexual predators groom parents and children. This woman had a very close encounter and shares what she learned about protecting children.

    http://herviewfromhome.com/not-my-child-protecting-my-son-from-a-sexual-predator/

    Before this experience, my ideas about sexual predators were admittedly shaped by film and television. Obviously, most offenders are not parked in their tinted-window kidnapper vans beyond the school playground. This man was a churchgoing, job-holding married man with children of his own who was connected with our family through our regular activities.

  21. Daisy wrote:

    I think the bottom line is that abusive or selfish people will use any means necessary to rationalize (or hide) their abuse, whether it’s the Bible, or some other religious book, or political view, or whatever philosophy.

    It’s true, the same things have happened among liberal groups, in synagogues, and non-religious groups. I wonder if there is a difference in the response when abuse is found to have happened, though? The very conservative groups tend to circle the wagons and refuse to believe it, sweep it under the rug, blame the victims, and enable it to continue. Confirmation bias means members are predisposed to see the perpetrator as “healed” because it reinforces their own beliefs that God can and does miraculously “heal” people of serious aberrations.

  22. @ siteseer:

    Good article. Thanks for posting that. I just posted that to my blog and to my Facebook pages. It’s very important information about how sexual predators groom the families, not just the children.

    I recently saw a John Walsh’s “The Hunt” program on Netflix (he used to host “America’s Most Wanted”). A child molester said he would help take care of the children while the mom was sick and had a new baby. He sexually abused her son just a few feet away from her.

    Her husband was away on business so they asked this “friend” for help in their time of need.

  23. Thank you, Dee, for following up with this post. Thank you for a fervent and continuously transparent effort to support those who have been hurt and for your commitment to provide standards for churches that can be adhered to on behalf of innocent children. I sincerely hope that in the midst of the chaos that ensues around these tragic circumstances of sexual abuse, that the scope of the work you are doing will become a source of influence that pierces the hardened heart and affirms the gentle spirit.

  24. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    But they are highly vulnerable to being manipulated into aiding and abetting abuse.

    I strongly disagree with you here, having recently (in the past year) left a church because of the molestation while she was sleeping of my 14 year old daughter by the adult son of popular church leaders. I was dissuaded from getting her professional counseling (after all they could handle it in house) as it would necessitate the crime being reported to the authorities. Then, I was pressured not to cooperate with the detective and the courts as Jesus said I should settle with my adversary on the way to court (that was a popular bible teacher who twisted that scripture). It’s ARROGANCE. Period. It didn’t matter that I kept pointing out that the young man was a liar. He’d cried and they all just KNEW he was repentant. They all have such finely honed lie detector skills. They were not interested in the truth. A year later, the pastor of the church contacted me and said he realized I was right in reporting the crime and insisting the young man be registered as a sex offender. He sent his message the day detectives interviewed the five year old daughter of close friends of the pastor as her mother was accusing the brother of the young man who molested my daughter of molestation. He’d been working in the church childcare ALONE. His duties included taking small children to the bathroom unsupervised. I’d warned the pastor a year ago he needed to get informed about sexual abuse in the church. He ignored me. He’s not ignoring me now.

  25. Velour wrote:

    Christiane,

    More about the Mennonite organization: C.O.S.A. — to minister to sex offenders.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4KQdtTViXw

    Thank you, VELOUR
    what a compassionate, well-thought-out program;
    it may be Mennonite, but something tells me this group helps people without discrimination as to faith community

    I do believe that because it is not a court-mandated program and is instead a voluntary participation program, that this may be one reason that the recidivism rate is so low …. another good sign that well-thought-out, responsible Christian ministry does work when it’s done right

    Thank you so much for sharing that link. 🙂

  26. Here is the church info on background checks, training, etc. Can’t tell if it’s a fig leaf, false sense of security, or what (but it’s less rigorous than what my church does):

    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/safe-ministry-practices

    This heading stood out:

    POLICY AGAINST CHILD ABUSE

    How novel! Why doesn’t everybody have one of those, along with a policy against sin? I’m amazed that they didn’t label the section “Policy to Prevent Child Abuse” or something similar.

    I see problems with the material below (see bold):

    Highpoint Church will immediately follow up on reports of abuse or suspected abuse. Appropriate action will be taken, including contacting authorities, if necessary, and assiting [sic] in filing a report with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Highpoint Church will not deny, minimize, or blame any individual involved in allegations. Highpoint Church staff will minister to all involved, and will cooperate with authorities.

    But…

    Guidelines for Volunteers

    Reports of child abuse should be made promptly, thoroughly, and taken seriously.

    Immediately contact the Highpoint Director/Minister listed above, or the Church Administrator.

    Treat any incident of abuse and all information about it with strict confidentiality and privacy.

    Do not discuss it with anyone else except for those authorities who need to know.

    Discuss your concerns, observations, or information you receive with the Highpoint Director/Minister of the area in which you are serving.

    So they inform the reader (elsewhere on the page) that “Everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter under state law,” and then they appear to muzzle any volunteer who reports an incident. Keep it in house, right?

  27. Friend wrote:

    Do not discuss it with anyone else except for those authorities who need to know.

    Discuss your concerns, observations, or information you receive with the Highpoint Director/Minister of the area in which you are serving.

    The authorities who “need to know” are the real authorities, not church leaders!

    This plan could be used to keep things swept under the rug even though at first glance it appears like the opposite. Why do they say they will “contact authorities if necessary” when they are mandated reporters?

  28. Friend wrote:

    Do not discuss it with anyone else except for those authorities who need to know.

    It seems like I read previously that for practical reasons detectives sometimes want you to keep things quiet while the investigation is proceeding? So I may give the benefit of the doubt on this one.

    I was more concerned with reporting ‘if necessary’ which doesn’t seem to belong as it undermines the idea of reporting.

    Friend wrote:

    Highpoint Church will not deny, minimize, or blame any individual involved in allegations. Highpoint Church staff will minister to all involved, and will cooperate with authorities.

    I also think it’s a sad state of affairs when you have to put In a policy that you will not blame whistleblowers and cooperate with authorities at a church! Ministering to ‘all’ involved seems to be popular but I don’t think you needed to make sure to include ministering to child molesters in your child molester prevention plan. Ugh.

  29. “He has been in accountability with a team of men”

    The Promise Keepers movement essentially birthed the idea of accountability groups for men. I am familiar with one group which has been meeting for years. Each week, these men confess their sins to each other and receive correction and prayer from the other brethren … then go right back out to live sinful lives … only to return to the next accountability group meeting and start all over. I’m not saying that some men have not profited from such groups as a challenge to live more holy lives, but others just never get it. Being in accountability with a team of men is not a permanent cure-all; it’s a temporary feel-good.

  30. I tend to agree with Velour here on the matter if the sex offender should attend the church. I at one time did not. There are so many churches either on tv on Sunday or on-line that they can listen to. Some of them even allow you to be media members (Jimmy Swaggert ministeries).But on the other hand I think Wade has got it right on how he deals with the sex offender at his church. That being said, I have my doubts of how many of them would actually agree to all his church’s stipulations. I think I would personally feel more comfortable with the sex offender watching the church services by satellite or other media. Then they could also meet with the pastor as needed. I wonder what the statistics are of how many sexual predators attend a church running over 500. How many of them are on the sex offenders list? We may never know the answer to my question.

  31. “Highpoint is a perfect place for imperfect people.”

    This is a new spin on an old line often used by church leaders: “There are no perfect churches; only a perfect Savior.” Well, while Jesus is in the business of perfecting the saints, we don’t want to turn some of the imperfect loose with church jobs. Sure, God can restore the most rotten sinner – He saved me – but church leaders need to use much discernment in passing out church positions to those who have offended one of the little ones (Jesus had a lot to say about that).

  32. “What does this mean? “Heinz will continue to serve in a support role.””

    It means you ain’t going to tell them how to run their church! Even though you exposed their bad decision, they have the freedom to make another one.

  33. Harley wrote:

    I wonder what the statistics are of how many sexual predators attend a church running over 500. How many of them are on the sex offenders list? We may never know the answer to my question.

    And how many predators have never been caught, arrested, prosecuted, and convicted?

  34. I wonder if Highpoint would consider having a service in which only victims of abuse by church leaders would be given the stage to share their testimonies? There’s got to be plenty of them in the Memphis area! Let the words of victims fill the sanctuary … stories of betrayed trust, lives which have been destroyed, homes that have been crushed, relationships which have been shattered, believers which have become disillusioned in their walk of faith. It would be a somber meeting indeed, but with a weighty message for all to learn from.

  35. ” … he could make coffee for the Adult Sunday School classes but always with a volunteer in tow …”

    Yes, there are various ways to volunteer at church, but visible up-front positions should be assigned by church leaders following much prayer and discernment. I posted the following comment on the Collierville Watch Group article and feel it appropriate to repeat it here:

    Any church worker who stands on a worship platform – whether they be paid staff or a volunteer – performs a leadership role whether that is intended or not. When they are given visibility by the church, they assume a position of influence; they become trusted leaders in the minds of those who see them up front. That’s just the way it is. Gifts and talents are important, but integrity and Christian character are far more critical than how talented one is. At the end of the day, character stands above talent. Our character has been shaped by our past; bad characters can only be changed by the blood of Christ. I trust that church leaders vetted Mr. Heinz with this in mind, rather than how good he could play a guitar. The question remains – should he have been given a visible role in church knowing that some day, reports such as this would emerge and have to be addressed, causing confusion within the church and concern without?

  36. Friend wrote:

    Everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter under state law,” and then they appear to muzzle any volunteer who reports an incident. Keep it in house, right?

    That is one of the most confusing guidelines I have ever read.

  37. I have a quick question. Lately, I’ve heard messages from a couple of smaller churches where they are guilting people in an effort to get them to help with Children’s Church on Sundays. It’s probably similar to a church that my spouse and I used to attend, where they asked couples to help with Children’s Church once a quarter or so.

    Is this another case of being tragically naive? I’m hoping that they have things setup where the “helpers” are never alone with a kid, but it seems to be an awful risk to take.

    This is such a troubling issue. My thanks to all of you who are expending so much effort on behalf of those who can’t protect themselves.

  38. Max wrote:

    Gifts and talents are important, but integrity and Christian character are far more critical than how talented one is. At the end of the day, character stands above talent.

    At my ex-church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley the pastors/elders put their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer in charge of a team of people…and told no one. Godly Christian women (including those with Ph.D.’s) weren’t permitted to lead a team. A sex offender/felon/master manipulator…had the “right parts”…and women didn’t. It really burns me up.

  39. dee wrote:

    Did they let it stand?

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I was referring to my comment on your Nov. 26 article about the Collierville group, not their site. Yes, you let it stand!

  40. Max wrote:

    I wonder if Highpoint would consider having a service in which only victims of abuse by church leaders would be given the stage to share their testimonies?

    In spite of the excellence of the idea, this is not a profitable undertaking for a megachurch. Also, in light of Highpoint having recovery groups, I believe they would fit the individual into this pre-existing program and leave this as their only option. But if a church is willing to allow convicted sex abusers to participate in their worship team, there should undoubtedly be procedures and policies in place. Unfortunately, my experience has been that once a church reaches a certain size it transitions from pursuing the ideas and needs of their members/attendees to becoming a one size fits all organization. By this time you have individuals who have financially supported the org for 5, 10, 15 years who wake up to the reality that their voice is no longer valued or needed in the face of the machine that has been created that can replace connected donors who give a lot with low connected donors who expect less.

  41. If any major brand of school bus manufacturer had a faulty brake system that was harming children in the thousands, the majority of America would be applauded! But these so called ‘saved sinner’ registered sex offenders are given access to vulnerable children, it make no sense. It’s an epidemic that is slowing being exposed. No preacher can heal a pedophile, period!

  42. @ Max:

    One of the things that deeply disturbed me about the Promise Keepers’ idea of accountability — at least the way it was explained to me by a number of its adherents — was that “confessing” to a guy’s group of sympathetic dude-bros was enough. Men who had cheated on their wives were encouraged to continue keeping their wives in the dark. Men were discouraged from coming clean about crimes, dishonesty, etc. with the actual victims, because confessing to the accountability group supposedly took care of everything.

    During the height of Promise Keepers’ popularity, a young man I knew returned from a follow-up men’s retreat, feeling a bit troubled by the idea that he didn’t need to humble himself before his family and beg for forgiveness. So he talked to our pastor, who pointed out the dangers of pseudo-accountability, and how it really served too often as a cover for sin. The upshot was that this courageous young husband not only made things right with his wife but, with her permission, stood up in a church service and confessed his selfishness and dishonesty to all of us.

    It was powerful.

  43. Dr John MacArthur will be speaking next year in February where he and some of the experts from Institute for Creation Research will Unlock Genesis for all of us. One of their articles is this one where we are informed that Dinosaurs were on Earth with Humankind. Why post this here, MacArthur and his ilk will appear on a stage with someone like C.J. Mahaney but I can guarantee he would not stand for anyone who held to the validity of the ToE being on the same stage / conference etc.

    http://www.icr.org/men-dinosaurs

  44. Someone who is truly repentant of henious crimes should have no problem with being accompanied by AT LEAST one highly trained person everywhere they go in the church. This serves 2 purposes:

    1. To protect the flock.
    2. To protect the “repentant” person from themselves.

    G_d loves us all and at the same time we need to help each other and look out for each other. That is why it is suggested a highly trained person be a protector of potential victims and potential victimizer.

  45. @ H.U.G.

    Too true. The abused is trapped in a horror of an impossible situation.The violation only STARTS with the monster’s assault. More pain and violation is yet to come.

    Caring and aware people sure help to release the abused from their life-long sentence of suffering in isolation.

    TWW believes the abused, publicly, in print. The blog roll lists folks who believe the abused.

    Safe places like this ARE touching lives.

    I’m encouraged by hopeful indications that hearing and believing the abused is a growing trend. I hope the sharing of abuse experiences snowballs into an avalanche.

    As the Aspen Matis quote above states, just being believed and being told the truth is like a prison door opening.

    Everyone who comments here in support and understanding widens that doorway. The impact of the support expressed here and on other “survivor” blogs is beyond value.

  46. Wayne wrote:

    s crimes should have no problem with being accompanied by AT LEAST one highly trained person everywhere they go in the ch

    3 purposes. It also shows that the church is honest and above board, and is dedicated to reaching out to all people while protecting them at the same time.

  47. brian wrote:

    John MacArthur will be speaking next year in February where he and some of the experts from Institute for Creation Research will Unlock Genesis for all of us. One of their articles is this one where we are informed that Dinosaurs were on Earth with Humankind. Why post this here, MacArthur and his ilk will appear on a stage with someone like C.J. Mahaney but I can guarantee he would not stand for anyone who held to the validity of the ToE being on the same stage / conference etc.

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

  48. brian wrote:

    Dr John MacArthur will be speaking next year in February where he and some of the experts from Institute for Creation Research will Unlock Genesis for all of us. One of their articles is this one where we are informed that Dinosaurs were on Earth with Humankind. Why post this here, MacArthur and his ilk will appear on a stage with someone like C.J. Mahaney but I can guarantee he would not stand for anyone who held to the validity of the ToE being on the same stage / conference etc.

    Ayn Rand-level atheism looks better every day…

  49. So often missing from those defending a rapist or child molester is the number of victims. The defenders often believe or pretend the only victim was the incident when they were caught. Statistics abound, the last one I ran across was the from Australia that reported 21 victims per child molester.
    http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/tandi/481-500/tandi497.html

    This means by the time offenders are caught they have injured, if not crippled, the emotional lives of over twenty youngsters.

    Stop to let it sink in.

    While the one offender gets all this attention, their twenty victims struggle with effects of the assault for the rest of their lives.

  50. Bill M wrote:

    Statistics abound, the last one I ran across was the from Australia that reported 21 victims per child molester.

    I’ve read other statistics that say that a child sexual predator can sexually abuse several hundred children by the time the predator is caught, if ever.

  51. For those who read here regularly it is likely well known that offenders seek out employment in institutions that give them access to youth, below is an excerpt from the Australian government report.

    “On average, these offenders had spent approximately one and a half years (511.8 days) in the institution before they engaged in their first sexual offence. To provide context, offenders reported they had spent a total of 16.2 years, on average, within an institution(s) (range=1–47 years) before being caught.”

    So, offenders groom their victims and wait an average year and a half before molesting, they then continue molesting for an average of 15 years before getting caught. This is monstrous dedication and premeditation. Good grief, can some churches stop thinking of this crime as some type of mistake?

  52. Velour wrote:

    I’ve read other statistics that say that a child sexual predator can sexually abuse several hundred children by the time the predator is caught, if ever.

    In the Australian study the range was from 3 victims by one offender up to 102 victims by just one offender. You are correct to point it out, this counts only the offenders who were ultimately caught.

  53. Bill M wrote:

    So often missing from those defending a rapist or child molester is the number of victims. The defenders often believe or pretend the only victim was the incident when they were caught.

    Yes, and they usually minimize it by saying it happened some time in the past.

    One thing that is clear from all the statistics: there are a lot of wounded children suffering in silence around us.

  54. Bill M wrote:

    So often missing from those defending a rapist or child molester is the number of victims. The defenders often believe or pretend the only victim was the incident when they were caught.

    In addition, I’m not sure we can assume because someone has been convicted that the full extent of what they could be charged for as been exposed. I am always suspicious when an offender takes a plea bargain that includes a very stiff sentence that there is an obfuscating of the number or severity of potential charges against them. I have seen cases where the perpetrator took the maximum sentence in a plea deal. The only logical reason I can see for this, assuming someone is only acting in their own self-interest, is that they are avoiding more severe charges or penalties for something that has not been disclosed.

    Disclosures:

    A. This is my own cynical approach and reflects only some anecdotal observations and the viewing of a few too many episodes of Law and Order.

    B. I’m not suggesting anything with regards to the specific case in question in this post, just making a general observation.

  55. brian wrote:

    Dr John MacArthur will be speaking next year in February where he and some of the experts from Institute for Creation Research will Unlock Genesis for all of us.

    An excellent review of the ICR is given by Randy Isaac of the ASA (American Scientific Affiliation) in: http://resources.asa3.org/FMPro?-db=asadb49.fm4&-format=%2fasadb%2fdetail3.html&-lay=layout1&-sortfield=sort1&-sortfield=calcyear&-sortfield=calcmonth&combo_tag=ecf-age-of-the-earth&-max=2147483647&-recid=35182&-find= Isaac’s review will provide a useful perspective on the scientific integrity of the ICR.

    Isaac is a past Executive Director of the ASA and finished his primary career in the management of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Laboratories.

    The ASA is an organization of science/engineering/technology individuals who subscribe to basic Christian beliefs. I am also a member.

  56. Rebecca Prewett wrote:

    was that “confessing” to a guy’s group of sympathetic dude-bros was enough. Men who had cheated on their wives were encouraged to continue keeping their wives in the dark. Men were discouraged from coming clean about crimes, dishonesty, etc. with the actual victims, because confessing to the accountability group supposedly took care of everything.

    Wow. I hadn’t heard that, but obviously if ‘accountability’ groups operate like that, it would explain why people like Tullian’s mentor (?) didn’t encourage him to come clean with his wife.

    I mean, do these men think that lies (such as to your wife) are still ok, as long as you told someone the truth? Because that’s not biblical at all.

  57. brian wrote:

    the validity of the ToE

    “ToE”? What is that an acronym for? Tried to Google it, but the nearly half billion results were going to be a bit daunting to sift through. I did, however, discover this interesting headline: “A Woman Sent Her Amputated Toe To A Stranger On Tumblr”.

  58. Predators rarely have just one victim. If Heinz has more victims, they may be intimidated and scared to come forward to report, seeing him as an elevated leader serving in the church.

    When offenders are elevated to positions of trust and leadership, victims may be intimidated and scared to come forward. This has a silencing effect upon kids who have been abused by a trusted adult in the community. Victims fear they will not be believed.

  59. Bill M wrote:

    Statistics abound, the last one I ran across was the from Australia that reported 21 victims per child molester.

    Abusers with a preference for male children abuse more, iirc, over a lifetime. I don’t know if this is because of easier access or some other reason. I skimmed the study you posted and I didn’t see what age the children were, so I’m not sure if there are different numbers for different age preferences either.

    But your point is well taken in that it is very unlikely this was the only time this guy went after a very young teen. People don’t usually get caught right away.

  60. In my opinion, there is a significant link between Dr. John MaArthur’s support of YEC, ICR, and the concern of the WW for children. In almost all of the “situations” discussed at WW, we have a case when either a single man, or group of men, think they know MORE, their interpretation of the Bible is the only way, extra, and these mens approach is above current scientific, or rational thinking (I grew up with these kinds and heard it all the time… you scientists opinions are not worthy because you are methodology is Godless). I frimly believe that there is two revolations: the physical world, and the Bible. When push comes to shove, these “leaders” place their personal interpretation of the Bible above everything else, and in many cases they are not even consistent here.. they do not apply their own standards on themselves (Think applying 9 MARKS to the leaders such as CJ!) Dr. MacArthurs embracing YEC IS consistent with not belieiving modern pphycology, and espeically as Dee points out…child molesting in not just about the SIN, but about the physciological disorder of child molesting. To Dr. MacArthurs world, repentance is sufficient to “cure” a pedo…

    OldJohnJ wrote:

    brian wrote:
    Dr John MacArthur will be speaking next year in February where he and some of the experts from Institute for Creation Research will Unlock Genesis for all of us.
    An excellent review of the ICR is given by Randy Isaac of the ASA (American Scientific Affiliation) in: http://resources.asa3.org/FMPro?-db=asadb49.fm4&-format=%2fasadb%2fdetail3.html&-lay=layout1&-sortfield=sort1&-sortfield=calcyear&-sortfield=calcmonth&combo_tag=ecf-age-of-the-earth&-max=2147483647&-recid=35182&-find= Isaac’s review will provide a useful perspective on the scientific integrity of the ICR.
    Isaac is a past Executive Director of the ASA and finished his primary career in the management of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Laboratories.
    The ASA is an organization of science/engineering/technology individuals who subscribe to basic Christian beliefs. I am also a member.

  61. Rebecca Prewett wrote:

    dangers of pseudo-accountability

    Believers should never allow men to substitute for Christ when it comes to confession of sin. Mere men can never effect true forgiveness, healing and restoration … only God can do that through Jesus who sacrificed His life for our sins. Accountability groups can certainly help a believer who has stumbled get back on his feet, but only Jesus can raise him up to be an overcomer rather than to be overcomed by the same sin again.

  62. Amy Smith wrote:

    Victims fear they will not be believed.

    After seeing the response from many of these churches, they probably wouldn’t be, and maybe some have already reported, and been shushed by parents and/or church staff.

  63. Reidster wrote:

    In spite of the excellence of the idea, this is not a profitable undertaking for a megachurch.

    Then they have become too big for their britches, as my dad would say. You speak clearly to the problems of megachurch: “a one size fits all organization” … “low connected donors who expect less.” Preaching to the lowest denominator always upsets God’s formula for authentic church. A focus on “Relax, come as the way you are” too often leaves folks the way they are, never getting victory over personal sin.

  64. Velour wrote:

    pastors/elders put their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer in charge of a team of people…and told no one. Godly Christian women (including those with Ph.D.’s) weren’t permitted to lead a team

    This is not a church designed in the heart of God. It is simply a place where people meet to do church without God.

  65. Rebecca Prewett wrote:

    So he talked to our pastor, who pointed out the dangers of pseudo-accountability, and how it really served too often as a cover for sin. The upshot was that this courageous young husband not only made things right with his wife but, with her permission, stood up in a church service and confessed his selfishness and dishonesty to all of us.

    Wow! Thank you.

  66. FW Rez wrote:

    “A Woman Sent Her Amputated Toe To A Stranger On Tumblr”.

    ROFL -Theistic Evolution is what I believe he was referring to.

  67. siteseer wrote:

    Why do they say they will “contact authorities if necessary” when they are mandated reporters?

    Hypothetically, a volunteer might report a violation of the bathroom policy because they didn’t recognize the person taking the child to the bathroom as his/her perfectly innocent grandparent. I can accept some room for discretion. However, I see real problems with the insistence on volunteers keeping everything secret, reporting everything only to one person, and then blindly trusting the church leaders to handle the situation.

    If you silence all the witnesses, you prevent the truth from coming out until the victim is 45 years old, emotionally broken, and facing accusatory questions about why he or she waited so long to come forward.

  68. Friend wrote:

    Hypothetically, a volunteer might report a violation of the bathroom policy because they didn’t recognize the person taking the child to the bathroom as his/her perfectly innocent grandparent.

    I don’t think the hedging was necessary here, though. Every hedge puts them closer to ‘lets just let the elders handle it’.

  69. @ Deana Holmes (fka mirele):
    I endorse the article that OldJohnJ cites.. When I have taken the time to dig into the “science” that YEC’s cite/use, I usually have to pick my jaw off the floor… The level of missrepresentation and down right deceit is breathtaking.. they are counting on the reader to be scientifically ignorant.. but then of course, my scientific understanding is “corrupt” since I do not start with the same presuppositions that YEC do.. they have told me this to my face…repeatedly…

  70. dee wrote:

    Are you interested in writing a post for us? Hint, hint….

    Dee, I’ve previously (2012) done a guest post on this: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/12/10/fraud-in-science-are-some-young-earth-proponents-being-disingenuous/ Both of the AIG/ICR papers are still available from the links given and I see no reason to change my conclusions: The AIG/ICR data clearly and unambiguously support the accepted scientific age for the rocks dated. The conclusions of the paper are completely the opposite from what their data shows.

    On a related subject: Permanent pages to deal with specific scenarios. When will the lead pages for this very important effort be available? I’d like to see one or two before I commit to a creationism page.

  71. “Even society recognizes that a perpetrator is highly likely to reoffend. That is why we have registries of sex offenders. I believe that every parent should be aware of the sex offenders in their neighborhood, churches, etc. So should churches. It is silly and dangerous to hide a potential problem. As I stated earlier, prison does not cure the psychiatric disorder. It merely punishes the crime. Jesus forgives the sin but the offenders must now live their lives openly, confessing their disorder, if they truly care about the safety of others. Ask why if they wouldn’t want to do this…”

    The more I read about this problem, the more I wonder if it wouldn’t be kinder, more just, etc. to everyone (including the offenders themselves) to simply and speedily execute them upon conviction. I know that sounds draconian, and the standard of proof would have to be very high, but would it at least ease the minds of society that when caught, this molester and that rapist will literally be unable to ever do that again? How about the victims? Would there be a deterrent effect? Not that there’s much chance of passing such a law.

  72. NJ wrote:

    Not that there’s much chance of passing such a law.

    Didn’t the supreme court rule out death for child rape? I think that one is out.

    But if you think about how difficult it is to get people to come forward, to be believed, it might just add a further deterrent to victims coming forward. Particularly in cases where the person was known, a family member, etc.

  73. Amy Smith wrote:

    When offenders are elevated to positions of trust and leadership, victims may be intimidated and scared to come forward. This has a silencing effect upon kids who have been abused by a trusted adult in the community. Victims fear they will not be believed.

    Feature, not Bug.

  74. Christiane wrote:

    the way I see it, some among fudamentalists have removed Our Lord as the lens through which ALL of sacred Scripture is to be read and interpreted

    That is not the way it looks to me. At the time of the change it was done because of abuses of the idea of ‘the Jesus I know would/would not do this or such’ with the emphasis being on the individual person’s own actual or claimed spiritual experience, There was no intent to disallow christocentric theology per se and in toto but rather to deal with certain abuses. People were and are and continue to ignore scripture, church and tradition and for that matter sometimes reason in favor of what they think that the Jesus of their own personal experience would or would not do.

    Let me illustrate: the thing I heard and continue to hear most is ‘the Jesus I know would never send anybody to hell’ never mind what Jesus said and is reported in the gospels, and never mind what the church has said for a couple thousand years and now never mind what the current pope said just a few days ago-because ‘the Jesus I KNOW would never do that’. And ‘we are not catholic’, so decisions are justified in the ‘just Jesus and me’ style of thinking.

    Now, whether they went too far in addressing that issue in the BFM 2000 can be debated. But to say that fundamentalists have somehow left Christ out of the picture of their theology is, in my opinion, the exact opposite of what has happened. What they have done is refused to leave scripture out of the picture, and they are now accused of (and are) moving in the direction of creedalism and moving away from a strict position on the autonomy of the local church and backing away from the area of individual interpretation of scripture. In other words, they are becoming more catholic-like.

    I do not think this means they are moving away from Christ but rather moving away from individualism which is an issue which plays into this.

    Here is a link you might find interesting.

    http://www.centerforbaptiststudies.org/hotissues/dildayfm2000.htm

  75. okrapod wrote:

    I do not think this means they are moving away from Christ but rather moving away from individualism which is an issue which plays into this.

    I think we see this sort of pendulum shift issue a lot in church and society. We go too far one direction and someone tries to overcorrect by going too far the other direction…I think that’s part of what has happened with Comp too. People got concerned that society was throwing out important things so they went WAY too far in the opposite direction to try to fix it – but they miss that the reason society went so far in that direction was to try to fix issues that were present…and so it goes.

  76. Jack wrote:

    I have no doubt about the faith and good intentions of TWW and it’s commentators but the root cause is unfortunately the book upon which that faith is based. TWW uses an enlightened rationality that does not exist in many (I daresay a significant) churches that embrace the literal bible. This enlightened view would have been abhorrent in biblical times.

    Which is why I still hang out at TWW. I am bane to both progressive and conservative Christian camps, in other words I’m an equal opportunity offender. TWW is one of the few places in cyberspace that will tolerate a rogue anomaly like me.

  77. NJ wrote:
    ishy wrote:

    After seeing the response from many of these churches, they probably wouldn’t be, and maybe some have already reported, and been shushed by parents and/or church staff.

    According to Jimmy Hinton of Church Protect, 80% of the churches they are called in to help in sex abuse cases, the offender IS in church leadership; pastors, elders, etc. He also gives a statistic that 90% of pedophiles describe themselves as “religious.”

    http://www.marydemuth.com/restory2-12/

  78. My son often volunteers in the 3 to 4 yr old nursery at his church. He told me that the only way he will take a child by himself to the restroom, is if he knows the child’s parents personally. My son is a single man in his late 20’s who loves working with children. I applaud him for his stand on this. But it is sad it has come to this.

  79. Look at this! A well-respected Christian radio host, newly married, has been convicted and sentenced to a long prison term for child sex crimes. Read closely the judge’s remarks, which mirror the sentiments of many of TWW posters. It’s heartening that this judge has such understanding.

    “I’m having a lot of trouble trying to reconcile two people in the orange jumpsuit before me,” Judge Robert Holmes Bell told Balyo during the sentencing hearing. “There’s the Christian man with a reputation as a value-driven individual. But there is something else going on that is troubling … filthy, obscene. I don’t get it. I don’t get where you went off.”

    Also of interest is that the judge is Rob Bell’s father.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2014/12/11/john-baylo-child-pornograhy-christian-radio/20270307/

  80. My husband and I have volunteered for years in kids ministry. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken a little one into the bathroom, stayed outside the door, and then hear a small voice, “I need help…getting up onto the toilet, or pulling pants down, or wiping(!!)” You become a substitute parent in these situations. Nobody else is around, the parents could be in another building and the need is right now!
    And at many of these churches, the background check procedure/training are pathetic. For this reason I can’t blame parents who want their kids with them in the big service. We were very particular when leaving our kids in their classes.

  81. Remnant wrote:

    “I’m having a lot of trouble trying to reconcile two people in the orange jumpsuit before me,” Judge Robert Holmes Bell told Balyo during the sentencing hearing. “There’s the Christian man with a reputation as a value-driven individual. But there is something else going on that is troubling … filthy, obscene. I don’t get it. I don’t get where you went off.”

    Also of interest is that the judge is Rob Bell’s father.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2014/12/11/john-baylo-child-pornograhy-christian-radio/20270307/

    Horrifying!

    I think the judge is in error thinking that the guy “went off” at some point. I don’t personally believe normal people can turn into what this man is. I would say he has always been this way and learned how to play the part of the Great Christian Guy in order to achieve his goals. And it worked! Apparently, it was someone online who tipped police, not anyone who knew him personally.

  82. Sandra wrote:

    My husband and I have volunteered for years in kids ministry. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken a little one into the bathroom, stayed outside the door, and then hear a small voice, “I need help…getting up onto the toilet, or pulling pants down, or wiping(!!)” You become a substitute parent in these situations. Nobody else is around, the parents could be in another building and the need is right now!
    And at many of these churches, the background check procedure/training are pathetic. For this reason I can’t blame parents who want their kids with them in the big service. We were very particular when leaving our kids in their classes.

    It’s getting to the point where I think we should go back to having kids in service. I know a lot of people are annoyed by crying kids, and a lot of parents want an hour of peace, but I don’t see how you can trust churches to watch your kids for you.

  83. My dad was convicted of raping two 12 year old boys. I read a copy of his statement, and he was by no means innocent. He served a seven year sentence. It was the minimum, and I think it was a plea deal in which he largely plead guilty to avoid what would have been an ugly trial for all involved. Anyway, prison did not “fix” him. I had to watch him like a hawk around my children – my son especially. Despite his guilty plea, he played the victim as if he didn’t do anything wrong. He had been a deacon. We belonged to sect of Baptists who consider Southern Baptists too liberal. Fundamentalism didn’t inoculate him. It took me a lot of years to 1) admit he was a pedophile and 2) admit that he was unrepentant. He never should have been paroled, and truth be told, he needed to stay incarcerated for the rest of his life. No matter how much I loved him, he was a danger to children – boys in particular.

  84. Another article, this one about sex abuse in the Catholic church, gives more perspective on the volume of victims one predator can have and the fallout to the whole community when this happens-
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/08/catholic-priest-child-sex-abuse-ebensburg-pennsylvania?CMP=share_btn_tw

    “Just in this borough, it’s like a cancer,” said the state senator David Burns. “Everyone here knows a victim, even though they may not know they know it. The attorney general did not say the investigation is closed and there may be more to come. They estimate that in a single little town like this, McCaa affected a generation of kids.”

    And people may not have realized the extent to which tears in the fabric of the community were ripped by McCaa and his ilk, Burns said.

    “We have a large drug problem in our area, we deal with high driving-under-the-influence (DUI) arrests, and we just think that’s because the community is poor and unemployed, but it could be that a lot of these kids have had a hard time integrating into society because of the impact of this abuse. It strains family and sexual relationships, and it often takes years, especially for a man, to report something,” said Burns.

  85. @ Christiane:
    The liberal “progressives” in ministry supported Tony Jones’ spiritual/legal wife meme. Including Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz. Lots of money involved in conferences, books, there, too.

    I spent Thanksgiving out of town with a small group of progressive Baptist friends of an extended family member. All the progressive bonafides: female pastor, actively supporting LBGQ community, SS marriages at church, etc.

    A former youth pastor who molested a young teen, joined their church a few years ago. He was convicted for it and served a short sentence. He is now married with children, has a different career and high earning wife.

    A few in the church found out and were against his wanting to teach and lead groups. The people I was with were talking about how unfair to limit him since he served his time. But not one of them were familiar with the victims story or had even sought to read court documents. None of them were even familiar with the concept of grooming. It was so sad.

    These groups are so quick to lecture us with how inclusive and tolerant they are… Except when it comes to such victims.

  86. I did a quick google search and found this info: Sex Offenders with the highest rearrest rates were Statutory Rapists (30.7%) (the crime was aggravated statutory rape)
    Source: https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/tbi/attachments/2007%20Sex%20Offender%20Recidivism.pdf Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Statistics Unit 2007 Recidivism Study

    But somehow, HP can still say “The safety of the children and students in our congregation is our highest priority.”

  87. okrapod wrote:

    There was no intent to disallow christocentric theology per se and in toto but rather to deal with certain abuses.

    Hi OKRAPOD,
    ‘certain abuses’ … like having a woman teach Hebrew at SWBTS ?
    Without the Royal Law of Christ as a priority, men were able to use another part of sacred Scripture as rationale for the removal of a beloved woman Hebrew professor from her position at South Western Baptist Theological Seminary, under the direction of Paige Patterson.
    To me, it looks like the ONLY way people could be so poorly treated is if the leadership looked away from the words of Our Lord. That Dr. Sherri Klouda, an innocent person, was put through a dreadful time because she was a woman is verified. And yes, I have heard about the other ‘abuses’, but nothing so dreadful as what was done to her and her family, her husband being extremely ill at the time.

    The excuses? What will stand on the Day of the Lord as an excuse to do evil ‘that good may come’????

    There may have been honest concerns about ‘changes’ but once the ‘lens’ of Christ was removed, the SBC had thrown away something irreplaceable. And its decline began in earnest.
    There were other ways to secure the old Baptist essentials …. now, even those are at risk to elements that are neo-Cal.

    I’m afraid we must disagree on this, but I do appreciate that you shared your point of view. I am very troubled by what happened because I think it hurt the SBC at its heart’s core, which in turn, hurts the whole Church.

  88. Lydia wrote:

    The people I was with were talking about how unfair to limit him since he served his time.

    First, At a certain point you have to wonder, are there so few people decent people in church to teach that we have to make due with all the ‘moral failure’ types?

    Second, I am generally leery of any assumption that all problems come from one group, or theology, or denomination. We have to realize that predators can pop up anywhere, and watch for them. It’s not only Calvinists that are at risk. Or conservatives. Or catholics. Predatory people will tailor themselves to their audience.

    ishy wrote:

    I don’t see how you can trust churches to watch your kids for you.

    ishy, I think this is where knowing everyone involved in children’s ministry, or taking charge of it yourself, is important. You can still make errors and be fooled, but that is true anywhere even family.

  89. Balanced One wrote:

    I did a quick google search and found this info: Sex Offenders with the highest rearrest rates were Statutory Rapists (30.7%) (the crime was aggravated statutory rape)

    And let’s not forget all of the child sex offenders who do re-offend and aren’t caught.
    When interviewed, they say it’s “easy”.

  90. ToE stands for The Theory of Evolution, I use the phrase validity of the Theory of evolution instead of I believe in evolution because I see it as more accurate. Sorry I did not answer that earlier.

  91. Christiane wrote:

    To me, it looks like the ONLY way people could be so poorly treated is if the leadership looked away from the words of Our Lord.

    I think people have been poorly treated all throughout history, regardless.

  92. Lea wrote:

    ishy, I think this is where knowing everyone involved in children’s ministry, or taking charge of it yourself, is important. You can still make errors and be fooled, but that is true anywhere even family.

    I say it as a teacher, and someone who worked in daycare for years. Most parents barely paid any attention, which is pretty bad. In daycare we had pretty stringent procedures, not to mention cameras, but coworkers sometimes don’t show up and sometimes you are alone.

    A lot of parents want to use church as a babysitting service, giving them some free time without the kids, and I think many just want to bury their heads in the sand about these issues. Add that to church leaders who are more concerned about protecting their bottom line than kids, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I know in many of those churches, though, they ask you not to bring your kids. They also turn up the music way past unsafe levels, and I know one worship leader said they did that expressly so people would take their kids out of the service so it could be “enjoyed by adults”.

    Ignorance is not bliss.

  93. @ OldJohnJ:

    Given that a common mantra of YECists is that secular scientists “weren’t there” at creation and therefore can’t properly know what happened long ago, I’ve always thought that the phrase “creation research” is something of a grammatical error.

  94. ishy wrote:

    They also turn up the music way past unsafe levels, and I know one worship leader said they did that expressly so people would take their kids out of the service so it could be “enjoyed by adults”.

    That’s awful! The church I joined actually has an adorable little thing called ‘a time with the children’ where they do a mini version of the sermon (this for youngish children). And then they can go to sunday school or not. But I don’t know much about what’s going on with the older kids.

    I’m sort of torn, because I think bad things can happen anywhere. My general philosophy on life is to do a reasonable risk assessment and decide how much you are willing to live with and then don’t worry.

  95. brian wrote:

    ToE stands for The Theory of Evolution

    Thanks. Don’t know why I didn’t intuit that.

    Their hubris in claiming to “Unlock Genesis” is alarming!! Robert Webber, in his “Ancient Future Worship” book, argues that they are missing the point of the creation account entirely.

  96. Lydia wrote:

    These groups are so quick to lecture us with how inclusive and tolerant they are… Except when it comes to such victims.

    Gotta agree with ya’ there Lyds. See what happens to you on a ‘progressive’ blog if you dare and critique one of their cherished Orwellian memes like say, ‘white privilege’, or say ‘systemic racism’.

  97. Lea wrote:

    That’s awful! The church I joined actually has an adorable little thing called ‘a time with the children’ where they do a mini version of the sermon (this for youngish children). And then they can go to sunday school or not. But I don’t know much about what’s going on with the older kids.
    I’m sort of torn, because I think bad things can happen anywhere. My general philosophy on life is to do a reasonable risk assessment and decide how much you are willing to live with and then don’t worry.

    The church I am about to join has the same thing. And often kids stay with their parents in the service, from babies on up. But some of the large contemporary churches I’ve gone to were obsessed with keeping everyone separate. Though, I know the last one had a pretty strict child protection plan in place, still, I know so many parents who just didn’t think about it at all.

    There’s really not many places where parents and others get educated in these types of problems, but I’m not sure education would do much. Even progressive Christians I know tend toward denial about major problems in their lives, so I wasn’t too surprised at Lydia’s story. I had someone very close to me reveal they had been abused very badly, and others in their family by the same person, and their family made a rule that nobody could talk about it inside the family or out, even to a counselor. I’ve also witnessed abuse from people who got away with everything, and people would just say, “But s/he’s a nice person. You must be wrong.” Even with plain evidence and multiple witnesses.

  98. @ Harley:

    No offense is meant here, Harley, but for your son’s sake and the child’s, he should not take any child to the bathroom alone.

  99. Lea wrote:

    NJ wrote:

    Not that there’s much chance of passing such a law.

    Didn’t the supreme court rule out death for child rape? I think that one is out.

    But if you think about how difficult it is to get people to come forward, to be believed, it might just add a further deterrent to victims coming forward. Particularly in cases where the person was known, a family member, etc.

    As tempting as it sounds to give them either death or life sentences, the standard for conviction would be very high and many more would likely escape conviction. The abusers don’t always leave physical evidence, which can make it very difficult to successfully prosecute. Especially if the victim’s testimony is the primary evidence because it can mean no conviction without the victim having to be potentially re-traumatized in the courtroom. Abusers can mess up their victims so badly they the victims have trouble keeping their stories straight. If the victims have to testify, they can be destroyed by cross examination. Tougher sentencing would be great, but the unintended consequences need to be considered.

  100. NJ wrote:

    “Even society recognizes that a perpetrator is highly likely to reoffend. That is why we have registries of sex offenders. I believe that every parent should be aware of the sex offenders in their neighborhood, churches, etc. So should churches. It is silly and dangerous to hide a potential problem. As I stated earlier, prison does not cure the psychiatric disorder. It merely punishes the crime. Jesus forgives the sin but the offenders must now live their lives openly, confessing their disorder, if they truly care about the safety of others. Ask why if they wouldn’t want to do this…”

    I discovered through our situation that, in California (I don’t know about other states), a child molestor can have his name removed from the registry if he has committed certain categories of crimes (my family’s situation was in one of those categories). Child molestation is considered a lesser crime than lewd acts on a child, so these perpetrators, I believe about 25% of abusers, can petition to have their names removed. Not only that, after they have served out their probation and paid their fines, they can, three years later, have their convictions expunged. This information isn’t widely known. My daughter’s molestor was on the Megan’s List registry for about a day and then was removed, even though he is convicted and had to ask for the judge’s permission to remain in his parents’ house as it is within 1000′ of a school.

  101. one of the little people wrote:

    NJ wrote:
    “Even society recognizes that a perpetrator is highly likely to reoffend. That is why we have registries of sex offenders. I believe that every parent should be aware of the sex offenders in their neighborhood, churches, etc. So should churches. It is silly and dangerous to hide a potential problem. As I stated earlier, prison does not cure the psychiatric disorder. It merely punishes the crime. Jesus forgives the sin but the offenders must now live their lives openly, confessing their disorder, if they truly care about the safety of others. Ask why if they wouldn’t want to do this…”
    I discovered through our situation that, in California (I don’t know about other states), a child molestor can have his name removed from the registry if he has committed certain categories of crimes (my family’s situation was in one of those categories). Child molestation is considered a lesser crime than lewd acts on a child, so these perpetrators, I believe about 25% of abusers, can petition to have their names removed. Not only that, after they have served out their probation and paid their fines, they can, three years later, have their convictions expunged. This information isn’t widely known. My daughter’s molestor was on the Megan’s List registry for about a day and then was removed, even though he is convicted and had to ask for the judge’s permission to remain in his parents’ house as it is within 1000′ of a school.

    I’m in California and the California Attorney General and the legislature have beefed up our laws. https://meganslaw.ca.gov/SexOffenders_SummaryOfLaw.aspx

    I am sorry about what happened with the predator who sexually abused your daughter.
    Thankfully, the laws are changing with each outcry/wrongdoing.

    That includes the statute or limitations on rape not expiring because of the alleged crimes done by Bill Cosby against scores of victims who accused him of sexually abusing them and the Brock Turner (Stanford University swimmer/rapist) who got just a few months in jail because the judge (Santa Clara County, my county — sigh) thought it would be too hard on him. The California legislature changed that law too in record speed time and now there are mandatory minimums for rape and NO judicial discretion.

  102. @ Velour:

    If you read the Megan’s Law link you see it states there are certain categories that cannot be listed. Child molestation is one of those categories. Rape and lewd acts cannot be excluded, but the lesser crime of molestation can. If my daughter had been a year younger, it would have been considered a more serious crime. Also, the fact the young man was charged with one count rather than multiple counts. This is some of the information families need to know when they are giving input to prosecutors.

    I am very glad the laws in CA are changing. I support a nationwide mandate on all adults to report and an abolition of the statute of limitations. These will help the victims and their families to get help.

  103. @ Velour:

    And I want to add, I think it’s disgusting that clergy have to be forced by law to protect kids. A mandated reporter law should be unnecessary when it comes to the church. The first priority should be protecting children. My family found more righteousness in the secular authorities than we did in our church leadership.

  104. @ one of the little people:

    i have found that in churchland, ultimately, in the final analysis, the first priority is the perpetuation of the individual church, and its ability to keep the top leaders gainfully employed.

    seminary cost too much financially, relationally (hard on the spouse), in the investment of time, and in the elimination of other career options to sacrifice it.

    Same with the investment of time in a pastor position — after a certain amount of time as a professional christian, it’s hard to see how the skillset is transferable to other fields; the thought of more or less starting over & reinventing oneself is daunting. it comes down to ministry as one’s paycheck.

    speaking of paycheck, some churches pay so well and with so many perks it’s just too darn comfortable to be willing to sacrifice it for any reason.

    but then there’s also the elevated conviction that God’s kingdom can’t do without ‘Church X’ and ‘Pastor X’. That God will be out of luck if ‘my church’ and ‘me as pastor’ aren’t doin’ it. ‘I’ am just too important to the kingdom of God to be sacrificed for the sake of collateral damage.

    My observation is that when there is a choice between ethics and one’s ministry career, a good many professional christians seem to be able to rationalize sacrificing ethics for the sake of their career/paycheck/significance, with a fair amount of ease.

  105. one of the little people wrote:

    If you read the Megan’s Law link you see it states there are certain categories that cannot be listed. Child molestation is one of those categories. Rape and lewd acts cannot be excluded, but the lesser crime of molestation can. If my daughter had been a year younger, it would have been considered a more serious crime. Also, the fact the young man was charged with one count rather than multiple counts. This is some of the information families need to know when they are giving input to prosecutors.

    I wonder how often they plead down to a lesser charge, too?

    This kind of stuff makes me crazy.

  106. elastigirl wrote:

    My observation is that when there is a choice between ethics and one’s ministry career, a good many professional christians seem to be able to rationalize sacrificing ethics for the sake of their career/paycheck/significance, with a fair amount of ease.

    Seems that way, it’s the ones who don’t that stand out.

  107. siteseer wrote:

    one of the little people wrote:

    If you read the Megan’s Law link you see it states there are certain categories that cannot be listed. Child molestation is one of those categories. Rape and lewd acts cannot be excluded, but the lesser crime of molestation can. If my daughter had been a year younger, it would have been considered a more serious crime. Also, the fact the young man was charged with one count rather than multiple counts. This is some of the information families need to know when they are giving input to prosecutors.

    I wonder how often they plead down to a lesser charge, too?

    This kind of stuff makes me crazy.

    When the prosecutor called me with the defense offer, he was willing to plead guilty to the single charge if he could have probation, pay a fine of $1500, serve community service (I think 300 hours), and go to group therapy of sexual abusers for 52 weeks. The DA wanted us to accept this. I spoke with my daughter who said she wanted him registered so he’d think twice about doing the same to someone else. Then I emailed Boz Tchividjian, who was a wonderful help. He recommended that I insist he be registered, so others would be warned he’s not safe and so my daughter would know we were taking the assault seriously. Then, I did some research and discovered that child molestation was one of the categories that could be petitioned to remove the offender from the Meagan’s Law list. So, we insisted we wanted him registered and told them my daughter was willing to testify. The DA was very surprised. I found out later the defense attorney was telling the detective, etc that the perpetrator’s family were close family friends and we wouldn’t be cooperating with the authorities. The DA was doing down the path of least resistance.

    I found out later that if a child molestor serves out his probation and fulfills all of the other consequences AND has already petitioned to have his name removed from Meagan’s List, under CA law, he can have his record expunged 3 (it might be 4) years after his probation is finished.

    It is very important that victims and their families not go to the church for help, but instead go to the police and insist that the full measure of the law be applied. You might be called vindictive (lots of grace for the molestor, not so much for the victims), but the loving and right thing is that the perpetrator run into the brick wall of the law, not the marshmallowy embrace of the church. This kind of evil only gets darker when it isn’t stopped.

  108. one of the little people wrote:

    NJ wrote:
    “Even society recognizes that a perpetrator is highly likely to reoffend. That is why we have registries of sex offenders. I believe that every parent should be aware of the sex offenders in their neighborhood, churches, etc. So should churches. It is silly and dangerous to hide a potential problem. As I stated earlier, prison does not cure the psychiatric disorder. It merely punishes the crime. Jesus forgives the sin but the offenders must now live their lives openly, confessing their disorder, if they truly care about the safety of others. Ask why if they wouldn’t want to do this…”
    I discovered through our situation that, in California (I don’t know about other states), a child molestor can have his name removed from the registry if he has committed certain categories of crimes (my family’s situation was in one of those categories). Child molestation is considered a lesser crime than lewd acts on a child, so these perpetrators, I believe about 25% of abusers, can petition to have their names removed. Not only that, after they have served out their probation and paid their fines, they can, three years later, have their convictions expunged. This information isn’t widely known. My daughter’s molestor was on the Megan’s List registry for about a day and then was removed, even though he is convicted and had to ask for the judge’s permission to remain in his parents’ house as it is within 1000′ of a school.

    California has some of the most liberal expungment laws in the country; learned that from a retired attorney friend who was partner in a criminal firm and did a ton of them. Told me after a certain length of years, it was almost automatic.

  109. one of the little people wrote:

    You might be called vindictive (lots of grace for the molestor, not so much for the victims), but the loving and right thing is that the perpetrator run into the brick wall of the law, not the marshmallowy embrace of the church.

    Remember Boz’s testimony that he has NEVER seen a church take the side of the victim.
    ALWAYS the molestor.

  110. elastigirl wrote:

    My observation is that when there is a choice between ethics and one’s ministry career, a good many professional christians seem to be able to rationalize sacrificing ethics for the sake of their career/paycheck/significance, with a fair amount of ease.

    “Honor dies where Interest lies.”
    Kung Fu

  111. elastigirl wrote:

    speaking of paycheck, some churches pay so well and with so many perks it’s just too darn comfortable to be willing to sacrifice it for any reason.

    Yes, such as freedom from daily accountability M-F. This is a big one. Most younger pastors now have ample time to work on their online presence at pew sitter expense. Their actual duties not including home or hospital, etc visits. (Thanks Ed Setzer) That is a huge perk. Of course, most pew sitters are proud of having a well known pastor.

    (It is hard work rewording Piper sermons)

  112. Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    @ Deana Holmes (fka mirele):
    I endorse the article that OldJohnJ cites.. When I have taken the time to dig into the “science” that YEC’s cite/use, I usually have to pick my jaw off the floor… The level of missrepresentation and down right deceit is breathtaking.. they are counting on the reader to be scientifically ignorant.. …

    YEC doesn’t sound believable to me, & I am one of those whose knowledge of science ended with 10th grade biology. But, of course, I have been known to think for myslef on occasion…..something that the YECrs discourage at all costs.

  113. NJ wrote:

    The more I read about this problem, the more I wonder if it wouldn’t be kinder, more just, etc. to everyone (including the offenders themselves) to simply and speedily execute them upon conviction. I know that sounds draconian, and the standard of proof would have to be very high, but would it at least ease the minds of society that when caught, this molester and that rapist will literally be unable to ever do that again? How about the victims? Would there be a deterrent effect? Not that there’s much chance of passing such a law.

    The best suggestion that I ever heard came from a well-known (now-deceased) author of a crime novel. He said we should have one prison in the country devoted entirely to murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc. And there is no exit door. They lock you away & you are not getting out. Because you don’t have any way to get out. (I think he may have been inspired by the medieval custom of bricking the truly evil away, & passing them a meal a couple of times a day).
    And yes, the word “evil” was used. On network TV, no less. It sounded like a plan to me……

  114. siteseer wrote:

    I think the judge is in error thinking that the guy “went off” at some point. I don’t personally believe normal people can turn into what this man is. I would say he has always been this way and learned how to play the part of the Great Christian Guy in order to achieve his goals.

    Agreed.
    Some people seem to have been born with something missing–like a conscience. They go on & on destroying others because they WANT to. They enjoy it.

  115. Or, we could return to the practice of my Celtic ancestors, who gave to the victims of such a person, and to the victims’ families, a year to kill the offender, without legal penalties of any kind.
    But that was a long time ago, & we have gotten very, very softhearted to monsters. As opposed to victims, who are tormented endlessly by the “righteous”. (So-called).

  116. @ zooey111:
    I’m for keeping those who hurt others locked up. But I’m also for them receiving ministry. One reason people of my Church oppose the death penalty (unless there is no other safe option) is because it ends any chances for repentance.

    Here’s one example of Christian ministry done within prison:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5ZwPGRwp5U

  117. We cannot adequately watch all registered sex offenders much less keep watching for those we suspect while also keeping lists of prior offenders not on the lists and watching for them also. There are too many of them to do that. Just now I checked on the local registered sex offender list and there are 58 currently registered sex offenders within a three mile radius of my house, and I live in a ‘good’ part of town just on the edge of where some of the rich folks actually live, which speaks to population density in that three mile radius.

    I am thinking that one major reason why so many people do not seem to care about this issue is that they know somebody, or have a somebody as a family member or work associate, or themselves one of the somebodies on that list, or would be on some list if they were caught.

  118. zooey111 wrote:

    Or, we could return to the practice of my Celtic ancestors, who gave to the victims of such a person, and to the victims’ families, a year to kill the offender, without legal penalties of any kind.

    Or the Old Norse custom of “Outlawry” — the ultimate “Let Bubba Do It”.

    Once someone was declared “Outlaw”, anyone could maim or kill them without fear of prosecution.

  119. okrapod wrote:

    We cannot adequately watch all registered sex offenders much less keep watching for those we suspect while also keeping lists of prior offenders not on the lists and watching for them also. There are too many of them to do that.

    Many years ago, I heard that one of the signs a society is crumbling is they will pass law after law after law that are literally unenforceable. Just to show/congratulate themselves that They Are Doing Something.

  120. Christiane wrote:

    One reason people of my Church oppose the death penalty (unless there is no other safe option) is because it ends any chances for repentance.

    I would think that having a deadline (and in the US this is often a very long deadline) might in fact encourage repentance more than any other thing. It worked for the man on the cross next to Jesus and who hasn’t heard of deathbed confessions?

    I wouldn’t’ support the death penalty for that particular reason but I don’t think leaving someone to live out a long life in prison is any better encouragement for repentance.

  121. @ one of the little ones

    “This evil only gets darker if it isn’t stopped.”

    True. Other people have to stop abusers. They do not stop themselves.

    Professional law enforcement is more equipped to stop abusers than are church leaders and members.

  122. An abusive situation is confusing, frightening, and threatening. An abusive situation has the potenetial to turn lethal. People may not report because they know, much better than anyone outside the situation, that reporting may immediately endanger oneself or family members.

    Here’s one possbile resource for kids and teens.
    (Yes. I’m thinking of the kids and youth at High Point Church. If any of you can use an anonymous listening ear, people at this site are waiting for your call. Please know that people here, and probably others who know you, are praying for you to be safe, well, and abuse free.)

    https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/resources-kids/
    Resources for Kids
    What You Should Know

    CALL 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) then push 1 to talk to a hotline counselor. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline counselors work with translators who speak more than 200 languages to help callers who speak a language other than English. All calls are anonymous. (The hotline counselors don’t know who you are and you don’t have to tell them.)

    No one has the right to abuse you.

    You don’t deserve to be abused.

    If you are being abused, you are a victim.

    It’s not your fault that you are being treated this way.

    It is wrong that you are suffering this pain, fear or sadness.

    You are not alone. Other kids suffer abuse, too.

    Sometimes abusers scare or threaten kids so they won’t tell.

    There are people who care about you and want to help you.

    If you are being abused, please tell a safe person – that’s someone you can trust like a teacher, counselor, school nurse, neighbor or parent. You can also talk to a Childhelp hotline counselor.

    How to protect yourself from abuse.

    Do not be alone with anyone who hurts you.

    Listen to the little voice or gut feeling inside you when it says what is being done to you isn’t right.

    Find an adult you trust and tell them what is happening. If they don’t believe you, keep telling other adults until someone does believe you!

    The adult you speak to (perhaps a teacher or a neighbor) may want to tell the police or Child Protective Services about the person who is hurting you. If they don’t know the telephone number to call to make the report, they should call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and press 1 to speak with a hotline crisis counselor. The crisis counselor will give them the best number to call in your community.

    If you are too nervous or scared to tell someone you know about the abuse, but want it reported to the people who look into child abuse, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), then press 1. A Childhelp hotline counselor can make a three-way call so that you, the hotline counselor, and the person taking the report in your area are all on the telephone at the same time.

    Before you call to make the report, the hotline counselor can tell you what may happen after a report of abuse is made.

    A lot of people don’t realize it, but every day in the United States thousands of kids are abused. That adds up to millions of kids each year. More than 3.3 million in fact.
    Often children and teens are abused by the people who are closest to them like family, friends, sitters, neighbors and sometimes even teachers and coaches. These are the very people that children should feel the safest with.

    You are not alone. If you need help or have questions about child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) then push 1 to talk to a counselor. The hotline counselors are available 365 days a year to help kids, and adults who are worried about kids they suspect are being abused. You can call this number if you live in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    There WILL NOT be a charge for the call on your telephone bill if you use a regular phone or a pay phone. If you use a mobile phone or cell phone, there may be a charge and it may show up on the telephone bill. (Don’t use a mobile or cell phone if you want to be sure your call is a secret.) Do not make prank calls to the hotline. This will tie up the phones and keep us from talking to someone who really needs help right away.

  123. one of the little people wrote:

    It is very important that victims and their families not go to the church for help, but instead go to the police and insist that the full measure of the law be applied. You might be called vindictive (lots of grace for the molestor, not so much for the victims), but the loving and right thing is that the perpetrator run into the brick wall of the law, not the marshmallowy embrace of the church. This kind of evil only gets darker when it isn’t stopped.

    Your experience is so important to share. Thank you! May God truly heal your precious daughter and your family.

  124. one of the little people wrote:

    It is very important that victims and their families not go to the church for help, but instead go to the police and insist that the full measure of the law be applied. You might be called vindictive (lots of grace for the molestor, not so much for the victims), but the loving and right thing is that the perpetrator run into the brick wall of the law, not the marshmallowy embrace of the church.

    Remember Boz T.
    How in all his years as prosecutor specializing in child sexual abuse cases, he NEVER saw a church take the side of the victim. NEVER.
    Always “RALLY ROUND THE PEDO, BOYS!”

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