Is Child Sex Abuse More Prevalent Among Protestants Than Among Catholics?

"Are Protestants concealing a Catholic-size sexual abuse scandal?"

New Republic Magazine

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=132928&picture=no-trespassingNo Trespassing


WARNING!!! 

This post and the articles that will be highlighted contains disturbing and triggering information.


Silence is definitely not golden when it comes to the sexual abuse of children (or anyone else for that matter!). We are so grateful that child sex abuse has been the focus of several articles that recently appeared in online media. One such article was published by New Republic, a journal that has been tackling critical issues for over 100 years. These journalists discuss complex issues and take a stand with the intention of bringing about change.

On June 20, 2017, New Republic featured an eye-opening article entitled The Silence of the Lambs, which focuses on abuses that occurred for decades in the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE).

FYI – it was five years ago yesterday that Dee provided a timeline of events in the life of Dr. Donn Ketcham, who is the focus of the New Republic piece. it might be helpful to take a quick look at Dee's post An Unholy and Despicable Coverup of Pedophilia by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism before reading further. In that post Dee wrote:

One of the most well-documented cases of  pedophilia on the mission field comes from a group of brave and dedicated adult missionary kids who were abused by a doctor in Bangladesh. This story is  the cause of my 4th of July pacing. I am outraged by the incredibly stupid, unloving, and un-Christian responses by the leaders of  ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism).

The Silence of the Lambs article goes into great detail regarding Dr. Donn Ketcham and his sexual improprieties with a young innocent girl. Kathryn Joyce has done an excellent job of retelling this horrific story. According to the article, Donn Ketcham's father co-founded the Baptist denomination that was sponsoring the missionary group, called the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). Joyce goes on to explain:

https://newrepublic.com/article/142999/silence-lambs-protestants-concealing-catholic-size-sexual-abuse-scandal

Its goal was to create a “militant, missionary-minded, Biblically separate haven of Fundamentalism.” Little known outside the world of Christian fundamentalists, ABWE is among the largest missionary groups in the United States, deploying more than 900 Baptists to 70 countries. His father’s legacy made Ketcham a sort of prince within the world of ABWE: the doctor with the “magical name,” as one missionary later put it, much beloved by the family of churches that supported the group. He’d been the undisputed patriarch of the Bangladesh mission for almost three decades.

Rather than summarizing what occurred between Dr. Donn Ketcham and a missionary kid (MK) named Kim James, we encourage you to read the detailed account for yourself at this link

Ketcham groomed and then sexually violated Kim when she was just 13. Katryn Joyce explains:

the potential for sexual abuse is actually exacerbated by the core identity of fundamentalist groups like ABWE. Like Catholics, fundamentalists preach strict obedience to religious authority. Sex is not only prohibited outside of marriage, but rarely discussed. These overlapping dynamics of silence and submission make conservative Christians a ripe target for sexual predators. As one convicted child abuser tells clinical psychologist Anna Salter in her book Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders, “Church people are easy to fool.”

The New Republic further states:

Over the past five years, in fact, it has become increasingly clear—even to some conservative Christians—that fundamentalist churches face a widespread epidemic of sexual abuse and institutional denial that could ultimately involve more victims than the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church. In 2012, an investigation at Bob Jones University, known as the “fortress of fundamentalism,” revealed that the school had systematically covered up allegations of sexual assault and counseled victims to forgive their attackers. Sovereign Grace, a network of “neo-Calvinist” churches, has been facing multiple allegations of child molestation and sexual abuse. In 2014, a New Republic investigation found that school officials at Patrick Henry College, a popular destination for Christian homeschoolers, had routinely responded to rape and harassment claims by treating perpetrators with impunity, discouraging women from going to the police, and blaming them for dressing immodestly.

The article also calls attention to allegations of sexual misconduct involving Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, and Josh Duggar (all of which we have previously covered here at TWW).

The following excerpt was especially alarming:

The scale of potential abuse is huge. Evangelical Protestants far outnumber Catholics in the United States, with more than 280,000 churches, religious schools, and affiliated organizations. In 2007, the three leading insurance companies that provide coverage for the majority of Protestant institutions said they received an average of 260 reports per year of child sexual abuse at the hands of church leaders and members. By contrast, the Catholic Church was reporting 228 “credible accusations” per year.

According to the article, Boz Tchividjian, a former child sex-abuse prosecutor, the grandson of Billy Graham, and a very good friend of the Deebs, stated:

“Protestants have responded much worse than the Catholics to this issue…One of the reasons is that, like it or not, the Catholics have been forced, through three decades of lawsuits, to address this issue. We’ve never been forced to deal with it on a Protestant-wide basis.”

As most of our readers know, Boz Tchividjian founded an organization called GRACE, (Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment) in order to investigate and expose sexual abuse in evangelical churches.

Boz went on to explain:

The authoritarianism that often prevails in fundamentalist circles is what sets the stage for widespread abuse—and for the systematic mishandling of reported cases. When you have so much concentrated authority, in so few fallible individuals, problems percolate. And when they do, they’re not often addressed. Because the leaders who hold all the authority decide what to do with them.

The New Republic article goes on to reveal:

– how terribly Kim James was treated by ABWE leaders

– that Kim tried (unsuccessfully) to commit suicide on several occasions

– that Donn Ketcham was a serial molester

– that Boz Tchividjian's organization was hired to investigate and fired two weeks before it was to publish its report


Another online news service, The Daily Banter, just published a similar article entitled Conservative Christianity Has Enabled Pedophiles For Decades.  After reading the New Republic article as well as many of the posts we have written, does anyone doubt this? 

Here is the Tweet that was sent out encouraging followers to read this Daily Banter article.

The endless cover-ups mean they can abuse children with impunity and never pay the price.

This article, written by Justin Rosario, has the following subtitle:

"The endless cover-ups mean they can abuse children with impunity and never pay the price."

Here is how Rosario begins his article:

Stop me if you've heard this before: A deeply religious man, beloved by his church/community, targets and grooms a young child for sexual abuse. The child tells an adult and they report it to the elders of the church. The church investigates the abuse and then sweeps it all under the rug. The deeply religious man is never reported to the police, the victim is blamed for seducing the man, and the man goes on to molest many other children, leaving a trail of scarred families in his wake.

I am sick to my stomach reading this! Why are we allowing this to happen over and over and over again?

Rosario then poses a question and attempts to come up with answers:

Why do the most pious always seem to be the most prone to this kind of problem? Two reasons come to mind. The first is that they tend to be incredibly authoritarian. Conservatives defer to those in power and conservative Christians even more so. Add to that mix the fundamentalist demand for blind obedience and you have all the ingredients for disaster…

The Daily Banter article calls attention to Kathyrn Joyce's article published by New Republic and recounts some of what was shared there.  The concluding paragraph of The Daily Banter piece is as follows:

Kim's story doesn't have a happy ending. Yet. Following 22 years of self harm and deep psychological damage, the full story came out in an extensive investigation. After years of being lied to by their church, Kim's parents didn't understand why their daughter was so damaged. Even Kim still blamed herself for the actions of a monster as well as her parents for not helping her. Now that it's all out in the open and Kim finally understands that she was a victim like so many other women, there's a chance for her and her family to heal. If only all of the victims of conservative Christianity were so lucky…


So when will child sex abuse at the hands of 'so-called' Christian leaders end? When each one of us refuses to remain silent. We MUST involve the proper authorities because these are criminal acts!  Please, please, if you know of a child who has been sexually abused, do the godly thing and notify the police!

Hopefully, those children that we collectively help will some day be able to sing this song (changing the lyrics to fit their particular circumstance) with confidence.


Comments

Is Child Sex Abuse More Prevalent Among Protestants Than Among Catholics? — 143 Comments

  1. My God, even ONE case of the sexual abuse of a child would be too many. The destruction this kind of abuse causes lasts a life time.

    But if we rate which faith community has the worst problem, perhaps we might better determine it by examining incidences of the concealment of abuse and the protection of the abuser by authorities in a community . . . . because out of that shielding, a perpetrator has ‘protection’ to continue abusing.

    In that kind of situation, the ‘continuation’ of abusing is on the heads of the authorities who ‘looked away’ or transferred the perpetrator into another situation where he/she could continue abusing.

  2. Second…

    In answer to the question: I don’t know, and if I did the answer would be distracting rather than useful. I mean, we don’t need to do anything to protect children because you have a worse problem. (I know that’s precisely the point Deb was making.)

    A more important question for church people is: what is it that makes church people easy to fool?

    Whatever the numbers of individual cases, I suspect the underlying cultural problem is worse in protestant circles because of the sheer number of different organisations onto which any one faction can deflect blame. OK, so, maybe it’s not just the romish popists. But it still isn’t us – it’s the charismatics / fundagelicals / homeschoolists / postmillennialists / anyoneButUs. It takes a village to abuse a child, and the enabling mindset that says the short-term reputation of our sect is the primary goal, and what’s good for us is good for Jesus so he’d better just learn to lump it, is the real problem.

  3. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    the enabling mindset … is the real problem

    Well, to clarify, it obviously isn’t in one sense: the end product of predatory abuse is the problem. But the enabling mindset is what makes abuse possible and even easy.

    I attended an interesting presentation by a cyber-security firm last week. The point he made was that although an organisation does need security firewalls etc, the phishing scams and ransomware attacks we’ve seen lately all happen because
     a naive member of staff clicks on an email attachment, or
     a disgruntled member of staff compromises the system deliberately, or
     administrative passwords are circulated around IT support people because it’s quicker for them if they circumvent security controls in the course of their daily jobs, or
     similar.

    IOW, the company’s staff are the weak link in its cyber-security. By analogy, it’s easy to publish child-protection policies and talk about how biblical your own particular para-church denominational faction is. It’s not so easy when it’s your mate, or your local hero, who is facing allegations. I’m a big fan of the truism that everyone deserves a fair trial, that must by definition be preceded by a fair and unbiased investigation. But a coverup is neither of those things.

  4. When a “Christian leader” like Albert Mohler can stand on a stage in front of a crowd of 10,000 adoring fans (mostly men and many pastors) and make jokes about the information found on the internet concerning C.J. Mahaney to the raucous delight of the crowd, you know Evangelicalism has serious flaws as it relates to the sexual abuse of children.

    =====================================================

    “When Al Mohler introduced C.J. Mahaney at this conference yesterday, he affirmed that even the Reformed have joined the corporate evangelical industrial complex.

    That complex is concerned only with the well being of the leadership, and only with the top of that pecking order.

    In introducing Mahaney he introduced with approval a man who is implicated in the largest sexual abuse scandal in evangelicalism in our time.

    He did so with approval and without a hint of censure.

    Mohlers introduction wasn’t just intended to bring Mahaney to the microphone…it sent two other messages.

    The first message was to the protestors outside the building and online.

    That message was that these leaders do not care about either the protests or the victims they represent.

    Period.

    Evidently, the “tenth mark of a healthy church” is that the leaders have no conscience.

    The second message was to those inside the hall…the 8000 from all over the world who came together under these leaders.

    That message was that Mahaney is one of our own and you will accept him as one of your leaders.

    They willingly acceded to the tyranny in hopes of being a tyrant one day themselves or lest their current tyranny be exposed and they need powerful friends.

    This…is the modern template of what it means to be a “Reformed pastor”.

    Richard Baxter and Jesus wept together.”

    “Reign of Tyrants”
    Phoenix Preacher
    http://michaelnewnham.com/?p=25237

  5. Loren Haas wrote:

    hard to understand

    Early on in the litigation process with the Catholic Church, one of the attorneys representing victims (a Catholic himself – might have been Jeff Anderson?) said that the only way to stop the practice of just moving the priests to a different parish, rather than deal with the problem of pedophile priests, was to hit it (the institution) in the pocketbook. Thus, the necessity for large settlements, to halt the evil.

  6. I don’t think it makes sense to lump all the “Protestants” together–their churches are simply too different. It would be interesting to learn whether child sexual abuse is more prevalent among conservative churches than liberal ones, or among centralized denominations vs. decentralized ones, etc., but I can’t imagine how we could ever get good data on this.

  7. “This means that if you observe or receive any credible report of such abuse, your first and immediate action must be to contact law enforcement officials without delay. If you are ever in doubt of the proper authorities to call, just dial 911 and make your report as quickly and clearly as possible.

    Since we update our policies regularly in light of best practices, I had been fairly certain that our Seminary policy, published in our handbook and documents was adequate. Upon review, we found that it was not. The policy called for any employee of the Seminary who witnessed such abuse or received such a report to report the abuse to his or her supervisor. Plainly, this is not enough.

    The very day this was discovered we changed the policy to require that employees first contact law enforcement officials, then their supervisor.
    I am writing now to the entire Southern Seminary and Boyce College family in order to remind all of us – not just Seminary employees – of our moral and legal responsibility.”

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/11/18/my-letter-to-the-southern-seminary-community-our-duty-to-report/

  8. ION: Cricket

    And it’s not good from an England POV. England won the toss and batted, and lost two early wickets. We may’ve lost more.

    IHTIH

  9. Very distressing, uncomfortable to read of Kim’s sexual assaults. Sickening.

    I’d never heard of this Baptist missionary group. Have always held medical missionaries with such high regards, which I’ve come to realize over time, is part of the sexual abuse problem.

    Abusers look for prey. No organization is exempt from them hiding out in it. What is soooo hard to accept is them hiding out in the church, Christian organizations, right under our noses.

    It is important to remember that it’s not Christianity which causes sexual abuse of children, but rather predators using a closed system of authority, to get away with such atrocities.

    God help us to not tolerate anyone, or any system , which embraces a closed accountability platform. God help us to be very sensitive to any warning signs of abuse, especially in the midst of our Church associations.

  10. Authoritarianism with no oversight and no accountability. Combined with closed communities and elders/pastors imbued with the belief and/or delusion they have command given by the almighty himself and boom, let the abuse begin.

    Many of the evangelical churches are not affiliated with any national organization. This exacerbates the issue. The RC churches are controlled by an RC mother church, makes it easier to sue.

    From what I understand, it’s not just evangelical closed communities. I’ve heard abuse is also endemic within non evangelical closed communities like the Amish.

  11. I experienced a scandal at my KJV church where my Sunday School teacher had a thing going with the pastor’s granddaughter.

    The authorities were called and he had to go through the legal process. I’m not sure what became of him, but I’ll never forget seeing his mugshot on the TV followed by pictures of our church.

    So the girl’s other grandmother told him in no uncertain terms that if he EVER set foot in that church again, he could expect public humiliation. The pastor went into “it’s no big deal” mode, especially when we learned that the perp’s brother, our paid youth pastor, knew that this guy had a history of pervy behavior. Pastor didn’t want to fire him because of the guy’s kids.

    The pastor’s sister and deacon husband quit church in favor of home fellowship over the namby pamby attitude of her pastor brother. In their minds, sex abuse is unforgivable and warrants a special kind of outrage. Many of us followed suit.

    I was attracted to this church because of the integrity of the people there, which came through in that crisis.

    Also, we didn’t have a “dear leader” complex about leadership. I had no problem telling the pastor off when he accused me of being a gossip for knowing what was going on. I was correctly taught in that church that no one was in a special class of Christians and everyone is equal before God.

    I wish I could find another church like it without the pervert, but I’m now convinced of the words of Vernon McGee- ” the church began in the home and will end in the home.”

  12. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    In answer to the question: I don’t know, and if I did the answer would be distracting rather than useful. I mean, we don’t need to do anything to protect children because you have a worse problem

    I agree Nick.

    Let’s fix all the problems! We know the catholic church has a problem that needs fixing. Because protestant churches are different in structure and hierarchy (or lack thereof), the solutions may be different in some ways.

    The general solution, though, is to care more about children than predators and institutions. THAT is the crux of it for me.

  13. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    administrative passwords are circulated around IT support people because it’s quicker for them if they circumvent security controls in the course of their daily jobs,

    We did this at an old job. Yes, it was probably very unsecure, but most of our problems came from people opening bad emails on their personal email (one site had to be banned).

  14. In an atmosphere of strict obedience to religious authority, anything can happen. I teach my grandchildren to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind … and love your neighbor as yourself.” Then I caution: You can always trust God, but you can’t always trust your neighbor – keep a close eye on your “neighbor” both in and out of the church – report them to your parents if they get weird, including the preacher! Sad, but that’s the way it has become in this thing we call “church” … whether it be Catholic or Protestant, evil can slither in.

  15. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    When a “Christian leader” like Albert Mohler can stand on a stage in front of a crowd of 10,000 adoring fans (mostly men and many pastors) and make jokes about the information found on the internet concerning C.J. Mahaney …

    Mohler is bullet-proof. He can say and do anything he wants to in SBC without correction and rebuke from SBC leaders – it’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen!

  16. Loren Haas wrote:

    So what part of “who should cause a child to stumble” is so hard to understand?

    There are some leaders in the Calvinists crowd who need to carefully reflect on this passage.

  17. Brent wrote:

    Upon review, we found that it was not. The policy called for any employee of the Seminary who witnessed such abuse or received such a report to report the abuse to his or her supervisor. Plainly, this is not enough.
    The very day this was discovered we changed the policy to require that employees first contact law enforcement officials, then their supervisor.

    The Jerry Sandusky scandal involved one witness who reported this to supervisors who didn’t report it to authorities. http://www.businessinsider.com/mike-mcqueary-is-suing-penn-state-for-defamation-2016-10

  18. Over a period of the better part of a century I have been first southern baptist then free will baptist then methodist and now episcopalian and I have yet to see what you all are describing as strict obedience to religious authority. I don’t know how to explain that except for the old derivation which ends up as one sees what one looks for and one looks for what one knows to look for. That may be the answer, but it seems sort of weak as an answer, because if this obedience to religious authority is that hard to see, then how can it be some broad answer to this issue?

    I am having a problem with just how much of an answer this may be. Now if you want to add the issue of dependency needs for some people who may cast religious authority structures in a different light than some, perhaps that is part of it. But then somebody will talk about victim blaming and I am not going there. Or deception? That may be part of it.

    I am not arguing here; I am asking. How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it?

  19. JYJames wrote:

    @ Jack:
    Yes.
    And, the subordination of women. Gender inequality.

    That is a strong consideration for sure because females are already degraded. Still, we know boys are targets too, and secular institutions also have sexual offenders in their midst. There isn’t rampant gender inequality in most secular organizations.

    Am of the mindset if children are in any grouping, be it religious, secular or female led, they are at risk.

  20. Mae wrote:

    That is a strong consideration for sure because females are already degraded. Still, we know boys are targets too

    I think there is a mindset that children and women are ‘beneath’ men that contributes to the problem.

  21. Lea wrote:

    The general solution, though, is to care more about children than predators and institutions. THAT is the crux of it for me.

    Yep. If you look at just about every abuse situation and the subsequent cover up in any denomination (or any institution, for that matter), it all boils down to a basic human instinct to CYA. People are more concerned about reputation than the abused.

  22. okrapod wrote:

    I have yet to see what you all are describing as strict obedience to religious authority. … How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it?

    I have never been part of an overly authoritarian church, although I attended Dever’s for a while and never felt anything like pressure. But I didn’t join either. And I attend a church with elders now and although there are a lot of committees to get things done, they don’t tell you what to do. So for me, no.

    I honestly think the problems with abuse have more to do with social pressure, protecting individuals (pastors/priests/youth directors/bob’s son/what have you), and protecting the institution of that particular church. But they stem from some deeper problem, where the men in these situations seem to be more ‘valued’ than the women or children. At least that’s my impression. There is also some issues with sin leveling/forgive this person that might stem from doctrine? But then again, that doctrine might just be an excuse to protect, again, individuals and institutions.

    I think the answering is one of value.

  23. I also think having a policy in place to properly handle abuse situations when they do happen isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if it’s not actually followed. I think we should think in terms of danger-proofing our children as well as danger-proofing our churches. Teach even young kids about good touch vs bad touch and about “tricky adults.” Things like that. Make your children an abuser’s worst nightmare should they ever be targeted.

  24. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Teach even young kids about good touch vs bad touch and about “tricky adults.” Things like that.

    Yes. And if your kid, or another kid, or an adult, gets a bad vibe from someone, pay attention!

  25. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    I also think having a policy in place to properly handle abuse situations when they do happen isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if it’s not actually followed. I think we should think in terms of danger-proofing our children as well as danger-proofing our churches. Teach even young kids about good touch vs bad touch and about “tricky adults.” Things like that. Make your children an abuser’s worst nightmare should they ever be targeted.

    Absolutely.
    And reinforce in your children/gchildren they can share any subject with you, even if it’s about a friend, teacher, older cousin and so on.

  26. Danger proofing churches is a must.

    Years ago we had an Awana club meet at our church. The game and exercise time was being conducted by one young adult male, while others had a break. He was alone in a back room with the children. I objected to the practice. At first I got a lot of flack because the leader was a "good Christian kid" and wouldn't harm children, etc. Thankfully, others agreed there should be another adult present. We set up and practiced new rules about nursery workers, bathroom practices, children never being alone with one adult and so on. It did hurt some people's feelings but as far as I know, there was never any sexual abuse that took place. We can do more then just write up policy, we must enforce policy and teach the children about abuse.

  27. okrapod wrote:

    I am not arguing here; I am asking. How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it?

    Yes, we experienced it when our daughter was excommunicated from a “Bible Church” for leaving her abusive husband. They did not deny that she might have “biblical grounds” to leave him, but they insisted that she had to have their permission to do so, and they were NOT granting that permission.

  28. okrapod wrote:

    How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it?

    I grew up an Anglican (Episcopalian in the U.S.) and did not experience abuse or even authoritarian leadership. This was in the seventies and eighties. It was a smaller church – few hundred people – in a small town. The one failing in hindsight is the church had no safety policies and ran on trust. It was a different time and I don’t think anyone had those policies in place.

    As an adult, in my evangelical experience, I did not experience abuse beyond it being pointed out that I was not a christian because blah blah blah.

    However I found the church to be very “follow the leadership”, especially after they went through the “purpose driven” program. This is why I never became fully invested or became a member so who knows what went on beyond the Sunday service?

    The governance model of that church certainly leads itself to the potential for abuse should an authoritarian pastor be hired. The one scandal involving the Executive Pastor’s inappropriate relationship involving another church member was very hush hush. That pastor went on to become a college president. Definite warning bells as far as accountability goes.

  29. Mae wrote:

    It did hurt some people’s feelings but as far as I know, there was never any sexual abuse that took place. We can do more then just write up policy, we must enforce policy and teach the children about abuse.

    Good call Mae. This is not about feelings or the ethereal clap-trap predators use to their advantage in stalking their prey. It is about the protection of children.

  30. Off topic, but SBC’ers might want to watch the shooting war begin on both SBCVoices and SBCToday. The trads declared themselves “loyal opposition” a few posts down on SBCToday, and the Neo Puritan New Cavinists at Voices are throwing a hissy fit.

    In trying to understand the new Calvinists I was reading today from Matt. 6, reading the references in a Matthew Henry Bible, and nonNeoCalvinist newer Calvinist Bible, and the ESV Study Bible. The first two, when Jesus said not to do your alms or fasting publicly, had notes that backed that idea up. The last affirmed PUBLIC almsgiving and fasting but making sure it was not to garner human applause.

    Um, what part of “NO” did they not get when Jesus spoke? There is no way to disobey for a good cause. Seed of protecting the public leader right there.

    Tread carefully with them, folks, or better yet don’t go there.

    As to this topic? The Amish struggle with abuse, the RCC does, and so does every denom. Personally don’t see either Protestants or Catholics as stellar in this area.

  31. @ linda:
    I’m an SBCer ……. been reading both sites. But, I won’t comment. Dave Miller will just delete anything I post, anyway ……. bad enough that I’m a female ……..

  32. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    your own particular para-church denominational faction

    One of the reasons Protestant church discipline in place of reporting/prosecuting, in addition to being illegal, is ineffective. Catholic coverer-uppers generally need to transfer the perp to a new parish, but the Protestant perp can stay in the same parish and simply transfer himself to a new, unsuspecting faction.

  33. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Make your children an abuser’s worst nightmare should they ever be targeted.

    This.
    There are predators in all walks of life. We need to inform and educate our kids (age appropriate) so that they can take a stand and protect themselves.

  34. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    @ linda:
    I’m an SBCer ……. been reading both sites. But, I won’t comment. Dave Miller will just delete anything I post, anyway ……. bad enough that I’m a female ……..

    I can’t even visit either site anymore. Blocked on both. I no longer consider myself SBC even though I am still on the rolls as one. In truth, I trust neither group, and my life is better off outside the denomination and church.

    Concerning the topic, RCC nor Protestants are honest and truthful of any sort of sexual sin. Child abuse, adultery, etc. An eye-opener for a 14 year was when our RA basketball coach/ director ran-off with a lady from the church. ( RA basketball is/was a big deal in SBC Texas)….The entire thing was swept under the rug, and even some tried to blame the RA boys for not realizing what he was about to do….We didn’t have a clue? Once again typical church, we need a scapegoat.

  35. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    I also believe, after going through a sexual abuse situation in my former church, that all adults, 18 and over, must be mandated reporters and should be prosecuted if they violate this law. It would be nice to think that Christians would do the right thing in child sexual abuse situations without being forced to. They won’t, most of them. The combination of arrogance and ignorance is deadly to victims and their families. Make mandatory reporters out of all adults in the US and do away with statute of limitations. Being sued and locked up for ignoring the plight of victims will change the culture of covering up sexual abuse.

  36. @ one of the little people:

    In my situation the church leaders actually debated whether or not it was mandatory to report and pressured me not to seek professional counseling for my child as the counselor refused to meet with us unless we provided her with the name of the abuser. The leaders’ solution? They’d counsel her. Sickened me then. Sickens me now.

  37. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Make your children an abuser’s worst nightmare should they ever be targeted.

    This.
    There are predators in all walks of life. We need to inform and educate our kids (age appropriate) so that they can take a stand and protect themselves.

    It is more complicated than this. 90% of sexual abuse is by someone the family trusts. It’s the person you’d never expect. Children no matter how educated and aware can still be abused. My own child was 14 and the adult son of close family friends assaulted her while she was sleeping. She was so terrified and shocked that she kept it secret for months and only revealed when I read her diary. This is a typical response of victims of abuse.

    Yes, our children must be educated, but education will not protect them from a manipulative, lying, trusted predator, especially in a Christian environment or one where they have an expectation of safety. My daughter’s abuser assaulted her right under my nose. I have taught my children all the right things, but when the time came, the trauma of being abused by someone she trusted so much short circuited all of the training.

  38. Mae wrote:

    It did hurt some people’s feelings but as far as I know, there was never any sexual abuse that took place. We can do more then just write up policy, we must enforce policy and teach the children about abuse.

    You were right to point out a problem, and kudos to your church for following through!

    A lot of churches now use outside organizations to design programs that cover facility safety, background screening, procedures, etc. One company I have heard of is SafeChurch. That is not an endorsement; I mention this in case anybody is curious about such a company.

    Some independent churches, multi-campus megas, and denominations try to do everything without any outside influences or scrutiny. Openness to help from others is a sign of health, I think.

  39. Friend wrote:

    A lot of churches now use outside organizations to design programs that cover facility safety, background screening, procedures, etc.

    that would be much more reassuring than an authoritarian mega with its own police force which does not answer to legal authorities within the town or borough

  40. one of the little people wrote:

    Make mandatory reporters out of all adults in the US and do away with statute of limitations. Being sued and locked up for ignoring the plight of victims will change the culture of covering up sexual abuse.

    I am with you on this. Sadly, law enforcement in some areas will still do nothing if these laws are broken, particularly if they happen to have a friendly relationship with the church in question. My former church kept at least two situations under wraps (one for a whole year!) while they “ministered to the situation.” The local DA’s response was that the church was “fully cooperating” with the investigation. No one was ever charged with failing to report, and ministers are mandated reporters in my state.

    This is why I prefer to be proactive in protecting my kids. But, I’m not arguing with you or your experience at all. I just won’t blindly trust a church or even local law enforcement to do the right thing. Don’t however, allow my jaded perspective to affect your activism. You have my deepest respect.

  41. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    I do not believe universal reporting laws will fix the problem, but I do believe it will help sway those who want to do the right thing, but aren’t sure. I know in my case it would have helped relieve some of the unbearable pressure we were under. If all adults are mandated reporters, there’s no debate.

  42. one of the little people wrote:

    If all adults are mandated reporters, there’s no debate.

    Absolutely. You would never have had to listen to church people try to convince you to let the church handle it. And one excellent outcome about having all churches brought up to speed on mandated reporting is that we should never have to listen to a church play dumb and say “we didn’t know” like mine did. (insert eye roll emoji)

  43. okrapod wrote:

    I am not arguing here; I am asking. How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it

    A good honest question!! Thank you.

    Yes, my husband & I have unfortunately experienced it first hand in 2 churches. One was an Evangelical Free Church & one was a North American Baptist Church. These occurred in between 1983-1993. Both of them had a very conservative, Elder & Pastor Rule type of governance.

    Our pastors encouraged everyone to consider him as the “Daddy of the Church” (his words)….and to defer to his wisdom. It is another story as to why we ever attended the church at all)

    My husband was the President of the Elder board in 1 church & on the elder board at the other church, so we did see this firsthand.

    In 1 church, the youth pastor was the offender. After he was caught, his father (a pastor) & the District Superintendent both pleaded for us to not reveal what had happened. There was a County Sheriff’s deputy on the Elder Board at the time, even he went along with the cover-up that was eventually concocted.

    This youth pastor did not face any legal charges & was not reported to his seminary or the denomination which issued his licence.

    He molested 8 junior high boys.

    We tried with out results to get charges brought against him. We finally left the church as we were publically named as “bad guys” who couldn’t practice “Christian Forgiveness”. We were ostracized as not having the “name of the Church” as our first priority….

    some of the attacks were quite vicious as well as personal.

    In both cases, the congregation, with less than 2% disagreement, voted to keep the offenders in their positions.

    They just blindly say “Pastors are anointed by God” and “touch not the Lord’s Anointed”.
    …….

    2 of the 8 boys later committed suicide.

    I still feel sick when I think about it.

  44. @ Molly245:
    That is horrific. People who ‘let off’ sex offenders in this way are absolute fools. The
    research done on those who have sexual feelings towards children & young people is very dark about their potential for change, as well as their potential for self-deception, let alone deceiving others.

    And it does result in the victims lives being ruined, they are re-victimised by the crimes against them being unpunished, & some of them just can’t live with this.

  45. okrapod wrote:

    Over a period of the better part of a century I have been first southern baptist then free will baptist then methodist and now episcopalian and I have yet to see what you all are describing as strict obedience to religious authority. I don’t know how to explain that except for the old derivation which ends up as one sees what one looks for and one looks for what one knows to look for. That may be the answer, but it seems sort of weak as an answer, because if this obedience to religious authority is that hard to see, then how can it be some broad answer to this issue?

    I am having a problem with just how much of an answer this may be. Now if you want to add the issue of dependency needs for some people who may cast religious authority structures in a different light than some, perhaps that is part of it. But then somebody will talk about victim blaming and I am not going there. Or deception? That may be part of it.

    I am not arguing here; I am asking. How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it?

    I was in an Assemblies of God church that was taken over by the New Apostolic Reformation. They believe that a church that does not have an apostle and prophet at its head is out of alignment and that those who oppose the authoritarian structure are working under a religious spirit. A body that is out of alignment cannot function properly in their belief system. I left the church, but still have friends there.

  46. Beakerj wrote:

    @ Molly245:

    And it does result in the victims lives being ruined, they are re-victimised by the crimes against them being unpunished, & some of them just can’t live with this.

    Even more so when their faith community turns against the victims and their families.

  47. @ Molly245:

    Your story is heart breaking. I recently read an article about Cardinal Pell of Australia. In one 4th year class of 33 boys, 12 committed suicide after being abused. The church, Catholic or not, should feel the full weight of shame for covering up the abuse and protection of sexual predators.

  48. Lea wrote:

    one of the little people wrote:
    90% of sexual abuse is by someone the family trusts.
    And often it is family itself, sadly.

    By the family members is truth….

  49. Beakerj wrote:

    @ Molly245:
    That is horrific. People who ‘let off’ sex offenders in this way are absolute fools. The
    research done on those who have sexual feelings towards children & young people is very dark about their potential for change, as well as their potential for self-deception, let alone deceiving others.
    And it does result in the victims lives being ruined, they are re-victimised by the crimes against them being unpunished, & some of them just can’t live with this.

    We also knew a family where the son committed suicide. He never told anybody of the abuse. Years later when the RC scandal broke in the Boston MA. area, his former priest was exposed as a molester. The poor man then killed himself. Awful.

  50. Beakerj wrote:

    @ Molly245:
    That is horrific. People who ‘let off’ sex offenders in this way are absolute fools. The
    research done on those who have sexual feelings towards children & young people is very dark about their potential for change, as well as their potential for self-deception, let alone deceiving others.
    And it does result in the victims lives being ruined, they are re-victimised by the crimes against them being unpunished, & some of them just can’t live with this.

    It is horrific; thank you….I have followed this man on Facebook for as many years as FB has been in existence; he has a public FB page….

    He recently became a grandfather of a young boy who was born to his step daughter…..

    I feel frantic with worry when I think about that child.

  51. one of the little people wrote:

    @ Molly245:
    Your story is heart breaking. I recently read an article about Cardinal Pell of Australia. In one 4th year class of 33 boys, 12 committed suicide after being abused. The church, Catholic or not, should feel the full weight of shame for covering up the abuse and protection of sexual predators.

    Thank you for your kind comments. I know the church will bear the blame and the shame eventually. But it is still very hard for us; we feel we should have done much more. Maybe gone over the Pastor’s head and publicized it or something. We were pretty young; it was hard to fight against men much older than us.

  52. @ Molly245:

    I think what I’ve learned from our experience is that none of us is really prepared when we first encounter this evil in the church because it’s not something we ever expected to find there; however, victims and their families more than anything need people who will stand with them, especially as they stand in opposition to a church body, usually made up of people they care for and trust. We can learn from the experience in humility and become an advocate for them. Very few people are speaking out against this evil. I believe if enough of us will refuse to be silent, the church will repent. We have learned that we cannot be silent. We’ve seen the consequences of this evil up close and I use the word evil purposefully.

  53. one of the little people wrote:

    I believe if enough of us will refuse to be silent, the church will repent. We have learned that we cannot be silent.

    Very wise words, thank you….

    I’m not sure I have enough faith to believe that the church will repent, but at least more people will be warned of this evil.

  54. Molly245 wrote:

    I’m not sure I have enough faith to believe that the church will repent, but at least more people will be warned of this evil.

    Yes.

    More people on their guard at least.

    Hit the churches hard when this stuff happens. Bad pr, exposure, money, jail time..whatever it takes to learn the lesson.

  55. @ Molly245:

    This breaks my heart! I am so sorry that this was not handled properly. How awful for the boys and their families, especially the two who committed suicide. 🙁

  56. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    @ linda:
    I’m an SBCer ……. been reading both sites. But, I won’t comment. Dave Miller will just delete anything I post, anyway ……. bad enough that I’m a female ……..

    Nancy agree with Dave and not be a woman and bingo you get to post there.

  57. In my state, California, clergy are mandated reporters. I am thankful that my current church takes the law seriously.

  58. Max wrote:

    In an atmosphere of strict obedience to religious authority, anything can happen. I teach my grandchildren to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind … and love your neighbor as yourself.” Then I caution: You can always trust God, but you can’t always trust your neighbor – keep a close eye on your “neighbor” both in and out of the church – report them to your parents if they get weird, including the preacher! Sad, but that’s the way it has become in this thing we call “church” … whether it be Catholic or Protestant, evil can slither in.

    Exactly, Max, and you know, the Bible says the person who puts their trust in man is cursed; it’s in Jeremiah. And by this standard, a lot of people in the U.S. in the last few generations, and perhaps especially in the last one, have cursed themselves utterly.

  59. one of the little people wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    Over a period of the better part of a century I have been first southern baptist then free will baptist then methodist and now episcopalian and I have yet to see what you all are describing as strict obedience to religious authority. I don’t know how to explain that except for the old derivation which ends up as one sees what one looks for and one looks for what one knows to look for. That may be the answer, but it seems sort of weak as an answer, because if this obedience to religious authority is that hard to see, then how can it be some broad answer to this issue?
    I am having a problem with just how much of an answer this may be. Now if you want to add the issue of dependency needs for some people who may cast religious authority structures in a different light than some, perhaps that is part of it. But then somebody will talk about victim blaming and I am not going there. Or deception? That may be part of it.
    I am not arguing here; I am asking. How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it?
    I was in an Assemblies of God church that was taken over by the New Apostolic Reformation. They believe that a church that does not have an apostle and prophet at its head is out of alignment and that those who oppose the authoritarian structure are working under a religious spirit. A body that is out of alignment cannot function properly in their belief system. I left the church, but still have friends there.

    Probably the worst and most evil abuse I’ve seen has been from those in movements like this that point to one man or woman as the one who hears from the Lord. Your friends are absolutely in grave spiritual danger and if they had sense, they’d get out now.

  60. @ Law Prof:

    My friends had zero interest in my warnings about the NAR. After all, Apostle Mark Tubbs “prophesied” how important they all were when in alignment. Seductive.

  61. okrapod wrote:

    How have you all actually experienced this-not just read about it-experienced it?

    In “The Keepers”, one of the young ladies (Jean, now middle age), had her entire family behind her, about a dozen siblings and their spouses, even though none of them had her experience.

    When Bill Maher was interviewed by Stephen Colbert, he recalled how he was raised Catholic but never had a bad experience with a priest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU9qU0Qp6qI Part 1 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDOArHvBXOs&t=116s Part 2.

  62. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    what is it that makes church people easy to fool?

    “The Keepers” is heart-rending, and a case study of how things happen.

    The environment was “safe” and elite, a system to be proud of, for the best of the best (the new Catholic high school, back then). A bright and shiny thing. But in their pride, the community didn’t see the loopholes for a bad character.

    Enter a rogue evil man, a predator, Father Maskell – he slips in and sets up his power base for his evil desires. Totally inappropriate interaction with girl students in his office.

    Finally, there are vulnerable people, girls with various things happening in their lives. Maskell picks them out, no fault of their own. Life happens and humans can innocently be vulnerable, while everyone else is getting a great education and having a good time.

    What would stop a 1) proud community 2) played by an evil person 3) exploiting the vulnerable?

    – No Code of Silence, but a practice of listening and reporting
    – Humility instead of shiny new things
    – Explicit care for the vulnerable, from children to elderly
    – No person or position beyond or above reproach/criticism
    – Everyone has a voice, everyone tells their story, no one is diminished
    – Gender and age boundaries and guidelines with common sense (i.e., no youth leader having a sleepover with boys at his house; no pastor fawning over young ladies or altar boys with priests or male counselors alone with young women or cougar ladies with young men)
    – Reporting red flags to the legal authorities and following through
    – What else?

  63. @ JYJames:

    There isn’t a single church that I’m aware of that resembles any of the metaphors for the church mentioned in the New Testament (body, for example). Many of the unseemly functions of the unseemly body parts are ignored or replaced with prosthetic systems designed to achieve those functions. The people in charge of those systems usually aren’t gifted to serve the same bodily function assigned to the prosthetic. I’m not saying that we have an exhaustive list of well defined functions to be performed; I am saying that many body parts are now considered vestigal or easily replaceable with more efficient prosthetics. Discernment is now considered the appendix of the church and has been removed in most cases. The problem is that there is no church in the church.

  64. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    The local DA’s response was that the church was “fully cooperating” with the investigation. No one was ever charged with failing to report, and ministers are mandated reporters in my state.

    If the DA knew about it then it had been reported. It is the DA, not the cops, who determines whom to prosecute.

  65. Christiane wrote:

    that would be much more reassuring than an authoritarian mega with its own police force which does not answer to legal authorities within the town or borough

    I am under the impression that everybody ‘answers to’ the DA’s office in these matters.

    I say this because i am not nearly as impressed with the quality of work done by the local cops in some jurisdictions than some who comment here seem to be.

    We have been fortunate here in my town, but then we have a ferocious DA’s office as well as having involvement of multiple law enforcement agencies depending on the issue at hand, both private and local and state and federal.

  66. I mentioned on a previous post that I was a mama bear when it concerned my children. After I reported the band director for his misconduct, I found out that other parents knew about his behavior and thought it was harmless. Evidently it had been going on for years. I for one didn’t see it this way. I think that is what a lot of people do. They see the behavior happen, but don’t really think much about it. It needs to be reported where ever you see child abuse. Churches, school, everywhere. I’m constantly getting updates on my computer about people on Megan’s List, in my area. I wander what a difference it would make if we started looking at these lists. Saw the faces of the people on the sexual predator list in our area, then made sure we were aware of them in our own lives. I honestly believe a church should have a list of sexual predators, so they can know them when they come to their church. It would be a start.

  67. scott hendrixson. wrote:

    The problem is that there is no church in the church.

    I see the ‘church’ everywhere-the ‘true’ church’ that is-including at what we like to call church. I suppose, Scott, that you have clocked a lot of time of being ‘in church’ and so have I, but as to what on earth has led us to such different perceptions is beyond me.

  68. I think that we as a people do not all agree on what exactly constitutes abuse, or for that matter as to what constitutes normal sexual activity. For an objective illustration of why I say that I reference the fact that the laws which constitute what is against the law and what is not seem to be changing and said laws differ from one jurisdiction to another. For example, the laws concerning age of consent regarding sex and marriage differ from state to state.

    When the legislators meet and change a law and the governor signs off on it that does not in any way mean that everybody in that state agrees with said law. I am thinking that some of the not reporting of some sexual activities with the young mav be because some people just do not see anything all that wrong with it in the first place. I have heard it said ‘they got to learn some how’ about some behavior which I personally thought was over the line though not illegal.

    Example, while this has nothing to do with the abuse of children against which we have laws, witness the uproar in my state over the potty laws, and potty law revisions, and how one city is gung ho in one direction and the legislature in the other direction. We just do not all agree remotely about who gets to see whom naked and when and why, so why would we assume that we all agree about other sexual matters involving the young.

    I agree with whoever said that reporting laws are important but they will not be the whole solution.

  69. okrapod wrote:

    If the DA knew about it then it had been reported.

    Texas law requires reporting within 48 hours. Failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor. My “church” was trying to handle the matter “in house” thereby breaking the law. I’m not certain what prompted them to report the abuse a year later. In the meantime, the victim continued to live with her father who molested her while the “church” ministered to him.

  70. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    My former church kept at least two situations under wraps (one for a whole year!) while they “ministered to the situation.” The local DA’s response was that the church was “fully cooperating” with the investigation. No one was ever charged with failing to report, and ministers are mandated reporters in my state.

    This is your statement which is confusing to me. Are you saying that the DA’s office was collaborating with the church all along, or are you saying that the DAs office did not know anything about it and tried to cover up for the church in retrospect once they found out? Either way it makes the DA’s office look really bad right along with the church, but I just don’t see how it could be both ways. That is, the DA’s office did know and allowed the problem to continue while at the same time the DA’s office did not know until a year later.

    I am interested in this because of my repeated argument from time to time against some sort of idea that once secular law enforcement knows about something then all will be well, while I think this is not necessarily so. Because, well, just follow the secular media in the past few months about this or that law enforcement body and how the feds have stepped in here and there.

    But I am totally on board with your criticism of how the church, and for that matter all the individuals who knew about it, did something which is horrendous.

  71. okrapod wrote:

    I am interested in this because of my repeated argument from time to time against some sort of idea that once secular law enforcement knows about something then all will be well, while I think this is not necessarily so.

    wow ….. I was thinking that reporting to more than one law enforcement authority or child supervisory authority might be wise, and at least IF none of these entities acted, it might lead to knowledge of the ‘higher up’ who was shutting them down by telling them to squash the investigations.

    Someone said ‘it takes a village to protect a child’. There is some value in the press being able to speak out and expose local corruption when all the other avenues of help for abused children have slammed their doors on those children and their suffering, in order to ‘keep things quiet’. That movie ‘Spotlight’ focused on this need perfectly.

  72. okrapod wrote:

    the DA’s office did not know until a year later.

    The DA’s office didn’t find out until a year later. There’s a lot of wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes in criminal justice cases. Only a fraction of cases ever go to trial. Most of the time, the prosecutor tries to offer some sort of deal to speed up the process in gaining some sort of conviction. In this case, it is my opinion that the DA likely declined to pursue the church’s failure to report in exchange for their cooperation in the case. That is my opinion. However, for whatever reason, the DA did not pursue any of the ministers for failure to report as required by law.

  73. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    In this case, it is my opinion that the DA likely declined to pursue the church’s failure to report in exchange for their cooperation in the case.

    That makes sense.

    I think getting any real penalties for failure to report in these situations is an uphill battle. Getting any real penalties for actual child abuse is an uphill battle, for that matter!

  74. @ scott hendrixson.:
    Exactly. Your entire comment!
    The prosthetic part is particularly apropos. And discernment is a gift from God Himself, yes, and surely given, highly needed, but where is it recognized in the “church”?

  75. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    it is my opinion that the DA likely declined to pursue the church’s failure to report in exchange for their cooperation in the case.

    That sounds likely. Someone whom I know really up close is a former ADA and is now an AUSA and they do structure their prosecution to what they think they can get a conviction on, and they do seem to charge people with everything in sight and then negotiate over dropping some of the lesser charges in return for a guilty plea. on whatever the offer is.

    I think you are probably right and that failure to prosecute a misdemeanor in exchange for co-operation looks like what perhaps went on. In this case, of course, prosecuting the misdemeanor would be smearing the church’s reputation all over town, while in court it would still be just a misdemeanor, so it looks like the DA’s office held all the good cards on that one at that point. It would be interesting to hear the whole backstory, but the DA’s office cannot tell because it would compromise their ability to play that particular card again.

    If that is correct, then there is some genuine disincentive for prosecution of failure to report, which plays into my perception that merely reporting is not the entire solution.

    I want to argue for social pressure caused by a change in attitude of the entire population, but I don’t know how we get from here to there right now since I am thinking that we are a nation divided on just about everything.

  76. okrapod wrote:

    I am interested in this because of my repeated argument from time to time against some sort of idea that once secular law enforcement knows about something then all will be well, while I think this is not necessarily so.

    I know someone who was involved in the system some time ago. (All charges against this person were eventually dropped.) S/he likened the whole process to a game of chicken between the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Each side tries to see how far they can push until the other side backs down. Let’s just say that I don’t have a lot of faith in the system after listening to this person’s experience.

  77. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    Yes, we have an adversarial system in that sense and it is by intent and in keeping with our philosophy of how to achieve something as close to justice as possible. I see it as working better some times than other times, but just a heck of a lot better than just having the king’s magistrate render opinions.

    Think Pilate who only listened to the prosecution (behind the scenes and also the mob) and to whom no defense was made other than his wife’s dream. Now we say it was not a fair trial but more like a lynching, but it was legal then.

  78. Yes, the answer is YES. (But Protestants are masters at hiding things, explaining it away through the “we’re all just sinners” nonsense; oh, yes, and it’s a sick boys’ club where the perverts protect one another, as there is a lot at stake…money, money, money and imagined power and authority. This is all I’m going to say about THAT sick lot. Personal experience trumps any excuses that cult may come up with.

  79. okrapod wrote:

    I see the ‘church’ everywhere-the ‘true’ church’ that is-including at what we like to call church. I suppose, Scott, that you have clocked a lot of time of being ‘in church’ and so have I, but as to what on earth has led us to such different perceptions is beyond me.

    I don’t think that we see things that differently; I was just using a little hyperbole as my way of illustrating and mourning the fracturing of the body that I see occurring.

  80. okrapod wrote:

    I see it as working better some times than other times, but just a heck of a lot better than just having the king’s magistrate render opinions.

    I agree with you. At least our system does have some checks and balances that, hopefully, allow for some degree of fairness.

    In my friend’s case, it dragged on for so long that the judge finally had enough. He told the prosecutor that he wanted it off the docket. Not everyone is so fortunate though. I’ve read some accounts of impoverished people sitting in jail for years waiting for a trial.

  81. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    Oh yes. Horror stories. And then there is the problem of inadequate defense. In our state that issue has been and is being addressed with better allocation of cases to defense attorneys including now a state funded office with those who do it all the time as their specialty, and also with the option of a finding of actual innocence in some previously mishandled cases.

    But I totally agree that this system is far from perfect by a long shot.

  82. scott hendrixson. wrote:

    I don’t think that we see things that differently; I was just using a little hyperbole as my way of illustrating and mourning the fracturing of the body that I see occurring.

    Yes, I see that also.

  83. Boston Lady wrote:

    the “we’re all just sinners” nonsense;

    ‘just’ ?

    We are all sinners. Yes. But not ‘just’. We cannot diminish any sin.
    We cannot know the final impact of any sin in this world. Only Our Lord can know this.

    ‘he who is without sin cast the first stone’ teaches Our Lord in the famous ‘Johanian Comma’
    so there is this to think about ….. for us to measure one another by the ‘evil’ of a sin may not be what we are supposed to do

    there is no ‘little’ sin …. all that can be classified as ‘sin’ is virulent in its destructive power and once we have sinned, we cannot control the effects of that sin in this world

    so maybe we need to look at this matter again and think about it in the light of Christ’s teachings

    the rabbi’s tell that ‘the evil tongue’ can say something that then has far-reaching consequences …. like an arrow released in Jerusalem can kill in Rome ….. ‘sin’ has a weight we cannot manipulate or measure

    like the dreadful story of the abuse of eight children, and two later committed suicide ….. one terrible sin led to something far worse

    what we do in time reverberates in eternity, the Crucifix tells us of our sin and none of us can say we are not in mourning when we look at it for what each of us has done, while ‘pointing to that other sinner over there’ or we will not be ‘justified’ by God

    Wade’s sermon helps us see something of this. I think it is worth listening to. And reflecting on.

  84. okrapod wrote:

    If that is correct, then there is some genuine disincentive for prosecution of failure to report, which plays into my perception that merely reporting is not the entire solution.

    In addition, even if someone reports, knowing something happened is one thing ……. proving that it happened is another.

  85. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    In addition, even if someone reports, knowing something happened is one thing ……. proving that it happened is another.

    Good point. I was not even thinking about that, but you are right.

  86. JYJames wrote:

    And discernment is a gift from God Himself, yes, and surely given, highly needed, but where is it recognized in the “church”?

    in the collegial workings of the whole Church we may find some wisdom

  87. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    If that is correct, then there is some genuine disincentive for prosecution of failure to report, which plays into my perception that merely reporting is not the entire solution.
    In addition, even if someone reports, knowing something happened is one thing ……. proving that it happened is another.

    And even if it’s taken to trial, a jury may mistrial as in “Pill” Cosby.
    ‘He said, she said’, cases are very difficult to bring to trial as well.

  88. Mae wrote:

    ‘He said, she said’, cases are very difficult to bring to trial as well.

    And even when there is good evidence, plea deals are often promoted/pushed. Trial is risky and expensive.

  89. Boston Lady wrote:

    (But Protestants are masters at hiding things, explaining it away through the “we’re all just sinners” nonsense;

    And that’s exactly what it is. Nonsense.
    I thank God that I’m not anything like them.
    There, that oughta’ rattle a few cages.

  90. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    But, reporting is key. The authorities need to keep a record, and at some point, if the abuse continues, some intervention occurs. I have seen that happen over the trajectory of my teaching career. Neglect cases, especially ones due to ignorance or lack of resources, are usually the most easily addressed. Parents learn there is a different way to manage their children and they get plugged into resources (I reported something like this 5 years ago, and mother and son continue to do very well). Sexual and emotional abuse are probably the most difficult, but if there is a report, and people willing to come forward, the situation can often be improved for the victim. In most states, you can’t be prosecuted for a mistaken report, only a deliberately false one.

  91. Boston Lady wrote:

    But Protestants are masters at hiding things, explaining it away through the “we’re all just sinners” nonsense;

    I came from a church that split from the UPC and took on some Anabaptist overtones. They believe that you must be baptized in Jesus’ name (as opposed to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and that you must be baptized in the Holy Ghost as evidenced by speaking in tongues in order to be saved. If a person refused these revelations when God brings them to you then they are not saved. We heard from the pulpit more than once that “WE have the answer to what this world needs.”

    Well, when the skeletons came tumbling out of the closet, and they produced 5 convicted pedophiles, the mantra became, “It happens everywhere.”

    ??????? I thought to myself, “So are you better than everyone else or not? You can’t have it both ways.” 😉

  92. @ Brent:

    Mohler can say all the pretty words he wants regarding policies to protect kids. His actions say otherwise, and they speak volumes.

  93. Linn wrote:

    In most states, you can’t be prosecuted for a mistaken report, only a deliberately false one.

    I certainly agree with what you are saying, but there is one glitch which bothers me. It has been said, and I have no verification of this, that once person A is reported to social services for possible abuse/neglect then even when child protective services investigates and finds no such thing, nevertheless the record of the report remains and even totally innocent people are then forever suspect. That is disturbing.

    That, coupled with the cases we keep seeing in the news of some horror and it turns out that CPS had a whole litany of reports and had done nothing, lead me to say that that system needs serious reform.

    That and the case which radicalized me of the little dead body of a toddler of which I was tasked with obtaining images to show various ages of various fractures while I looked at his little body scarred where somebody repeatedly had put out a cigarette on his flesh only to find out from the baby’s pediatrician that CPS had investigated and knew about the danger and had done nothing to protect the child.

    That sort of thing rather impacts one’s faith in the efficacy of reporting as some panacea. I am not opposed to reporting, I am not opposed to obeying the law, but I am opposed to having much faith in the system. I think we need a culture of public outrage about abuse, and about failing systems.

  94. @ okrapod:
    I have a lot more faith in God than I have in the system. However, I have seen the system work on a number of cases, including a case in my own family. It really does take a village, and when concerned individuals get involved, as well as CPS, it can make a huge difference.

    I hesitate to say this, but I think the bigger issue is that so many people won’t get involved. We try to minimize what is actually occurring, or we think that someone else will address the problem. I am a mandated reporter both in the workplace and in my church, but I hope that I would also report if something was occurring outside of those spheres. The one time I did report something fishy with a neighbor’s child, someone went to jail for the rest of his life. It wasn’t just my report-a number of people came forward to say that things just didn’t seem right.

  95. @ okrapod:
    Maybe CPS is getting better in some areas but I too have doubts.

    A neighbor and myself repeatedly made reports of child abuse of an 8 year old boy, to a hotline, the school, the Sheriff’s office. CPS and the Sheriff came to my house to interview but nothing happened. The suspected step mother was an elementary teacher.
    Long story short, we moved a few weeks later, out of state. Ten days after our move that poor child was beaten almost to death…..spent 28 days in hospital.
    Months later an FBI agent came to interview me as they were also involved in a federal lawsuit against the step mom. Case was all over the local news.
    Eventually, step mom got six years in jail. Whole thing was a nightmare but that was the first time my eyes were opened to realize ” nice suburban, church going folks” do bad things.

  96. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    @ Brent:

    Mohler can say all the pretty words he wants regarding policies to protect kids. His actions say otherwise, and they speak volumes.

    You’ve heard the concept of official and unofficial policies I’m sure.

    What is the UnOfficial policy? bEcause that’s the one that is actually being followed generally.

  97. @ Christiane:

    Please don’t ever try to minister to or counsel anyone who has been abused. You will cause more damage with your warped theology.

  98. @ Linn:

    One of our motivations in reporting was that the perpetrator not be able to hurt anyone else. I contacted Boz Tchividjian and he emphasized that the perpetrator MUST not only be reported, but registered for two reasons: 1. To communicate to my daughter that I took what happened to her very seriously; and 2. To help warn others in the future. I knew it would be very painful if in the future he hurt someone else and we hadn’t done all we could now to prevent it.

    As to the authorities mentioned in several other comments, we were treated better by the secular authorities, especially the detective, than by many members of our church. I do not regret reporting and insisting that the man be registered. His life hasn’t been affected all that much anyway, while my daughter’s was impacted profoundly.

  99. one of the little people wrote:

    I do not regret reporting and insisting that the man be registered.

    Oh absolutely you did the right thing to do. I am thinking that it is hard to reconcile with the fact that ‘his life hasn’t been affected all that much anyway’. Like the bible says ‘why do the wicked prosper?’. I have personally dealt with this issue in several matters, none of them anything like as bad as what you have dealt with, but even so I found it a difficult thing.

  100. Off topic still having back issues will be off work for a week or so. I am thankful for the kind prayers. This is a good article and some very good comments.

  101. one of the little people wrote:

    I was in an Assemblies of God church that was taken over by the New Apostolic Reformation. They believe that a church that does not have an apostle and prophet at its head is out of alignment and that those who oppose the authoritarian structure are working under a religious spirit.

    My writing partner (the burned-out preacher whose office system I’m posting this from) says that “If a pastor starts calling himself Apostle, Prophet, or both, RUN!”

  102. Law Prof wrote:

    Probably the worst and most evil abuse I’ve seen has been from those in movements like this that point to one man or woman as the one who hears from the Lord.

    Like Jim Jones?

  103. brian wrote:

    Off topic still having back issues will be off work for a week or so. I am thankful for the kind prayers. This is a good article and some very good comments.

    Hope you heal up soon. Prayers continue.

  104. one of the little people wrote:

    As to the authorities mentioned in several other comments, we were treated better by the secular authorities, especially the detective, than by many members of our church. I do not regret reporting and insisting that the man be registered. His life hasn’t been affected all that much anyway, while my daughter’s was impacted profoundly

    So true, yet so sad.

  105. Molly245 wrote:

    I feel frantic with worry when I think about that child

    And sadly you are right to be worried.

    Sometimes I just do not know how to deal with the avalanche of child abuse there seems to be in the world at the moment. Is it worse than it used to be? Or is it just becoming clearer as people come forward?

    As part of work I went to a great conference called Professional Responses to CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation- think of things like the situation in Rotherham). We had a wonderful academic talk to us about her studies in this area & she said it’s only really in the last 10 years that language has changed, for example no longer labelling children who sell or exchange goods for sex ‘child prostitutes’. They are not prostitutes, they are victims of sexual abuse, & selling/exchanging goods for sex is a symptom of that. About blinking time.

    Part of this thread has been about recording & reporting abuse. At work, when working with any child safeguarding situation, we use a chronology, in which we log all events, contacts, emails etc & show our decision making processes over time as things add up & risks clearer. It means we can show good practice as well as legally defensible decision making. Often I discover, among multiple agencies, that we’re the only one with a timeline like this, & the point was also made at the conference that the better our recording the more weight may be taken off a young victim to have to keep going over the same material & trying to explain long chains of events that lead up to exploitation.

    I would urge those with worries about something to record them over time, that where you see patterns, & that’s when you can back up your suspicions if need be.

  106. one of the little people wrote:

    I do not regret reporting and insisting that the man be registered. His life hasn’t been affected all that much anyway, while my daughter’s was impacted profoundly.

    Bl**dy right. There should be consequences. And I hope your daughter is doing as well as she can do.

  107. one of the little people wrote:

    As to the authorities mentioned in several other comments, we were treated better by the secular authorities, especially the detective, than by many members of our church.

    Sadly, that’s no rare thing. It’s got to the stage where I’d rather ask people who don’t believe in prayer to pray for me than Christians, who fall into two categories: 0) a few honourable exceptions, 1) aggressively judgemental, and 2) poisonously condescending.

    That’s not to say that secular authorities have always been any better in these cases, but I’m glad you encountered some of the good ones.

    d

  108. Beakerj wrote:

    Sometimes I just do not know how to deal with the avalanche of child abuse there seems to be in the world at the moment. Is it worse than it used to be? Or is it just becoming clearer as people come forward?

    I think it’s the latter of the two. It’s always been there, but these days there are more and more people coming forward and standing in solidarity with the kids. And that’s a good thing because it makes it harder and harder for the monsters to operate.

    “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
    — Sonmi-451 —

  109. @ Beakerj:
    You raise important issues.
    Certainly communication (the internet, for example) and social research have improved human understanding of what goes on with people.
    In any case, we note the problems.
    However, I write with sincere appreciation for TWW and for everyone else in the world on the right side of very sensitive and important issues, especially involving children. God bless these efforts and these people a hundred fold.

  110. JYJames wrote:

    However, I write with sincere appreciation for TWW and for everyone else in the world on the right side of very sensitive and important issues, especially involving children. God bless these efforts and these people a hundred fold.

    Yes! …. a thousand fold

  111. I would like to put a little different spin on this original post, but I do not all disagree with what was posted.
    I came out of a independent fundamentalist baptist background, (GARBC for those that know this specific flavor) both church and 7-12 grade school. In my experience, we did not have any “charismatic/authoritarian ruler” (ie. CJ, Dever, Moler, etc) … it was more of a “group think” of hard core fundamentalist beliefs/behaviors. I am not saying there was not strong, authoritarian leaders, just that they did not have one ruling over the others (no Lord of the Rings). Further, while their theology was clearly “we are saved by BLOOD of Christ” (they really like the word “BLOOD”) and not by works, in practice, they were hard core Pharisees, with just as many rules as the NT Pharisees. – here is a minor example… I made model airplanes, and my father and I would go to competitions on Sunday… and we got “in trouble” by not the pastor, or Elders, but just by fellow members of the church for “not being there on Sunday”!!
    Further, these IFB of my past clearly thought they “had the proper way to heaven figured out”, and that they were set apart, and better, than other Christians…
    So, my point is, when one of the “bros” in this “group” did something really bad, they covered it up because it would mean that their “system” was not really any better than others… I have researched back and know of a number of cover-ups, including a repeat pedo (who finally did 15 years in prison for further pedo stuff AFTER he got quietly removed from my school)…
    My “Christian” high school (and church) like to “pride” itself on how pious it was.. but, i know the hearts of many of the students, or at least I “partially knew their hearts”, and they were not any more pious than anyone else!! Or, put another way, within their specific rules they were “pious”, but based on other spiritual virtues, they were not pious at all.
    So, the point is, exposing and publicly dealing with this bad stuff would bring down the whole system for some of these people.. Just like showing the Universe is billions of years old brings down their whole “world view”…

  112. Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    better, than other Christians

    Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    “pride” itself on how pious it was

    Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    one of the “bros” in this “group” did something really bad, they covered it up because it would mean that their “system” was not really any better than others

    Pride is a deadly sin. 1 Timothy 3:6: A conceited leader falls into the devil’s hands; James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5: God resists the proud; Prov. 16:18: Pride precedes a fall.

    Up thread, I commented about the high school in “The Keepers”. It was elite; no one wanted to call out the evil priest counselor doing bad things to girls in his office, and spoil for the rest having a good time and a good education.

    Proverbs 6:16-19, Seven rooted in pride: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands shedding innocent blood, a heart devising wicked plans, feet running rapidly to evil, a false witness uttering lies, one spreading strife among brothers.

  113. JYJames wrote:

    Up thread, I commented about the high school in “The Keepers”. It was elite; no one wanted to call out the evil priest counselor doing bad things to girls in his office, and spoil for the rest having a good time and a good education.

    I’m watching the series & I nearly puked when I heard about the kind of stuff he was doing to those poor girls, & letting other men do to them. Beyond appalling.

  114. @ Jeffrey J . Chalmers:

    It’s my experience that when encountering an IFB church, one should run screaming as far as they can from it. One of the ugliest churches that I’ve even known in my community is an IFB. When you don’t have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, what do you do to establish your righteousness? Sleeve length, dress length, hair length. Anything but godliness–perish the thought!

  115. I remember being groomed by a pedo youth pastor at my protestant church. It was me and two other boys. Once mom found out I was spending time alone with him at his condo she put a stop to it.

  116. Oh and it got to the point where he was showing us ever-more explicit sexual videos. But I think he got further with the other two boys who had been in the church since they were born since a year or two before I started going to his house, the other two boys (we were all age 8-9) had been fooling around with me in one of the church bathrooms. I think they got the idea from him.

  117. Seems to me that the Bible contains the solution…exposure of evil…yet the church keeps refusing to do the hard work God calls them to. They love to talk of Grace yet refuse to expect holiness of the members/ leaders. Jesus would have a LOT to say about this!

  118. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    @ Brent:

    Mohler can say all the pretty words he wants regarding policies to protect kids. His actions say otherwise, and they speak volumes.

    Indeed! Dr. Mohler speaketh out of both sides of his mouth on this issue. A resolution was passed at the SBC annual convention in 2013 with Mohler in mind regarding his affiliation/protection of C.J. Mahaney (Sovereign Grace Ministries):

    “RESOLVED, That we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse”

    http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/1230/on-sexual-abuse-of-children

  119. linda wrote:

    SBC’ers might want to watch the shooting war begin on both SBCVoices and SBCToday

    Linda, the battle got more intense since you posted that comment. Lines are definitely being drawn in the Southern Baptist Convention between Traditionalists vs. Calvinists. The SBCToday site represents mainline, majority “traditional” non-Calvinist belief and practice. The SBCVoices site are voices fueling Calvinization of the SBC – they may appear to be supportive of both theologies in the denomination, but their mission is clear. For those who are interested, you can read all about it on competing blogs at:

    http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/loyal-opposition/

    http://sbcvoices.com/loyal-opposition-andor-the-opening-shots-of-a-new-sbc-war/

  120. @ Max:

    Thanks for the update! I was able to read some of the posts and commentary last week. I'll be sure to take a look at what's going on now.

  121. ___

    Neo-Hansen’s Nitemare: “Priests trapped In biological ‘leperaic’ chains of their own making, perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Q. How long will it take the Roman Catholic hierarchy to learn what St. Bernard of Clairvaux knew so very long ago?

    huh?

    “Take from the Church an honourable marriage and an immaculate marriage bed, and do you not fill it with concubinage, incest, homosexuality and every kind of uncleanness?” -St. Bernard of Clairvaux, c.1135 AD (Vicars of Christ, p. 409) 

    What?

    In examining present day statistics, now approximately some 64,000 Roman Catholic priests worldwide are ‘said’ to be infected with HIV…

    (which is ‘said’ to be four times the ‘average’ rate in society at large…)

    These alarming numbers are ‘said’ to be growing.

    SKreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    What is wrong with this picture?

    L’air sombre de la caverne est si lourd, est-ce que vous souffrez de baume si vous avez souri ? (1)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FRhFeBEETsA

    (sadface)

    Sòpy
    ___
    (1) tr. The dark air of the cave is so heavy, do you suffer from balm if you smiled?

    🙁

  122. I read the Donn Ketcham article by K Joyce. I have the misfortune of living near the doc and from what I read…not verified…he got off without incarceration. I hope I am proven wrong.

  123. ___

    “May The Proverbial Priestly Nightmare Be With You, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    “In his…best-selling book, ‘The Changing Face of the Priesthood’, Father Donald Cozzens, a respected Catholic seminary president, says there is such a high percentage of gay priests in the church that he is concerned “the priesthood is becoming a gay profession.”

    “I’ve worked with priests who have died with AIDS,” says Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist and former priest, who has spent the last 40 years researching and writing about the sexual habits of Catholic clergy. “I estimated that 750 priests had already died of AIDS,” says Sipe, who has analyzed hundreds of cases of AIDS in the priesthood, and believes that “another 750 priests carry the HIV virus.”

    “It’s estimated by the Catholic Church itself that the number of priests in the US will drop (or has already dropped) 47%, from a high of 58,000 to 31,000, a decrease of 27,000 priests.  It’s entirely possible that PART of this decrease was strictly due to the unwillingness of potential priests to join this sinking ship, but the vast majority of this decrease MUST have been due to the known and acknowledged high percentage of homosexual priests, and their corresponding VERY high AIDS death rate.”

    “The issue was thrust into the national spotlight in 2002, when the Boston Globe revealed the extent to which the local archdiocese shielded abusive priests from being exposed to the public even though it knew they posed a danger to young parishioners.”

    “A Catholic Priest has been acquitted by the church after he admitted to raping almost 30 young girls aged between 5 and 10-years-old. The priest, ….was cleared of any wrong-doing and won’t face any criminal charges, despite the fact that he knew he was infected with HIV when he sexually abused all the children he admitted to raping…”

    🙁

  124. Law Prof wrote:

    When you don’t have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, what do you do to establish your righteousness? Sleeve length, dress length, hair length.

    Don’t forget how many O’s you can pronounce in ‘LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD’…

  125. Pingback: Linkathon! – PhoenixPreacher UNITED STATES

  126. Christiane wrote:

    My God, even ONE case of the sexual abuse of a child would be too many. The destruction this kind of abuse causes lasts a life time.

    But if we rate which faith community has the worst problem, perhaps we might better determine it by examining incidences of the concealment of abuse and the protection of the abuser by authorities in a community . . . . because out of that shielding, a perpetrator has ‘protection’ to continue abusing.

    In that kind of situation, the ‘continuation’ of abusing is on the heads of the authorities who ‘looked away’ or transferred the perpetrator into another situation where he/she could continue abusing.

    God bless you, Christiane. One is indeed too many!!

  127. one of the little people wrote:

    I also believe, after going through a sexual abuse situation in my former church, that all adults, 18 and over, must be mandated reporters and should be prosecuted if they violate this law.

    Agreed.

  128. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    This is why I prefer to be proactive in protecting my kids. But, I’m not arguing with you or your experience at all. I just won’t blindly trust a church or even local law enforcement to do the right thing

    I read this & was reminded of my great-grandmother saying, “Trust in the Lord, but never trust men”.
    (She said it in Dutch, though, & in that language there is a little play on words: “Lord” is “der Herr”, & “men” is “der herren”. As a small child, I used to wonder if that was in the Bible…..)

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