Discussing
Sexual abuse in the church: not just a "Catholic problem"

Andy Rau

Docbob
April 18, 2008

At my church we have checks and balances in place. The biggest one is that there must be 2 children's workers when ever a child is present. I am a voulenteer in the kids department and when one of the staff asked me to help clean up the craft room with my kids helping to, I told him to go ahead with the kids I would be right there. He said no, he would wait till I finished what I was doing. Even with my expressed consent he could not break the rules. <br><br>Things like bathrooms are kids only and if there is an adult in there, they are to tell us so we can address it. <br><br>Is it a perfect system, nope. But it is better than what we had before. In fact the church does a seminar to teach other churches what they had learned. And the reason why all this was started 5 years ago... a male staff member at the Christian School was abusing young boys. We have probably gone overboard, but it is better than going through all that over again.

Arshield
April 18, 2008

I couldn't find an article about this so I will offer what I remember, but it may not be completely accurate. An Illinois Baptist (SBC newspaper) writer was forced to resign after reporting on a pastor that was arrested for sex abuse. Several people believed that his reporting on the issue was negative press and the state newspaper should only be telling positive stories about the Illinois Baptist. But not long after a former president of the Illinois Baptist was arrested in a prostitution sting and another church was written about by the Chicago Tribune because they knowingly hired a pastor that had been accused of sex abuse by two previous churches. Not a Catholic only problem

John
April 18, 2008

Safe Sanctuary is a program run by the United Methodist Church. It consists of trained personnel working at the conference level going to churches within the conference and providing training for the church, personnel who work with the youth of the church and for those working in church camps. It gives people a chance to see what really is out there as related to child abuse, not just physical, but emothional and psychological abuse. What to look for where ever you may be, either in a church setting, on mission trips or in camps. I don't know what is close to you, but from what I understand if you contact your local United Methodist church, they maybe able to get you in contact with their conference people to get you started on the program. I have been a criminal investigator for the US Government for over 30 years and I work with our conference as a trainer in Safe Sanctuary. In God's Grace John

Jaybee
April 18, 2008

Thanks for the link--I will be passing this to my pastor. <br><br>About sexual abuse being a Catholic problem--the abuse itself isn't; I'm sure every denomination has its share of paedophiles. I would suggest, though, that the Catholic church has shown more of a tendency to cover these kinds of things up. Catholocism has a long history of using its privileged position to commit and cover up horrible crimes against members and non-members--sorry, but it's true. Anybody who thinks of this as bigotry should go to wikipedia and read a little about the Inquisition, the Gunpowder Plot, the history of the church in the Netherlands--10% of the population was slaughtered in the name of Catholocism by Philip II of Spain. Any organization with those kinds of skeletons in its closet is not going to hesitate to protect its reputation by covering up cases of child abuse in its clergy. <br>I heard this story from the lips of an ex-priest: The reason he became an ex-priest was that he fell in love with a woman in his parish; he asked to marry her, and she agreed, so he went to the Bishop and asked what he should do. At the same time, another priest was found to have molested one of the boys in the parish. The child molester was bought a house and given a large sum of money to just go away. My friend's "fiancee" decided she didn't want to marry him after all, but the Bishop decided that my friend could not be a priest any longer and took away his office. He was therefore left high and dry while someone who should have been turned over to the police was comfortably provided for as long as he would just not cause any problems for the church. It's this kind of mindset that allowed the problems with sexual abuse to flourish as they did. <br>Yeah, I know, this is not PC at all, and it will probably tick off the many good Catholics who can hold up examples of good works done in the name of the church. I'm not saying that everything the church does is bad, or even that all Catholics are unsaved. What I am saying is that the way the church dealt with known child abusers indicates that a long history of contempt for the rights of the individual lives on in the Catholic church.

Andyrau
April 18, 2008

Sounds like an excellent program, John. Thanks for the info!

Mebertoni
April 22, 2008

Jaybee, Let me be the first to say that I find your anti-Catholic rhetoric disturbing and just a bit disingenuous. Some of your references like the "Gunpowder Plot" have more to do with political persecution than an official act of the Catholic Church. Others occurred well before the Protestant Reformation making them a part of shared Christian history which taints you as well as the Catholics for whom you appear to hold such disdain.<br><br> I submit to you that sin (sexual or otherwise) knows no ecclesiastical boundaries and this kind of spiritual oneupmanship turns away unbelievers from the church. It's also why believers like myself have become disillusioned with what currently passes for Christianity in America. There are plenty of "skeletons" in the closets of Catholic and Protestant churches alike. This is not uniquely or historically a Catholic problem.<br><br> And no, I'm not Catholic - just a Christian who feels disconnected from the church in America.<br>

multi_talented
April 23, 2008

Child sexual abuse is disgusting and disturbing and this was what the post focused on. However, it is not only children that are being abused by pastors/ministers but also adults. I know because I am a 37 year old female in Barbados that was sexually abused by a pentecostal pastor and I reported it to an Apostolic committee that he sits on the board and the leader told me that he is sorry and he believes me but dont tell anyone else about it. The pastor proceeded then to place my name and address on the radio and in newspaper saying that i was kicked out. He produced "evidence" to the congregation that I was a witch and greatly to be feared so members are not allowed to have any conversation with me. This was his way of making sure that if I told anyone else that I would not be believed. God is going to expose these abusive ministers Himself and protect and bring healing to His sheep. The artilce and links were good and I agree that it is important to make organisation workers as well as congregations aware of signs and red flags and also that laws need to be enacted to protect the innocent against these sick monsters who abuse their authority. I am in Barbados but in countries all over the world and while it is not always the most comforting thought to some that God is aware and He will bring healing to those abused(He has to me) and punishment to those abusers(I am still waiting but God is faithful). My prayers to all children and adults abused by these Ministers and time to speak out whether believed or not. Blessings.

Zacrobela
February 1, 2010

I'm so glad that you brought up the point of adults being abused in the church. I was dating a man (and I use the term very loosely) in my church for nearly 3 years and just found out in May 2009 that he had been sexually abusing my daughter who was 17 at the time. He had started grooming her about 3 months into our relationship. This man I have found out has manipulated many women in our church for years and has only been suspended from the music ministry once because he got one of them pregnant. The problem that I have found is that the women that he has manipulated have all been too afraid to expose him because they fear that because they had a sexual relationship with him they will be blamed. I dont feel that the women are protected from these abusive men, they are made to feel like they should just forgive him and move on. This cant be right can it? I now have to pick up the pieces that this man has left behind and he is still serving in our church. Do you think that I should expose him?

Peanutbnbanana
June 10, 2011

This article is too general in its statements. It avoids statistics. For instance, statistics for sexual abuse insurance claims for Catholic churches in the northeast are almost double those of Protestant denominations. I do not know the stats nationwide. But simply to make a statement about the ammount paid among protestant denominations as a means of implying the problem is just as pervasive is not honest research or reporting.

Disgusted In Albany Ny
August 3, 2011

Here are links to a story about a church who is refusing to remove a deacon arrested for sexual misconduct with two 13 year old boys he was mentoring.  No, not the Catholic Church, but the First Congregational Church in Albany.  The parents, who are in leadership positions, are refusing to remove their son, even though the Pastor resigned and much of the congregation have left in disgust.  In the congregational system, the Pastor has no power to remove a Deacon.  This pastor demanded he step down, but was threatened by the leadership.  Thus he felt he had no choice but to resign.  The Deacon is still in his position, even though he is out on bail and awaiting trial.  Links to local stories are at : <a href="http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Albany-church-still-looking-for-a-leader-1647596.php" rel="nofollow">http://www.timesunion.com/loca...</a><br> <br><a href="http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Parents-keeping-deacon-accused-of-misconduct-in-1438079.php#ixzz1QCfcA8ja" rel="nofollow">http://www.timesunion.com/loca...</a>

Mother Magdalene
April 24, 2014

I'm a parent of a child who was molested by a supposedly Christian friend whom I trusted. This doesn't only happen during church, but after and in other places. I was fooled into thinking I should trust them with my child, even against my better judgement. American Christian culture dictates that we trust strangers to watch/teach our children so that we adults can attend church without them. So that they won't disrupt church for the important adults. We are taught that part of love is trust, when God's Word never said that in the first place. It says to love your neighbor as yourself, but to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Trusting everyone because they've come to church has been proven to be foolish time and again. But people don't want to address this issue because it is to scary to admit that it could happen to you or your child. Also, the peer pressure that's supposed to disappear as a child remains into adult-hood, and in this case makes you feel as though you'll offend someone if you don't trust yourself or your child with them. Lesson I've learned: offend them. Keep your children safe and in your site. You are their bodyguard.

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