An article went up at Wineskins today that is on one of the most difficult topics to discuss but one that is growing in relevance to families and churches – the growing problem of pedophilia and how churches can protect and prevent against it. I really appreciate Jimmy Hinton and Les Ferguson, Jr for sharing their thoughts on this. They both went through some very difficult experiences in recent years that have driven them to get this information out in hopes that more children can be protected from this problem. Jimmy has written up some things that everyone should read and posted a 2 hour webinar that is difficult to get through, due to the nature of the discussion but essential that church leaders get informed on.
Protecting our Children from Pedophiles: Practical Steps for Parents, Churches and Organizations to Identify and Address This Problem
All churches should be aware of sexual abuse and pedophilia. When I was a young student at a Christian College in Ft,Worth, Texas in 1967. A Church of Christ preacher, popular in the area, put his hand up my girlfriend’s skirt when she went to him for personal counseling. His excuse was (1) She was too feminine, (2) She was a liar, (3) Her mother tried to seduce a deacon after she had surgery from her hospital bed.
Each church should do a criminal background check on any paid or volunteer staff member, especially youth ministers. Have a stringent questionaire for them to answer for employment or volunteer work. This happened in the Shenandoah Valley a few years a ago. A preacher after an investigation was found to have murdered his previous wife, and his degrees were fake. This caused a rift in the Church, as it was split 50/50.
Be wise vette all preachers and staff members for criminal records or previous happenings which were never reported to an authority.
Thanks for posting, Rex. It’s not easy or enjoyable to speak about this, but we’ve got to press on. It’ s a huge problem.
Churches of all kinds have pedophiles lurking. Colorado Springs has had an inordinate amount of this, as they have many evangelical churches. Then there is the long history of Catholic sexual abuse. Vigilance is necessary here, and all ministers and church workers should be screened and references checked.
Thanks, Gary Cummings
We also don’t have to re-invent the wheel here. The Boy Scouts, to name one organization, dealt with this issue in a big way in the mid to late 1980’s. Now they have several rules and procedures in place. 2-deep leadership is the biggest. Let’s learn from others here also.
I would suggest this should push down to all children’s classes. When someone drops their kid off at the nursery, how do we make sure that kid gets back to that parent?
Thanks to those willing to tackle this.
Also, if you know of suspected or allegations of abuse, you need to get legal counsel right then and deal with the issue, even if you have to get the police involved. The worst thing is to sweep it under the rug and then years later it may come back and bite you. This is what really got the Catholic Church in a mess.
As soon as abuse is known to you or reported to you, document everything with time and date, and as much information as you understand, even if it is all alleged. Contact the church authorities and legal authorities immediately. Do not wait for the church authorities to do anything, as often they are the ones to cover it all up. If need be ,get a lawyer involved.
Stop the abuse now, in its tracks. Be ready for personal attacks, cover all of your bases.I recommend that no minister should be alone with another member of the opposite sex for counseling. It should be a male-female counseling team, so sexual harassment can’t be alleged. A youth minister should never drive any person of the opposite sex anywhere, as that leaves open a path for accusations (baseless or not). Protect yourself from any appearance of being improper.