“Allowing a volunteer with known past abuse allegations to continue serving is beyond stupid, it’s handing him the keys to the door of abuse.” ~G.R.A.C.E. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment
Some churches are a toxic wasteland where child predators walk and work among the hallways, classrooms and bathrooms. Predators are bio hazardous waste that needs to be found, collected and kicked to the curb for segregated garbage collection and delivered to a secure sealed location.
Many of our churches are not ready to protect children from such evil.
They don’t understand how molesters and pedophilic offenders think or act and they don’t understand how children fall prey to abuse. This makes church leaders and workers unable to protect because they don’t recognize the signs of abuse or the extent of the abuse and often when abuse happens they don’t believe the victim. The part that frustrates and sickens me most is when church leadership is informed of abuse allegations but they don’t report it to the authorities or disclose it to the congregation.
Here is one such example recently making headlines:
A divorced man was hired by a small congregation in a small town for the position of senior pastor. This man had no contact with his own biological child; in fact, his parental rights were removed. Add to this the fact that he was forced out of his last ministry, in a neighboring state, due to allegations of improper conduct with a child. (A sexual crimes investigation by the local sheriff’s department for victimizing a six year old girl.)
The hiring church knew this background yet did not contact the ex-wife or the former church to hear their what, how, why, when or where perspective. They believed his spin on the situations and they loved his preaching. What more did they need to know?
This church believed in their pastor so strongly that they allowed him to attend church camp during the summers, staying in the dorms/cabins with young boys and allowed him to travel with an international evangelistic team, to preach and work in orphanages in foreign countries. They also allowed him to stop teaching the adult class during Wednesday night services to teach the class for 2-5 year old children—alone. Yes, you read correctly. He taught this class solo, by himself, no helper, unaided—while the church leadership did not take into consideration his background of past allegations.
I’m angry! Shaking, crying, furious, appalled, sickened—my head hurts and I want someone to answer for this wrongdoing; this offence—this crime against children and in my book the church is a guilty partner in the crime.
Did anyone ever consider protecting the children?
In today’s society there needs to always be safety in numbers for the children’s protection. No one should ever be alone with children.
Again; fast forward:
In April 2012 this man was arrested on allegations of aggravated criminal sodomy of a child and aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He was held on a $500,000 bond, which no one provided bail for, so he remained incarcerated for over two years after waving his right to a speedy trial. He then waited while delaying his trial on more than one occasion.
His day in court was coming and there was no holding back the judgment of the Lord. (See previous post: Reversal of Destiny)
This man was told numerous times over the last thirty years to safeguard his ministry by not being alone with children.
Alone he was with a class of 2-5 year olds. [i]
I must stop and ask; what man wants to be alone with little children and have to take care of changing dirty diapers?
But that’s not all.
He was alone in a classroom which had no windows and he allegedly locked the door while the children were in the class.[ii]
He was alone doing unthinkable things while describing to the children what Jesus would do and say when he returned while acting out what would happen. He (Jesus), “Would touch people upon his return.”[iii]
The mother of one of the victims discovered an “awfully quiet” classroom one Wednesday night. “She went to the door of the classroom and it was locked.” “I knocked three times on the door. It took the defendant several minutes to come to the door and he would only open it enough that I could see him. He said the children were working on a craft and it was a surprise for the parents.” “I never saw any crafts that were being worked on,” she told the court.[iv]
Another mom told in detail what the defendant did to her son; it was more than showing or touching.
Being present for the guilty verdict was emotionally overwhelming for me; yet necessary. Those in the courtroom were told to keep all emotions and reactions to themselves for the sake of the jury who had worked tirelessly on the outcome of someone else’s future. We were instructed by the judge to leave the courtroom if we felt we could not abide by his rules. One sweet momma had to do just that. I chose to stay in the courtroom. I was about to listen to the pronouncement I had waited what seemed like a lifetime to hear. I understood and respected the judge and his reasoning yet found it almost impossible to follow. Years of waiting for necessary evidence, necessary non-family witnesses while knowing this man was having full access to children, yet unable to do anything about it due to the constraints of a former family court judge, weighed on my heart and mind thousands of times over the years.
I felt like a water balloon filled to four times its capacity but not allowed to bust, spill, leak or burst. Blood pulsated through my veins like hot lava while burning hot tears streamed down my face from searing bloodshot eyes while I attempted not to shake or let slip any groans or sobs.
I can’t imagine how the other moms in the courtroom felt. I’m sure we each reacted in our own way just like we each utilized different coping mechanisms through our individual circumstances involving the same perpetrator.
In two weeks the defendant will be sentenced for his guilty verdict. It is likely the minimum time will be 25 years without the possibility of parole. The defendant can be sentenced under ‘Jessica’s Law’: Among the key provisions of the law is classifying lewd or lascivious molestation on a person under the age of 12 as a life felony, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years old. The statute also requires that if an offender is sentenced to a term of years, he or she must be given lifetime probation following the imprisonment. Jessica’s Law is being applied to cases involving clergy, teachers and coaches; molesters and pedophilic offenders who seek employment in professions where they can target and prey upon child victims.
[i] Allen Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”, Independence Daily Reporter, June 3, 2014
[ii] Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”
[iii] Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”
[iv] Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”