Shining light on Baptist clergy sex abuse  
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"In other denominations, pastors know that if charges are brought, truth will win out... Most Baptists and nondenominational ministers know that ‘If I get caught, I can move to California and start a new church.’”

Joe Trull, 1/23/07

Child sexual abuse in churches can't be ignored, EthicsDaily, 5/31/10 ("Since the late 1990s, denominational judicatories in the mainline Protestant traditions have taken formal... policy steps to prevent and report all forms of sexual abuse in their churches.")

Church leaders struggle to protect kids from sex abuse, The Sacramento Bee, 1/19/10 ("Southern Baptists are not required to screen any church workers.")



PC (USA) grieves over abuse on mission field, Christian Post, 10/15/10 ("Though many of the abuses occurred in the past, the IARP said the Church must acknowledge the sins of the past and address it in order to move toward healing, accountability and eventual prevention of abuse.")

Panel completes investigation of abuse claims; pursues truth, healing and justice, Presbyterian Church (USA), 10/8/10 ("We have heard their voices and acknowledge their very real pain.")

Kudos! (An independent review for reports of clergy sex abuse. Outreach and help for abuse survivors. Honoring those who report abuse as “witnesses to truth.”)

Church commission says minister had sex with minor, 11/13/08

Church court to rule on sex abuse allegations, 4/23/08 (News report on Presbytery's consideration of allegations that minister abused 14-yr old in mid-1980s)

Woman accuses former youth pastor of sex abuse (Presbytery's finding of "sufficient evidence" allows for media reporting and commencement of church trial, but accused pastor is not required to step down pending church-trial.)


Episcopal bishop calls for abused to step up, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/13/10 (Bishop issued "abject apology" for deceased bishop who was denominationally determined to have 4 credible allegations of abuse against him. Episcopal Church went public with information and made a press release reaching out to other possible victims. More on the contrast with Baptist inaction.)

Pennsylvania Episcopal bishop ousted in cover-up, 10/3/08

Episcopal bishop ousted over covering up abuse, EthicsDaily, 10/6/08

Episcopal Church convicts Pa. bishop of cover-up, 6/26/08 (Bishop held accountable for having covered up for his minister-brother's abuse of a teen girl in the 1970s.) Episcopal Church reinstates the bishop, three years later, after denominational appeals process, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/5/10.)

Pennsylvaia bishop who failed to report sex abuse is suspended, 10/31/07 (Allegedly, he failed to provide pastoral care to the 14-yr old girl, failed to inform the girl's parents, failed to report the other minister's abuse, and failed to investigate whether there might be other victims. By contrast, Southern Baptist leaders typically don't even do anything about reported clergy perpetrators, much less hold accountable those who keep quiet.)

Episcopal diocese releases timeline chronicling claims of sexual abuse, 9/8/07 (Example of action: (1) Hired independent investigatory firm; (2) Notified church members where priest had worked; (3) informed people of the allegations; (4) Reached out to try to find other possible victims...and did; (5) Offered assistance to victims; and (6) Made a public apology)

Episcopal priest suspended, 8/22/07 (The diocese received a complaint and immediately began an investigation. The priest was suspended from ministry pending investigation. The diocese's investigation revealed 3 more victims. The diocese informed NY police and the other dioceses in which the priest had worked.)

Retired priest investigated for sexual misconduct, 5/25/2007 (Denominational leaders investigated abuse allegations; they used an outside investigator; they notified people who had been in contact with the accused priest; denominational leaders apologized to the victims.)

Diocese reports new abuse claims, 6/27/2007 (Denominational leaders informed people affiliated with the church and school about the allegations; denominational leaders informed people that the claims "had substance"; denominational officials investigated the claims; denominational officials alerted authorities in two cities; denominational officials publicly asked anyone with information to contact them; it did all this even though the accused has never been charged with a crime.)

Disciples of Christ

Why predatory clergy flourish, 9/17/09 (The Christian Church will circulate minister information for hiring by churches only with a background check attached.)


A path to healing, 4/25/2007 (The victim only had to report to one place; the denomination had a review process; the abuse was acknowledged; denominational leaders informed people in other congregations.)


Investigation clears Denver metro-area priest of decades old abuse allegation, Denver Post, 1/3/11 (Regional review board of the archdiocese, which includes both lay people and church staff, conducted investigation and concluded the abuse allegation was not supported by evidence. No doubt a totally independent review board would be better, but a regional review process is still light-years ahead of what Southern Baptists do, which is to give accusers no option other than going to the local church of the accused minister himself -- i.e., the very place where he has the most influence.)

Denver archbishop defends removal of priest after allegations of sexual abuse, Denver Post, 4/13/10 (Philip Jenkins said that "in 20 years of research, he found no credible evidence that Catholic priests are more likely to be involved in sexual abuse than clergy of any other denomination, celibate or not, or of any non-clerical profession dealing with children.")

Longtime Colorado priest removed from duties after allegation of sexual abuse decades ago, Denver Post, 4/12/10 (Victim was able to report to archdiocese office; claim was outside limitations for criminal prosecution but archdiocese took action; priest was immediately suspended; parishioners and the public were alerted; his places of employment were released from his personnel file.)

Priest was ousted at St. Mary's, 2/19/09 (letter deeming claim 'credible'... priest barred from public board backed the woman and offered therapy)

Review finds retired Catholic bishop guilty of sex abuse, 11/3/08 (reporting of lay review board determinations)

Suspended priests often carry on quietly near former parishes, 10/20/08 ("Most...never faced criminal charges.... But they did face a wrenching end to their way of life.")

Sexual misconduct charge made against late Decatur priest, 9/8/08 (When a deceased priest was accused, the diocese reported it to a review board and it was determined to be a credible allegation. The diocese offered the victim counseling and even contacted the newspaper, consistent with "the diocese's policy of openly airing allegations of sexual abuse.")

Former Catholic high school principal suspended following abuse allegations, 7/29/08 (priest suspended pending investigation; information on places he worked is available; counseling is offered; victims assistance office is available)

While some move on, effects are 'never over', 7/13/08 ("The walk up those stairs is a heroic walk... The archdiocese helps pay for counseling.")

Diocese releases names of 'credibly accused' abusers, 7/11/08 (diocese's standard for "credibly accused")

Retired priest removed from ministry after 'credible' allegation, 3/18/08

Retired city priest removed from ministry following abuse allegation, 3/17/08 (priest removed from ministry after finding that allegation was "credible" and letter distributed in every parish where he worked)

Suspect priests not monitored, Arizona Daily Star, 7/30/2007 ("The diocesan standard for 'credible' is that the abuse not only could have happened but probably did happen. That's a lower standard than that of the criminal justice system's 'beyond a reasonable doubt.'")

Limits on sex abuse suits set for debate, 6/18/2007 (The diocese continued to provide counseling for victims.)

Should we put a time limit on justice?, 6/17/2007 ("The truth is that the Catholic Church does, in fact, have the records -- and therein lies their real concern. As Father Tom Doyle testified..., canon law requires that the church keep such records....")

Orthodox Church in America:

Top Canadian archibishop arrested, charged with sexual assault, Ethics Daily, 11/30/10 (The Orthodox Church in America created its own internal commission to probe allegations.)

Ottawa archbishop investigated on abuse allegations, The Star, 10/5/10 (Note the existence of an "Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations.")

African Methodist Episcopal Church:

Church meeting is city's largest convention of year, 7/3/08 (AME has "church-run investigative committees" to consider clergy abuse claims even when "criminal charges have never been filed.")

Evangelical Church of the Rhineland (second-largest Protestant denomination in Germany):

German Protestant church issues apology for sexual abuse by clerics, The Christian Century, 4/20/2010 (Issued public apology and set up structures to help victims and discipline offenders, even for cases long past limitations.)