CBF minister arrested

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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu May 23, 2019 6:15 am

My greatest problem with our Baptist handling of sexual predators has always been and still is that we as churches focus on the "damage to the church if this sort of thing is revealed," as expressed a few years ago by an SBC pres. The swift dismissal of staff who are told to leave and all will be covered has been wrong. Now the greatest reputational damage to the church is coming because when laws governing sexual behavior have been violated, churches have become complicit in hiding the crime. I'm a bit hard-nosed on this, but whether it's in Baptist churches, Methodist, Presbyterian, independent, or the RCC, immediate prosecution should be the norm, not the exception. Even for ministers, if you commit the crime, you should do the time. The legal system is better equipped to deal with sex offenders than are most churches. I think it's the only way to recover our reputations. By the way, I have encountered parents who no longer allow their children to attend church youth groups after almost every headline of this type comes out. The stories recently from the "Houston Chronicle" exposed the real extent of this among Baptists in the South. The only disciple available for CBF or the SBC, given our current polity, is simply to decline to receive contributions from churches, not exactly a powerful carrot or stick.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu May 23, 2019 9:51 am

Dave Roberts wrote "Even for ministers, if you commit the crime, you should do the time. The legal system is better equipped to deal with sex offenders than are most churches."

Ed: Dave, I agree that "if you commit the crime, you should do the time", but tell me just how the legal system is better equipped to deal with sex offenders than are most churches. Yes I do note you said "most churches" but does that not suggest that their are Churches at leas equally as well equipped ? My studied opinion is that while the legal system overall is reasonably good at catching prosecuting and punishing offenders yet fail miserably at rehabilitation and changing behavior. Some Churches are better than others at being instruments of change than are others. In part I believe this is because most church leadership wants to avoid responsibility.

I think participants on this board could seek out a few churches and church based organizatios such as the OATS Institute that work at positve change in their commmunites and get some hints on what the churches many of us attend could do. Churches that say we are too small have a god that is too small and unrelated to the creator.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby KeithE » Thu May 23, 2019 11:24 am

I can understand where Dave is coming from. The legal system has dealt with many more sexual harassment/abuse/rape cases than has the typical church or denomination (with possible exception of the RCC , but that is not what we are talking about here). They are better equipped to deal with investigations, charging, judicial due process, and penalties.

BUT

Perhaps Ed has these statistics (or more likely his own life learning experiences) in mind.

Image
Source and more info/statistical methods : Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
Perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison than other criminals.
4.6 incarcerations out of 1000 rapists go free
20 incarcerations out of 1000 robbers go free
33 incarcerations out of 1000 assault/battery perps go free

I’m sure that there are false cases of rape reported; but I’m also sure many of the guilty walk free.

With such a record, why should we rely on the police/legal system? Can churches do it better?

This is a close call but I guess I would say:

Churches should suspend any staff member who has a credible case levied against him/her and then hand the case over to the police/legal system to see what will happen there. But the church has to make the decision to suspend (and may have denominational guidance to assist in those decisions). And the church / denomination has to make the decision to reinstate the accused if the legal system does not incarceration. I not sure know “damage to the church's” reputation can be muted in these decisions.

I any case I would hope the church would play a redemptive role to both the accuser and accused.

--------------

Ed, I do not see where the Oates Institute (not OATS) in Louisville has any special advice for the issue here (minister’s sexual misconduct) among the 100’s of webinars, videos, books or resources that they offer.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu May 23, 2019 4:44 pm

KeithE wrote:I can understand where Dave is coming from. The legal system has dealt with many more sexual harassment/abuse/rape cases than has the typical church or denomination (with possible exception of the RCC , but that is not what we are talking about here). They are better equipped to deal with investigations, charging, judicial due process, and penalties.

BUT

Perhaps Ed has these statistics (or more likely his own life learning experiences) in mind.

With such a record, why should we rely on the police/legal system? Can churches do it better?

Ed: Keith you are right, I had not seen this exact set of statistics but it is quite similar to many that I have seen as a part of life learning experience.

For the most part I agree with you that

"Churches should suspend any staff member who has a credible case levied against him/her and then hand the case over to the police/legal system to see what will happen there. But the church has to make the decision to suspend (and may have denominational guidance to assist in those decisions). And the church / denomination has to make the decision to reinstate the accused if the legal system does not incarceration. I not sure know “damage to the church's” reputation can be muted in these decisions.""

Except the next to the last line And the church / denomination has to make the decision to reinstate the accused if the legal system does not incarceration.

I see the spell checker is playing with you, I think you mean incarcerate rather than incarceration. ;'} Just because the system does not lock up the accused does not mean they are not guilty.


and Keith I agree, I any case. I would hope the church would play a redemptive role to both the accuser and accused.

--------------

Ed, I do not see where the Oates Institute (not OATS) in Louisville has any special advice for the issue here (minister’s sexual misconduct) among the 100’s of webinars, videos, books or resources that they offer.



Ed: Keith, the Oates Institute utilizes a wholeistic approach to deal with problems be they sexual abuse, psychological harrasment or what ever. There is no one size fits all approach.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri May 24, 2019 5:56 am

My point in this was to stress the failure of churches to deal with accusations of sexual misconduct by staff members and pastors by allowing them to get quickly out of town promising that if they do, nothing will ever be said to another church or group that might affect their future employment. The cover ups have been far too visible among Baptists in the past.

As to rehab, I have worked directly in two different churches to make the accommodations and execute protections in order for registered sex offenders to attend and participate in some church activities. These, at least under Virginia law, require working with both the probation officer, if the person is on probation, and with the counselor, if one is still being provided under the terms of release. I am convinced we have a duty to do restorative work, but not foolishly trusting people to work these things out without supervision.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby JE Pettibone » Fri May 24, 2019 9:42 am

Dave Roberts wrote:My point in this was to stress the failure of churches to deal with accusations of sexual misconduct by staff members and pastors by allowing them to get quickly out of town promising that if they do, nothing will ever be said to another church or group that might affect their future employment. The cover ups have been far too visible among Baptists in the past.

As to rehab, I have worked directly in two different churches to make the accommodations and execute protections in order for registered sex offenders to attend and participate in some church activities. These, at least under Virginia law, require working with both the probation officer, if the person is on probation, and with the counselor, if one is still being provided under the terms of release. I am convinced we have a duty to do restorative work, but not foolishly trusting people to work these things out without supervision.



Ed: Dave, I am glad you have had experience working with "two different churches to make the accommodations and execute protections in order for registered sex offenders to attend and participate in some church activities." I assume you can not go into any detail of specific cases, but could you comment on the effectiveness?
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri May 24, 2019 1:42 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:My point in this was to stress the failure of churches to deal with accusations of sexual misconduct by staff members and pastors by allowing them to get quickly out of town promising that if they do, nothing will ever be said to another church or group that might affect their future employment. The cover ups have been far too visible among Baptists in the past.

As to rehab, I have worked directly in two different churches to make the accommodations and execute protections in order for registered sex offenders to attend and participate in some church activities. These, at least under Virginia law, require working with both the probation officer, if the person is on probation, and with the counselor, if one is still being provided under the terms of release. I am convinced we have a duty to do restorative work, but not foolishly trusting people to work these things out without supervision.



Ed: Dave, I am glad you have had experience working with "two different churches to make the accommodations and execute protections in order for registered sex offenders to attend and participate in some church activities." I assume you can not go into any detail of specific cases, but could you comment on the effectiveness?


One worked out very well for the individual involved and for the church. There were issues with the second which the church had to terminate because the individual was not supposed to be around children or youth and came to photograph children in a Christmas activity. The most important thing is clear communication and a supervision team in place to observe the individual while on the church grounds.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby Sandy » Fri May 24, 2019 10:33 pm

Dave Roberts wrote: My point in this was to stress the failure of churches to deal with accusations of sexual misconduct by staff members and pastors by allowing them to get quickly out of town promising that if they do, nothing will ever be said to another church or group that might affect their future employment. The cover ups have been far too visible among Baptists in the past.


This is what I don't understand. Why would a church promise someone who has been involved in sexual misconduct, especially of the kind where they used the trust placed in them as a minister, or involving minors, that they won't tell if they just "get out of town quickly?" If the accusations are either confessed, or proven with evidence, the accountability for churches that are independent, autonomous and congregational in polity is to follow through and make sure there is no "next church."
That can easily be done and still preserve local church autonomy.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 25, 2019 4:27 am

Sandy wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote: My point in this was to stress the failure of churches to deal with accusations of sexual misconduct by staff members and pastors by allowing them to get quickly out of town promising that if they do, nothing will ever be said to another church or group that might affect their future employment. The cover ups have been far too visible among Baptists in the past.


This is what I don't understand. Why would a church promise someone who has been involved in sexual misconduct, especially of the kind where they used the trust placed in them as a minister, or involving minors, that they won't tell if they just "get out of town quickly?" If the accusations are either confessed, or proven with evidence, the accountability for churches that are independent, autonomous and congregational in polity is to follow through and make sure there is no "next church."
That can easily be done and still preserve local church autonomy.


Generally, I think, to protect the reputation of the church and avoid embarrassment. Has happened frequently but lees so now. Other considerations:

1. A 'consensual ' case of sexual misconduct between adults is more likely to be handled privately, the minister packed off and a neutral reference given, especially if there is no admission of the behavior.
2. Abuse of a minor is a crime and, as we all know, there are mandatory reporting laws. Let law enforcement sort it out. The minister has a record, possibly an arrest record, but at least a report on record.
3. Sure, autonomous churches should want to make sure there is no subsequent abuse by the minister but, repeatedly, churches have preferred a quiet dismissal so as to not ruin the man's ministry. Criminal and foolish IMO to do this. Ruin it.
4. The perp who can't quite be pinned down with a confession or sufficient evidence for an arrest is a problem. The advocates call for denominations like the SBC to set up a panel that will receive and maintain reports from churches. Presumably, this group would be in a position to inform churches about perps. There are problems with this, though.

SBC (and other groups with similar polity) need to stop enabling clergy who are adulterers, pedophiles, sexual harassers and the like. The denomination can help the churches do this but only in a indirect manner.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 25, 2019 4:31 am

I don't think the CBF has a more positive record in this than the SBC. It's a complicated business as a result of polity.

The CBF and partner entities like BNG have done much more in reporting the problem than the SBC, although less so now than in earlier years.
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Re: CBF minister arrested

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat May 25, 2019 8:26 am

William Thornton wrote:I don't think the CBF has a more positive record in this than the SBC. It's a complicated business as a result of polity.

The CBF and partner entities like BNG have done much more in reporting the problem than the SBC, although less so now than in earlier years.


Actually, William, you are right. The SBC simply by size gets more exposure. Hiding the problem is a larger issue. There is no foolproof system to track every person, and even sex offender registries put people on them for different types of violations. For example, in Virginia, I know that a young man got on there for consensual sex with his 16 year-old girlfriend whose mother decided to prosecute him. He later married the girl, but the family is fractured in that the girls mother will never see her grandchildren because he daughter cannot forgive her. It's an imperfect system to classify someone. The greatest problem is often that churches do very little with checking candidates thoroughly. (Right now, I am interim in a church whose search committee is chaired by a retired law enforcement officer. I had no trouble convincing him to do background checks on serious candidates.)
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