Sunday, November 6

Sexual Abuse in Church - Carl Chinn - "Think About It"

Reposed with Permission from

Posted 11/6/11 From Carl Chinn - "Think About It"

There has been nothing unusual about sexual abuse in churches in recent days. As usual, there have been a lot of awful stories to read.
On Friday, 11/4, news came out of Cypress, TX that a 32-year old youth pastor was arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year old girl in the youth group.  This happened in a very good evangelical church, led by a sincere pastor credentialed in Psychology, Religion and Christian Counseling and well known for his effective international conferences on marriage and family dynamics.
Yet under that canopy, 32-year old Chad Foster was unwittingly brought in as a youth pastor for the Community of Faith Church. Within a few months of that appointment, he took advantage of a 16-year old girl. What started as talking and texting, eventually ended in Foster’s home where he and the girl had sex a number of times.
On Thursday, 11/3, news came out of Murrieta, CA that the 41-year old founder and pastor of a church was arrested for having sexual relations with a 15-year old girl he had started counseling in 2008. A little math would indicate she was 12 or 13-years old when some kind of relationship began. The girl and her mother had come to the church for help, after coming out of a domestic violence past. The church had taken them in, and even given the mother a job for a season.
But the mother had grown uncomfortable with the amount of time pastor Matthias Anderson  of New Wine Ministries was spending with her daughter, and left the church. She had recently discovered e-mails that suggested the two were continuing to see each other, and was finally able to get her daughter to admit they had been engaging in sex for some years.
On Wednesday, 11/2, news came out of Marengo, IL that a 39-year old youth minister was arrested in an on-line underage sex sting.  Marengo First Assembly of God youth minister Barry Caudle thought he was having internet conversations with a 14-year old girl interested in sex with him, but it was actually an undercover law enforcement sting operation to catch pedophile activity.
When the married man continued communication with this girl, he crossed the line of “grooming and unlawful luring of a minor” which resulted in his arrest which stunned the church leadership.  
On Wednesday, 10/26, news came out of Logan, OH that a 30-year old youth pastor was arrested for having sex with a 13-year old girl in his youth group This time it occurred in the Logan Church of the Nazarene where Travis Branstetter served as Youth Pastor. As such he became interested in the young girl, and would take her hunting with him. At some point those woodland expeditions led to sex.
When investigators did finally get the girl to admit to what was happening, she detailed approximately 10 sexual encounters with her youth pastor.
·         All of these children thought they were in a loving consensual relationship. Those who took advantage of their vulnerabilities and trust were filthy predators engaging in gross pedophilia. There is a reason “consensual” is irrelevant under the age of 16.
·         Churches of all faiths need to step up leadership selection, management and accountability procedures in light of this serious issue. In most of the stories in this category I have read through the years, the issue of negligence on the part of the church was easy to establish by the prosecution.
·         This subject has been viewed as a “Catholic problem” by many. I did not choose a week on purpose that had no Catholic stories. It isn’t hard to find news stories of all faiths –Mormon, Islamic, Catholic, Amish, Jewish, and Protestant – no faith is free of such vial sexual activity.
·         The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops now leads the charge in battling this issue. They have published the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and update that document as needed. It is an excellent template for any faith taking this issue seriously. Even if you are Protestant like me, please read this document. It is a profound model developed through painful experience, and can be easily edited to fit any faith. I hope other faiths can be more proactive and avoid adding to this tragic list of victims.
·         Become familiar with Boy Scouts of America, Codes of Conduct. There are many applicable models for a church in there as well (see especially article IV, items 10: “the 2 deep rule” & 11: “the rule of 3”)
·         The next TAI will be about youth training. It was written in part due to this serious issue of sexual abuse in church.

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