Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"It wasn't a relationship. It was a crime."

"It wasn't a relationship. It was a predator situation. It was a crime." - Janet Mefferd

Caught on Tape: 5 Self-Serving Responses by Sex Offenders in the Church
Do you notice how each response keeps the focus and attention on the offender?  These responses clearly demonstrate that most child sexual offenders are extremely self-serving and dangerously manipulative.  It is critical for faith communities to recognize these characteristics and how they influence the way offenders think, act, and respond to abuse.
A better understanding of these vital truths may have propelled this church to focus on loving and serving a 14-year-old rape victim, not posting a re-traumatizing video it tragically celebrates as being the work of God.

Alicia Gray, Former Math Teacher, Releases Video Apology After Pleading Guilty To Sex With Student

Lake jury awards molested boy $12.5 million in verdict against Florida Baptist Convention

"The real truth of the verdict is that it's reaffirming," Weil said. "There's a great sense of vindication and justice. They should have protected him.

Lawyer: Abuse verdict possible game-changer

“Cases such as this are what it will take for kids to eventually gain better protection against preacher-predators in the Southern Baptist Convention,” Brown said. “And I believe it is only a matter of time before courts will recognize that, in the context of clergy sex abuse, Southern Baptists are distorting their doctrine of local church autonomy so as to make it function as a legal strategy for minimizing the risk of liability rather than as a true religious doctrine.”
 "She needs to be stopped."

Friday, January 17, 2014

Prevention of Abuse vs. Damage Control

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston
The church says there is no excuse for such violation of children, but victims groups say it's only a first step.
Amy Smith, of the Houston chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says, "It's not numbers and statistics that will protect kids: It's the decisive action that would entail not just releasing statistics but the names and whereabouts of those accused predator priests."
SNAP- Defrocking is more defense strategy than child protection
Here's the number Catholics should remember: zero. That's how many Catholic supervisors have been punished, worldwide, for enabling and hiding horrific clergy sex crimes. The Pope must start defrocking clerics who cover up sex crimes, not just clerics who commit them. Until that happens, little will change.
KPRC- Pope defrocked 400 priests in 2 years

Friday, January 10, 2014

Southern Baptists, the ERLC and the "devil-haunted universe"

Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation. Albert Schweitzer 

We held a SNAP media event yesterday outside Second Baptist Church in Houston in support of the victims of two former ministers there.

SNAP is worried about more possible victims of these two former Second Baptist ministers, both accused of crimes.

The first is Chad Foster, a young minister who was sentenced in April to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to raping a 16-year-old girl in 2011 and soliciting another teen online.
The second is Eddie Struble, a music minister who faces no civil or criminal charges but is the subject of a Spring Valley police report accusing him of stalking a boy in 2009.
SNAP says that Struble abused a boy (roughly from ages 14-17) who Struble met at the church.
Struble now helps lead worship at Birchman Baptist church in Fort Worth, TX. He has also taught private voice lessons and worked as a vocal coach at Hits Theatre in Houston http://www.hitstheatre.org/
After leaving Second Baptist Church, Struble worked at Humble Area First Baptist Church http://www.hafbc.com/ where he was reportedly asked to leave.
See my original post on concerns about Eddie Struble:   http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2011/10/whats-at-stake-protecting-and.html
Struble plays an active role in Southern Baptist Convention events. He was the worship leader for the NACBA (National Association of Church Business Administration) National Conference Planning Team in Houston in 2012. http://www.nacba.net/documents/annual%20report.pdf page 10
Last July, he led a session on “saving ministry dollars” at NACBA conference in Charlotte. http://www.nacba.net/Documents/2013_Conf_Brochure.pdf
SNAP believes that church officials have a moral and civic duty, when confronted with proof or credible allegations of wrongdoing, to aggressively seek out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers and beg them to call police and prosecuted so that those who commit or conceal crimes – especially against children – will be charged, convicted and jailed which prevents future crimes and cover ups.

 KUHF News
Members of a child abuse victim support group gathered outside a mega church in Houston today to highlight recent abuse cases involving ministers. The group urges victims of sexual abuse at churches to come forward. 

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Stop Baptists Predators updated: Will changing of the guard bring any change on clergy sex abuse?
Update 1/10/2014: Now we have yet another indication of how unlikely it is that Moore's leadership will bring any positive change in the SBC's denominational do-nothingness on clergy sex abuse. The ERLC has announced the formation of a "Leadership Network" to join with the ERLC in applying "the gospel of the kingdom to the major cultural issues of our day." Named to the "Leadership Council" for this new network is pastor Greg Belser of Morrison Heights Baptist Church -- a pastor who has been widely reported as having a role in one of the SBC's biggest clergy sex abuse cover-up scandals to date. In Belser's short bio on the ERLC's "Leadership Council" site, he talks about how the ERLC helps him in "resourcing our church for speaking courageously in the culture." In my opinion, Belser could show himself to be a great deal more courageous if he would submit hisown conduct to the review of an independent organization such as GRACE and let that organization speak to the truth of what happened in the Prestonwood/Morrison Heights scandal. In any event, Belser's appointment to the ERLC's "Leadership Council" doesn't bode well for anticipating any improvement in the SBC's blind-eyed nonresponsiveness on clergy sex abuse.

Newly Formed SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Initiative Is 'About Ministering in the Midst of a Devil-Haunted Universe'

"As we come alongside one another, we'll talk about crucial ethical issues confronting churches and how we can engage the culture with a Gospel-focus. We'll think through issues that aren't yet confronting churches, but will, and how we can best go through the difficulties of life and local church ministry with a joyful warrior kingdom expectancy-marching toward Zion on the triumphant side of history."
How about start with the crucial issues already confronting churches? What about the "devil-haunted universe" of child sex crimes committed by their own Baptist ministers? Or are we really looking at a case of the ERLC picking and choosing "crucial ethical issues" based on selective moral outrage? I can't think of any issue more pressing and damaging to churches and kids within churches today than the ravaging of souls by child sex offenders.

Startling Statistics: Child sexual abuse and what the church can begin doing about it

SNAP urges Baptists to speak out on abuse

John Langworthy's public confession at Morrison Heights Baptist Church