Saturday, June 09, 2007

Baptist confront sex offenders in Texas

We have two stories out of Texas this morning regarding the Baptist Church confronting wayward pastors. Both stories are encouraging steps in the right direction.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) has launched a program to crack down on clergy sex abuse. The BGCT launched a website that names known sex offenders who have worked in Texas Baptist Churches. They have also made it easier to report offenders.

"The BGCT is concerned about the problem of clergy sexual misconduct, and we care deeply about its victims," said Emily Prevost, a staff member who has helped implement the changes.

The website is focused and informative. If you are a registered sex offender who has worked at a BGCT-affiliated church, then your name appears on the list.

  • Andrew Argent – Currently serving sentence for indecency with a child and sexual assault of a child.
  • Joshua Ross Hyles – Texas DPS sex offender database SID# 05941153
  • Michael Lee Jones – Texas DPS sex offender database SID# 06217201
  • Joel Dean Joslin – Texas DPS sex offender database SID# 07106980
  • John O. McKay, Jr. – Currently serving sentence for sexual assault.
  • Larry Nuell Neathery – Convicted of sexual assault and indecency with a child.
  • Morris David Roberts – Texas DPS sexual offender database SID# 07151613
  • Frank William Sizemore - Texas DPS sexual offender database SID# 02014333
  • Kenneth Eugene Ward – Texas DPS sexual offender database SID# 06191027

I applauded the BGCT. This is exactly the right thing to do.

The second story comes care of the Zen Curmudgeon. The BGCT's effort to rehabilitate clergy who have committed misconduct or abuse is refreshing and another step in the right direction.

“In the event a minister has committed sexual abuse, he should not be restored to service in ministry in any position in which others look up to him as a spiritual leader,” Brown said. “The weapons used by clergy sex abusers are the faith and trust of others and the mantle of authority that the church and denomination puts on their shoulders. These weapons must be taken away and cannot safely be put into their hands again.”

I agree with their approach. There is a difference between people who have committed misconduct, and people who have committed abuse. Drawing a line between the two is important. Making sure abusers never get a second chance is the goal. Misconduct... well, people need a second chance. A two year program seems to address the problem.

The two-year program began with six months of career assessment, intense personal counseling and prohibition on any ministry-related involvement. During the second six months, the minister was allowed limited volunteer involvement in ministry and was required to participate in monthly counseling sessions. In the next six months, the minister was permitted to do vocational Christian work under close supervision. The last six months was spent preparing for re-entry into full-time vocational ministry.

I have hope. Texas might be on the right track.


Psychodiva said...

I do hope that they succeed in this- however, largely because I am a specialist working with sex offenders I am a little cynical- are they aware that some sexual predators will spend years grooming the environment in which they want to offend? they will not offend during this time and will hold off doing so until they are in a position of trust - so a lot of priests and ministers will not offend on their way up through the heirarchy and only do it once they have reached a poisition where it is difficult for others to speak out about them- so two years of treatment may mean nothing to these people- and putting them back into full ministry after only two years is asking for further abuse to happen- In my opinion they should never again be aloowed to be in a position of trust

Mojoey said...

planning for years? geez - I had always thought their crimes more of an impulse control issue.

Mojoey said...

Also - I agree on not letting them back into a position of trust. I figure letting the serve through baking bread, or cutting the lawn, is about the level I would accept.

Peter Del Valle said...

Count me in for those whom are firmly and unalterably against ANY restitution to the clergy for ANY level of molestation, whether it be abuse or infraction. Indeed, not only should there be full denial of any level of leadership, if they are on the Megans Law registry, they should be completely segregated from all children and potential victims for the duration of their registration period.

That is why I've been advocating the creation of sex offender colonies where all sex offenders would be interred for the duration of their registration period. THAT is the only legal, constitution, and frankly, sane way of dealing with anyone who has committed a serious crime against our children.

For a rather indepth post on the intricacies of creating an amendment to the US constitution, click HERE (my comment is the first one posted following the blog post). Thank you for letting me weigh in on this highly volatile issue, and remember: the safety of our children is the ONLY thing that matters.

Carolyn Ann said...

Besides using them as Christmas decorations, hanging them by the balls is surely a reasonable gesture?

Alas, it is only a gesture.

Carolyn Ann

Debbie said...

I think there may be some who are trying to help and make change. But from what I have seen and experienced -- I felt like this was more of a PR thing than actually trying to do something that would really help.
Who is to judge the motives
People like that do not make it obvious and they are not going to come out and tell the truth - If they did then they would not be able to continue doing it.
NO ONE who has abused a child should be allowed back in the ministry that gives that person the ability to abuse again.
I do not know the true heart of the BGCT but thus far they have proven to me that they really do not care or they just do not understand that their system does not work.
Being a victim that can prove that this minister is the father of my child and has a tape recording that shows it started when I was 14 -- should be enough
and me telling them that this man is still the pastor of a Baptist Church and that I had concerns for another girl in that church -- should have prompted some sort of action -- at the very least to inform his church back in Feb of 06. I was told that they were sorry but could do nothing
I again informed them of the situation and again was told they are sorry but could do nothing.
In fact the last e-mail I got from them told me to call to find out how to get the church to report him. THE PROBLEM is they are trying to protect him - or the few that are suppose to represnt the church and they have deemed it that the church body as whole do not need to know. They are not releasing to his church the whole truth. So what good does it do to say the church has to report him?
I do NOT understand -- if you have proof and it is not he said she said then why cannot something be done.
And just showing those convicted does not do a lot. Most people, including myself, cannot tell when they are young and when they are finally able to the statue of limitation stops it from becoming on legal record - conviction. Therefore the majority of those who are abusing our children can continue to do so and by not giving the other names -- you are helping them. The BGCT own words show that the people on the list have confessed or be convicted or they have overwhelming evidence against. So why would you not want their names published. I mean for real not the PR stuff you say every time. Plus not all churches even know about the list and to ask. I know that for a fact, as I have informed some churches that did not know about this.
There is something wrong when we are more interested in protecting our ministers over our children.
Please come up with something that would really help.
I know that some good suggestions have been made. It is time to take stronger steps and stop just saying words. Telling me that you are sorry and that you care -- are false words if action does not follow.
I am sorry, but I do not understand.

joedorkmadein1999 said...
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