Church Protection Against Child Abusers is Essential

This article courtesy of TransWorld News.

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Note: This is a column by Bill Emeott, lead childhood ministry specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources.

From all outward signs, John seemed to be a wonderful sixth-grade boys’ Sunday school teacher. He prepared, attended leadership meetings, participated in outreach and even spent time with the boys outside of Sunday school. But something went wrong.

It was late one Wednesday evening when the call came to the pastor’s home. A parent of one of John’s students began to share incredible accusations. “Know that the church will be hearing from our attorney,” was the final comment.

Completely bewildered, the pastor sought the advice of a local attorney. The attorney’s first question was, “What does your church do to ensure that minors (anyone under the age of 18 ) are protected from abusive conduct by adults?” The sick feeling in the pastor’s stomach grew as he confessed, “Nothing.”

Reports of abusive conduct toward children by adults are shocking. One doesn’t have to look far to see how widespread such accounts have become. It is estimated that one out of every four girls and one out of six boys will experience some form of sexual abuse by age 18. Churches cannot expect to remain unaffected by this problem.

So, what is a church to do? The answer is: Everything possible to screen and monitor those working with minors at church!

Implementing safety and security policies is no longer an option. Standard policies, including the “6/2” rule, are a must. This simple policy states that anyone working with children or youth must be an active member of your church for at least six months before assuming a position of leadership and that there will be at least two adults in the room with minors at all times. These easy to implement policies will go far in discouraging predators.

Next, include a Volunteer Worker Application and follow-up interview as part of your policies. Having current and prospective leaders complete an application form and conducting formal interviews with each will show your church, your community and possible predators that your church is watching and concerned for the safety of children.

Protection policies are incomplete without an official criminal background check. Many insurance companies are requiring churches to complete checks as a prerequisite to coverage. Completing background checks on every adult working directly with minors demonstrates a desire and intent to protect children.

The bottom line is: It is our responsibility to protect minors at church. Yes, it may be a difficult transition and sometimes uncomfortable but, protection is not an option. The mental, emotional and spiritual development of children is at stake. Don’t ignore the possibilities. Ensure that your church is a loving and safe environment for children to grow in their relationship with their Lord and His church.

For up-to-date news and information regarding LifeWay Christian Resources, visit http://www.lifeway.com/news.

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Former Youth Pastor Peter Kim Sentenced in Child Sex Abuse Case

The sad thing about this story is, though multiple former victims came forward, charges were filed for one victim only, and this 20-year predator got one year in prison, with a lifetime on probation. One year??? That’s insulting.

This story courtesy of Daily Camera.

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By Vanessa Miller

Twenty years ago, the first of what would become several women and teenage girls said she was “groomed” and sexually assaulted by a youth pastor who served at various Colorado churches — including Longmont’s Central Presbyterian Church.

Today — after years of court hearings on sex-assault charges, multiple arrests for bond violations and a Boulder County trial that ended in a hung jury — Peter Kim was sentenced to one year in prison and a lifetime of probation.

He also must register as a sex offender when he leaves prison.

Kim, 40, pleaded guilty in March to having a sexual relationship for three years — between 2001 and 2004 — with a Longmont teenager he met at Central Presbyterian, 402 Kimbark St.

Although prosecutors asked Boulder County District Court Judge D.D. Mallard to impose a 20-year probation sentence for Kim after prison, Mallard said his extensive criminal history warrants a lifetime of probation.

“You need to be under monitoring for the rest of your life,” Mallard told Kim, “unless you can prove different.”

During the sentencing hearing, the victim from Central Presbyterian addressed the court about the impact his advances have had on her life.

“I was seduced by my youth pastor,” the woman said, choking back tears. “I have lost the ability to love and truly be loved.”

It is the Camera’s policy not to print the names of sex-assault victims.

During the hearing, several alleged victims — including women and their parents — addressed the court about Kim’s criminal behavior and how his actions changed their lives.

One woman, who said she was a victim of Kim’s “grooming” behavior and sexual advances while attending a church youth group in Denver years ago, told the court “I will no longer be a victim. I will be a survivor.”

In a letter read aloud by prosecutors, a third woman who said she was victimized by Kim while attending a youth group in 1988 urged the court to apply a sentence that will keep him from re-offending.

“If I and the other victims of Kim’s abuse can go on to lead productive lives, it is a testament to our strength and vitality, not to the triviality of Mr. Kim’s actions,” the letter read.

In addition to multiple charges of “sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust,” Kim repeatedly has been arrested for violating the conditions of his bond by continuing to have contact with children — including his own three kids, according to police and court records.

Here are some of the conditions of Kim’s probation, after his release from prison: He must comply with electronic monitoring, consume no alcohol or drugs, secure a job and stay away from the victims and children under age 18. He must enter a group that works with convicted sex offenders in denial of any wrongdoing, and he must comply with sexual-offender monitoring.