When a Pastor is Convicted Does He Deserve a Reduced Sentence?

In virtually every case of clergy sex abuse I see, the accused, family, friends and church members plead for minimal or commuted sentences based on the wonderful acts and invaluable service the guilty party has devoted his life to in the balance of his existence. They say we must forgive because God forgives, and they say the man is not a monster, implying he is not to be compared to “truly evil doers” like perhaps Ted Bundy.

What is a monster anyway? Is the measure of a monster determined by physical appearance, tone of voice, career choices and the relative number of hours in one’s life that are spent in positive pursuits compared to the number of hours spent in active destructive evil? Or can a single act or two, which do incalculable damage to the life of another, be quite simply enough?

It is not what is outside a man which determines who he is. It is who he is inside. Who he is inside is what drives a man (or woman) to molest and sexually assault children. “Only one or two” is one or two entire lives too many.

Is Satan a monster or an angel? Of course, he cannot be redeemed, but he was created an angel.

There is no person on earth who is a monster. A monster is a mythical creature. Ted Bundy isn’t a monster. Charles Manson isn’t a monster. The most heinous criminal you can imagine isn’t a monster. And the pastor who was convicted of sexually assaulting two children 30 years ago and no one knows of any others is no different from Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, or any other criminal. They have all committed crimes worthy of consequences which include long-term, perhaps life-long, incarceration.

There is a fundamental truth people are overlooking. God does not give people a free pass on their consequences because they have been “more good than bad” according to some people’s standard of measure. Pedophiles have, in just one moment, done more harm than they can ever do good in an entire lifetime of stellar service, period.

God can redeem, God can forgive – but God does not give a free pass on the consequences — for either the victims or the offender. Victims serve a “life sentence” of consequences for what may occur in a moment’s time. Why does anyone think the offender has any right to a commuted sentence because “it happened so long ago” or “it was just once or twice” or “he’s really a wonderful man” or “he’s not a monster.”

We confuse human emotions and a human tendency to quantify evil with the reality of the law of sowing and reaping. God does not do that. Justice has nothing to do with feelings. God’s natural law of sowing and reaping, which, like the law of gravity, transcends the law of grace, demands consequences for actions.

And when God’s people say otherwise they are guilty of violating God’s direct Word on this subject. This is not acceptable. As long as this state exists in the church, and to the extent to which it remains, the church is crippled.

Statistics on Pornography, Sexual Addiction, and Online Perpetrators

This information is courtesy of Safe Families.



Pornography Addiction and Industry Statistics

As of 2003, there were 1.3 million pornographic websites; 260 million pages (N2H2, 2003).

The total porn industry revenue for 2006: $13.3 billion in the United States; $97 billion worldwide (Internet Filter Review).

U.S. adult DVD/video rentals in 2005: almost 1 billion (Adult Video News).
Hotel viewership for adult films: 55% (cbsnews.com).

Unique worldwide users visiting adult web sites monthly: 72 million (Internet Filter Review).

Number of hardcore pornography titles released in 2005 (U.S.): 13,588 (Internet Filter Review).

Adults admitting to Internet sexual addiction: 10%; 28% of those are women (internet-filter-review.com).

More than 70% of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month (comScore Media Metrix).

More than 20,000 images of child pornography posted online every week (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 10/8/03).

Approximately 20% of all Internet pornography involves children (National Center for Mission & Exploited Children).

100,000 websites offer illegal child pornography (U.S. Customs Service estimate).

As of December 2005, child pornography was a $3 billion annual industry (internet-filter-review.com).

“At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half such cases. Pornography had an almost non-existent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago.” (Divorcewizards.com)

Christians, Pastors and Church Pornography Statistics

A 1996 Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event.

51% of pastors say cyber-porn is a possible temptation. 37% say it is a current struggle (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, 12/2001).

Over half of evangelical pastors admits viewing pornography last year.

Roger Charman of Focus on the Family’s Pastoral Ministries reports that approximately 20 percent of the calls received on their Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior.

In a 2000 Christianity Today survey, 33% of clergy admitted to having visited a sexually explicit Web site. Of those who had visited a porn site, 53% had visited such sites “a few times” in the past year, and 18% visit sexually explicit sites between a couple of times a month and more than once a week.

29% of born again adults in the U.S. feel it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual behavior (The Barna Group).

57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005).

Statistics on Women with Pornography Addiction

28% those admitting to sexual addiction are women (internet-filter-review.com).

34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn in a recent poll and 1 out of every 6 women, including Christians, struggles with an addiction to pornography (Today’s Christian Woman, Fall 2003).

Statistics on Pornography’s Effect on Families and Marriages

47% percent of families said pornography is a problem in their home (Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003).

The Internet was a significant factor in 2 out of 3 divorces (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2003 – divorcewizards.com).

Statistics on Child Pornography Use

9 out of 10 children aged between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, in most cases unintentionally (London School of Economics January 2002).

Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography: 11 years old (internet-filter-review.com).

Largest consumer of Internet pornography: 12 – 17 year-old age group (various sources, as of 2007).

Adult industry says traffic is 20-30% children (NRC Report 2002, 3.3).

Youth with significant exposure to sexuality in the media were shown to be significantly more likely to have had intercourse at ages 14 to 16 (Report in Pediatrics, April, 2006).

“Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions.”
– U.S. Department of Justice, Post Hearing Memorandum of Points and Authorities, at l, ACLU v. Reno, 929 F. Supp. 824 (1996).

Statistics on Online Perpetrators

1 in 7 children who use the internet have been sexually solicated – 2005. (Internet Filter Review)

1 in 4 kids participate in Real Time Chat. (FamilyPC Survey, 2000).

1 in 5 children (10 to 17 years old) receives unwanted sexual solicitations online (Youth Internet Safety Survey, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001).

2 in 5 abductions of children ages 15-17 are due to Internet contact (San Diego Police Dept.).

76% of victims in Net-initiated sexual exploitation cases were 13-15, 75% were girls. “Most cases progressed to sexual encounters” – 93% of the face-to-face meetings involved illegal sex (Journal of Adolescent Health, November 2004).