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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 10:36 AM
Original message
"260 reports of abuse yearly in Protestant churches "

This was an AP story that didn't seem to make headlines, in my opinion because it didn't fit the media's preferred story line of Catholic priests as abusers.

"260 reports of abuse yearly in Protestant churches "

June 15, 2007
BY ROSE FRENCH

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The three companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in America say they typically receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by clergy, church staff, volunteers or congregation members.

The figures offer a glimpse into what has long been an extremely difficult phenomenon to pin down -- the frequency of sex abuse in Protestant congregations.

Religious groups and victims' supporters have been interested in the figure ever since the Roman Catholic sex abuse crisis hit five years ago. The church has revealed that there have been 13,000 credible accusations against Catholic clerics since 1950 -- 228 a year.

Protestant numbers have been harder to come by because the denominations are less centralized than the Catholic church. Some of the only numbers come from three insurance companies -- Church Mutual Insurance Co., GuideOne Insurance Co. and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co. Together, they represent a large chunk of all U.S. Protestant churches.

http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/religion/429030,CST -...


About 1-2% of all men sexually abuse either children or teenagers. Many of them are clergy (including rabbis) or teachers or coaches because those jobs put them in regular contact with children or teenagers.

It's time to stop looking only at Catholic priests, or only at clergy, and realize how widespread the problem is. Other studies show that most men who abuse are married men, a category which does not include any Catholic priests.

There's an old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Prevention is the key to stopping child abuse. Parents have to teach their children to avoid situations where they are alone with adults other than trusted family members, and to resist and report inappropriate behavior from anyone, even a family member. They should also be taught that they can report such incidents to teachers, doctors, police officers.

Schools should reinforce this teaching since some parents won't teach their children and some will actually deny that their spouse or lover is abusing their child(ren) even though they know it's happening.

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. The question is, what happens to abusers in Protestant congregations?
Is there a cover-up and a shiny letter of recommendation to accompany the criminal to the next location? It wasn't the crime that caused the scandal, it was the cover-up.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. In protestant churches, the victim goes through the court system
in catholic churches, the church itself blocks out the court system and tries to deal with it internally.

by and large, that is the difference.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. But the Catholic Church was advised by psychologists to

spare children from having to go to court, make a financial settlement to the family, send the priest for treatment and when he was "cured," reassign him so his victim wouldn't see him again.

The Catholic Church has learned, at great expense -- in sorrow, not just dollars -- that the psychologists were wrong and they now refer cases to the police.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. I have a problem assigning sympathy to the church on this one.
whether advised by psychiatrists or not, the church had a legal and a moral obligation that supercedes "advice"
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Very often there is a cover-up among Protestants, as a matter of fact.

Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are particularly notorious for cover ups. The official Jehovah's Witness position is that if the accused man says he didn't do it, the kid is lying.

I also know of several incidents of rabbis who abused numerous kids and their communities tried to cover up their crimes. And they were Orthodox rabbis, too.

For years, decades probably, the bishops acted on the recommendations of psychologists who said they should make a financial settlement to the family and not involve the police because that would add to the child's trauma. The psychologists also told the bishops that the abusers could be cured with treatment but should be reassigned to another parish so the victim didn't have to see the abuser again. Of course the treatment didn't cure the men, but the bishops were being told it did and they then reassigned the men, as the psychologists recommended. Why haven't the alleged victims sued the psychologists?

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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. If people on this thread honestly think that abusive non-Catholic clergy don't cover up stuff
Then I have a wonderful bridge in Brooklyn you can have for a song.

I'd even bet money that this problem is worse in certain Protestant sects, specifically those with no oversight and who are run by a forceful, dictatorial "cult of personality" figure.

I have no love for the Church, but I'm frankly tired of so many posters acting like this is mostly a Catholic problem and a Catholic coverup.
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. It is far from a 'Catholic' problem.
Abuse occurs in all religious organizations, to deny that is to stick one's head in the sand.

It also occurs in non religious organizations. Men who are attracted to small children, whether same sex or not, seek out opportunities to be alone with them.

That is the biggest red flag to parents everywhere. If a man is taking a profound interest in a child that is not his, watch out.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. The mantle of religious authority
is convenient cover for a pervert, regardless of the denomination.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Bingo -- thank you
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
7. The Church and the Predator
There is a natural link between the church and sexual predators. In our society religion is given the patina of goodness. It is seen as many as the height of goodness. The clergy and representitives of these institutions naturally received an aura of goodness and trust as a result of this social bias.

The sexual predator is the exact opposite. They are condemned and hated by society. They are seen as the height of evil. But their predations are the results of drives and desires that they have little control of. They are aware of their status within the society if their nature were to be exposed. They battle with their internal urges in an attempt to be good. But often the urges are too strong and they seek assistance in order to combat these urges.

This is where some turn to religion. Because it is promoted as the height of goodness they believe that its effects will drive out the evil they believe is within them. They believe that by immersing themselves within the religion they can purge the feelings they have. Some see giving themselves entirely over to the religion and joining the clergy as a means of doing this.

But that is where the problem begins. Most clerical paths involved training in isolation or demand so much time that they are not exposed to the temptations that normally plague them. So they experience a respite from their internal struggle for a time. But nothing is actually done to correct the situation. Its just an absence of temptation.

Once they pass through and become a member of the clergy they are vested with the aura of trust that comes with such a position. But that trust is unearned and that is where the danger comes from. Once they enter back into society with that aura of trust people present themselves and their children to their care in the belief that they are men of God. That they are safe. And that is when the temptation returns inflated with the added impact of being a trusted individual. They are placed into positions of social control over others and emotional closeness beyond what they have ever experienced before. This is often overwhelming and the urges come back stronger and more invasive than ever before.

And because the various churches have an interest in protecting their image of being trustworthy and the height of goodness they will cover such things up and try to sweep them under the rug. Thus it becomes a truly horrendous situation where the predator instead of seeking real help hides within the patina of goodness. Both from themselves and from society.
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sniffa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
11. so the probLem is regLigion
or christian reLigions.

i wish the media wouLd report on that!
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I don't think the problem is religion, the problem is hierarchy.
When a group of people are raised above others so they assume automatic respect, watch out.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Check the secular schools. Even more molestation
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