Our church just completed a Registered Sex Offender (RSO) Policy. Will you review it and tell us if it’s adequate?
We frequently encounter this (seemingly simple) question in our law practice.
In reality, the issue is multi-faceted and complex, and tends to kick off a broader discussion. In the larger conversation, this ‘simple’ query should be preceded by a half-dozen more pertinent questions before putting RSO policies in place. This writing’s purpose is to posit the topics a church should evaluate before offering ministry services to known offenders. We will not attempt an exhaustive analysis of the criminal justice system, the sex offender registration system, various tiers of offenders or state-by-state analysis of relevant legal issues. Instead, this article will draw upon concepts discussed in prior articles in this series in an attempt to provide ministry leaders a better understanding of the challenges inherent in the provision of ministry services to known offenders.
PRINCIPLES AND DEFINITIONS
The following principles and definitions shape the larger conversation.