IL: Anglican church informs parishioners of sex offender attendee after three years

Source: religionnews.com 12/6/22 Church of the Resurrection, an Anglican church that serves as a diocesan seat in Wheaton, Illinois, whose leaders have faced criticism for how they handled sexual abuse allegations, informed congregants Friday (Dec. 2) that a registered sex offender has been attending the church since 2019. “We take with utmost seriousness the presence of someone who has committed a significant crime and will continue to show extreme care in the future,” Church of the Resurrection cathedral dean Steve Williamson wrote in an email to church members. … Hays…

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AZ: Judge limits privilege defense in AZ Mormon sex abuse case

Source: msn.com 8/19/22 An Arizona judge overseeing a high-profile lawsuit accusing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of conspiring to cover-up child sex abuse has ruled that the church may not refuse to answer questions or turn over documents under the state’s “clergy-penitent privilege.” Clergy in Arizona, as in many other states, are required to report information about child sexual abuse or neglect to law enforcement or child welfare authorities. But an exception to that law — the privilege — allows members of the clergy who learn of…

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Southern Baptists Refused to Act on Abuse, Despite Secret List of Pastors

UPDATED 5/24/22: Southern Baptist leaders say they will release list of alleged sex abusers [washingtonpost.com] Source: christianitytoday.com 5/22/22 Armed with a secret list of more than 700 abusive pastors, Southern Baptist leaders chose to protect the denomination from lawsuits rather than protect the people in their churches from further abuse. Survivors, advocates, and some Southern Baptists themselves spent more than 15 years calling for ways to keep sexual predators from moving quietly from one flock to another. The men who controlled the Executive Committee (EC)—which runs day-to-day operations of the…

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PA: Sharpsville church ‘disfellowshipped’ over pastor’s criminal past

[wkbn.com – 3/2/21] SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – A pastor in Sharpsville committed a crime long ago. Because of it, his church has been expelled from a prestigious national organization. The church is West Side Baptist, which was “disfellowshipped” last week by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist and Protestant denomination in the United States. The church is located on East Main Street in Sharpsville. It was expelled or disfellowshipped because of its pastor David Pearson. … The statement from West Side Baptist also claimed that…

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ID: 9th Circuit Reverses Trial Court Rulings Regarding Ex Post Facto, Religious Freedom

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that a federal trial court erred when it dismissed a case involving 134 registrants in Idaho who claimed that the state’s sex offender laws violated their civil rights. In its ruling today, the Court opened up the possibility that the Idaho laws at issue violated both the federal and state constitutions. One of the claims in the case is that the state’s sex offender laws violate the ex post facto provision of the U. S. Constitution. Many of the state laws at…

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Should your church accommodate known offenders?

[churchexecutive.com – 11/30/20] 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…

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TX: Texas church expelled from Southern Baptist Convention for hiring registered sex offender as pastor

[tennessean.com – 2/18/20] The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee expelled a Texas church Tuesday for employing a pastor who is a registered sex offender. The 80-plus member body, which acts on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention when it is not in session, took a vote to disfellowship Ranchland Heights Baptist Church in Midland, Texas, during its regularly scheduled meeting in Nashville. Ranchland Heights is “no longer to be considered in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention,” said the Rev. Mike Stone, chairman of the Executive Committee. Read the full article  

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TN: Tennessee bill would allow sex offenders to attend churches under certain conditions

[komonews.com – 1/27/20] NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) –Legislation proposed in the Tennessee General Assembly on Monday would allow sexual or violent sex offenders to attend church or another house of worship under certain circumstances. HB 1922 was filed by Representative Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain). Under the bill, the offender would be allowed to attend houses of worship for religious services or to receive educational or social support services. Read the full article  

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More churches are checking the national sex offender registry. Is it helping?

[religionnews.com – 7/30/19] Since they were first offered an opportunity to pool their resources and buy background checks on volunteers and employees at a discount 11 years ago, about a third of Southern Baptist churches have signed up for the OneSource program from LifeWay Christian Resources. Earlier this year, LifeWay reported that 16,000 congregations and other church organizations ran background checks on men and women it hired through a service called backgroundchecks.com. (The Southern Baptist Convention has so far resisted calls to set up a database of its own, saying…

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Southern Baptist leaders plan to remedy ‘insufficient’ approach to abuse claims

[upi.com – 6/4/19] Southern Baptists hope to take steps at their upcoming annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., to address continuing reports of sexual abuse in their denomination … The document also included a list of ways for state and regional groups to help churches handle sex offenders, including developing a covenant that, if violated, would limit their church attendance or access to church property. Easter said she considers offenders to be too dangerous to be permitted in a church gathering. “Predators should be ministered to by trained professionals separate from…

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Churches Under Fire for Allowing Sex Offenders to Attend Services

[pjmedia.com – 3/7/19] Several churches within the Churches of Christ denomination have come under fire for allowing sex offenders to attend services. Critics accuse those churches of failing to care for the victims. Defenders claim that those who are truly repentant should not be turned away. Most likely, this is a debate that is going to find its way into all denominations because the problem of sexual abuse is baring its ugly soul across denominational lines. The sexual abuse of minors is especially heinous. There is something about the betrayal…

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Southern Baptist Convention: What’s wrong with the proposed sexual abuse amendment to the SBC constitution

[baptistnews.com – 3/8/19] The Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee has proposed an amendment to the SBC constitution that would allow for churches to be disfellowshipped when they are determined to have “evidenced indifference in addressing sexual abuse.” Sounds good, right? But take a closer look. The amendment sets forth four examples of conduct the committee can consider as evidence of church indifference: (a) employing a convicted sex offender, (b) allowing a convicted sex offender to work as a volunteer in contact with minors, (c) continuing to employ a person who…

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PA: Family of Pedophile Pastor Now Spreads the Word on How To Prevent Abuse

[blackchristiannews.com – 1/28/19] SOMERSET, Pa. – Jimmy and Clara Hinton don’t want others to miss what they didn’t see for years: their father and husband, a respected pastor for years in his rural community, was keeping his flock in the dark while he molested young children. Today, the elders at Somerset Church of Christ have moved intentionally to protect children. Empty classrooms are locked. Adults working with children operate in teams of two or more. On Sundays, monitors conduct random building sweeps and each Sunday School room has a walkie-talkie…

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Janice’s Journal: Church Guidelines Repeat Myths, Spread Fear

It is essential that registrants have access to church services because for some registrants the ability to worship at a church is more important than food, shelter and clothing. In the words of North Carolina attorney Glenn Gerding, “Given….residency and employment restrictions, as well as societal discrimination against and vilification of sex offenders, churches are often the last hope for many sex offenders who need the stability and guidance a church pastor and church family can provide.” Why is it then that some churches place outright bans on registrants who…

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IN: Bill would limit sex offenders’ time at church schools

When Boone County law enforcement officials sent a letter telling registered sex offenders they couldn’t go to church where there were children’s programs, three of the letter recipients filed a lawsuit. The men claimed they couldn’t exercise their religion for fear of being arrested. They won their case with the Indiana Court of Appeals. Now, a state senator is trying to set a time limit under which sex offenders can attend churches when children are present. Full Article

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