If you have turned directly to this section, it may be because you are facing a crisis situation in your congregation. It may be that a person who has served time for a sex offense against children has come to the minister and said they want to become part of the congregation. Or maybe a member of the staff has scanned the sex offender registry and noticed that the name of a member of the congregation is on it. Perhaps it is that a long standing member of the congregation who is a teacher has been accused by a student of sexual misconduct. Or maybe you've just heard that a twelve-year-old in the congregation was found fondling a three year old while he is babysitting.
Almost uniformly, congregations that have dealt with sex offenders during the past few years report that there has been some degree of panic among members when the facts become known. In some cases, congregations have become badly divided over the issue of whether a sex offender should be allowed to attend worship services at all. In some cases, the minister has refused to allow the person to participate In many cases; those most alarmed about the possibility of a pedophile attending worship are themselves survivors of childhood sexual abuse or assault. This past history continues to affect people in their adult lives, and this kind of situation can evoke past trauma and an unwillingness to address even the possibility of attendance.
For more information contact safecongregations @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Friday, April 22, 2011.
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