Do your research. When an individual reveals himself or is exposed as an offender, it's important to do your due diligence in investigating all offenses. Immediately conduct a criminal background check to discover the individual's charges. Also talk also talk to the individual's probation officer, speak to their treatment provider, and review all court and investigative records. Often this can be done by visiting the courthouse in the county where the conviction occurred and asking to see all public files regarding the case. Indeed, the offender may even have confessed to abusing many more children but the other cases were dismissed as a result of the plea bargain.
If your state follows this practice and the risk levels are made public, be certain to consider these in your research. Follow the law. Ask the individual's probation officer and the local prosecutor's office if an offender can lawfully attend services or other church functions where children are present. Consider each case individually. Determine the level of supervision necessary to protect children and your church.
A careful grace: Accountability for sex offenders in the church - Religion News Service
If the offender is considered a low risk by the government and his or her treatment provider, it may be possible for the offender to attend church gatherings and events but only under supervision of at least one and preferably two mature members of the church who will be with the offender at all times to ensure no children are harmed, and also to protect the offender from accusation or any taunting that may be directed at him or her.
If the offender is high risk, or if the level of risk is questionable, the church should find a way to care for him outside of church gatherings. Create a minimal code of conduct for offenders. If a sex offender is allowed to attend church functions, they should be provided with a clear code of conduct.
Sex offenders and modern leper colonies
This includes worship services, classes, activities, events, and restroom trips. Never allow an offender to join the same community as a victim. Even if the offender is at low risk, he should never be allowed to join a congregation or small group where one of his victims attends. You can work to find the individual another church home, but the emotional needs of the victim must always take priority. Full disclosure is important see below but it must be balanced with sensitivity.
The leadership must be sensitive to the fears of survivors of abuse who may be emotionally harmed by knowing there is an offender in their midst. Close proximity to a sex offender may be a weekly, painful reminder to survivors of their own suffering. Simply put, the church must minister to the offender in such a way that survivors of abuse are not emotionally harmed.
Otherwise, the offender may be given access to a new group of unsuspecting victims. Walk in the light. Be as public as possible in your care for registered sex offenders. Offenders thrive on secrecy and they, and the church as a whole, are best protected when there is an open discussion about their conduct and their presence in the community.
Most experts also suggest telling the communities certainly any small group and even the entire church in advance when sex offenders are present. In an age in which sex offender registries and conviction records are easily accessible online, members of the congregation will eventually discover an offender is present and may feel betrayed if church leadership has kept this a secret. Confirm with law enforcement and treatment providers that there have been no new legal developments or issues.
Confirm that offenders have not been serving in ministries where children are present or attending communities with children. His website is netgrace. This article originally posted on February 3, We are three guys—all dads and pastors—who work in ministry with kids, students, and their families. This blog is our joint venture. The focus of the blog is family discipleship. We will write here about parenting, family ministry, and leadership. This blog is for you.
For example, when you search for a film, we use your search information and location to show the most relevant cinemas near you. We also use this information to show you ads for similar films you may like in the future. Like Verizon Media, our partners may also show you ads that they think match your interests. Learn more about how Verizon Media collects and uses data and how our partners collect and use data. Select 'OK' to allow Verizon Media and our partners to use your data, or 'Manage options' to review our partners and your choices. The idea that sexual addicts are somehow having a lot of fun is just not the case.
Repetitive sexual activity that looses all of its meaning and spontaneity is very, very destructive. Sexual addiction offers no pleasure — only loneliness, emptiness, hopelessness and despair. Not the kinds of things anyone would want. I worked with a man recently whose family owns one of the largest production companies for pornographic movies in the country. He has been involved in the production of every kind of film imaginable and consequently has been involved in every kind of sexual activity you might dream of.
After 20 years of this kind of life he said that what he is really longing for now is a committed, normal relationship with one woman. He would trade all of his experiences to be able to find the simple joys of faithful, heterosexual monogamy. Like all of us who struggle with sexual addiction, he did not look back over his years of addiction with fondness. They are lost years. Years of emptiness and pain. The women who came had essentially the same kinds of problems which male sex addicts experience — problems with pornography, compulsive masturbation, multiple affairs and so on.
How to you respond to that kind of concern? Mark: Well, I think that there is a general attitude in the Christian community that addicts have a moral problem — an unwillingness to really repent and turn your life over to God.
Recovery from Sexual Addiction
Unfortunately, this really misses the point. Most importantly it misses how desperately most addicts have sought salvation, have tried to repent, have tried diligently what their pastors have told them to do but still found their lives to be unmanageable. Most Christian sex addicts have repented sincerely — usually many times.
They have turned their lives over to God — usually many times. But the problem remains. As you know, and the whole recovery community knows, practicing the 12 Steps is the opposite of avoiding responsibility for your actions. When you start working the steps, you work very hard at accepting your own behaviors as yours — rather than working hard at blaming others for your problems.
The last thing the recovery community wants to do is to give an addict another excuse for continuing with their addictive behaviors. STEPS: I suspect that this concern about recovery comes from hearing about some bizarre legal defense strategies. Coming to terms with the fact that I have no control brings me to the place where, now that I have made this admission and surrendered, I can work on repairing the damage, work on becoming a moral person again, and work on becoming accountable for my behaviors. Recovery is not at all about avoiding responsibility.
It is just the opposite.
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STEPS: Talk to me a bit more about the person who thinks that sexual addiction is just a spiritual problem. Mark: Well it is a spiritual problem. Addicts feel a great deal of shame, they believe that God has forgiven everyone else but them.
So it is clearly a spiritual problem. But we also know enough about sex addiction to understand that there are lots and lots of emotional dynamics involved as well. But it does emphasize that it is not just a spiritual problem. Sex addicts are often dealing with traumatic memories.
There is also growing evidence for a genetic component which predisposes addicts to addiction. When you look at the emotional dynamics and biological dynamics in addition to the spiritual dynamics you have a fuller picture of what is really going on. Having more than just a moral focus is also important because you can be a sexual addict but never engage in sexually immoral behaviors. Take, for example, the case of the sex addict who never engages in sexual activity with anyone outside of his marriage, yet who engages in sex with his spouse as an escape from intimacy, not as an expression of it.
On the surface, he is faithful. But God, looking at his heart, discerns his motives. Using sex to mask their loneliness, they are unwittingly driven deeper into loneliness, never revealing their feelings. They have all decided not to be an addict — most of them have made this decision many times. Mark: My own story illustrates that.
When I came into recovery I was a minister. But as I look back on it, some of the spiritual stuff that I was doing was an attempt to try to manipulate God.
One of the things I desperately wanted God to do was to remove all my lust. Many addicts when they come to the Lord have an agenda for what they want the Lord to do. STEPS: I have a friend who, early in her recovery, said she really wanted God to take away her addiction to alcohol so that she could keep on drinking. Mark: Right. We want God to be the person who magically fixes the problem. STEPS: What kind of advise would you give to someone who knows that something about their sexual life is not working?
Suppose someone is anxious about their sexual behaviors, they have heard about the concept of sexual addiction and they want to figure out if that is the problem. Mark: I would say ideally what you would like to do is to get a very thorough assessment of your situation by a Christian counselor competent enough to be able to do this.
I would not try to just read about it or to take my own inventory. Mark: Well, we tend to go to either extreme. We overdiagnose ourselves, we worry about having things we might not have. They need a caring person on the outside who can be more objective for them.