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November 10, 2011

Thom Rainer on Protecting Children, Penn State, and Police Involvement

I've been shocked, along with most of the world, that someone could witness child sexual abuse, or get a report of it, and not report it to the police. Yesterday, the trustees of Penn State agreed and fired several of those involved-- as well they should.

Thom Rainer bring clarity and gives direction about how churches should respond. You can read the whole article here. It says, in part:

In Coach Joe Paterno's case, he reported the alleged abuse to his "chain of command," and apparently absolved himself of responsibility. But those to whom he reported apparently chose to protect their university and themselves rather than the child involved. If that is the case, it's wrong -- and something churches must avoid...

It doesn't take a football fanatic or a genius to figure out the right thing to do -- in all cases -- is to protect our children. It is inconceivable to me that someone could witness sexual abuse and then simply report it and leave it to their supervisors. The right response is to intervene by force at the moment, and with the police immediately thereafter...

Pastors, youth leaders, lay leaders: if you suspect, or if someone reports to you, the possibility that one of your workers or volunteers is or has abused a child in your care, stop reading this article and immediately contact your local police. I understand how difficult that might be for you, for your church, for those involved, but your first concern should not be for yourself or even your local church, but your charge is to protect our children. It's not your job to determine the validity of a claim of abuse. That's the job of the police. It's your job to call them. Immediately...

Read his entire post here. Share it with your volunteers. Pass it on to other pastors. Protect children.

Silence is permission. Silence is enabling. Silence hurts more children.

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