A church should be a refuge from the dangers of the world. Unfortunately we hear all too often about children who have been abused at church by those entrusted to guide and protect them.
Although many high-profile cases of sexual abuse deal with stranger abduction, molestation typically occurs within a long-term, ongoing relationship between the offender and victim, writes Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center.
“Sexual predators are smart, extremely cunning and often individuals you least expect would commit such crimes,” Ahearn said on her organization’s website. “Sometimes they are the well-respected pillars of the community. They develop elaborate schemes and go to great extents to do anything to get access to children.”
That’s why prevention efforts must focus on screening and supervision, said Chip Smith, an associate in the office of LeaderCare and church administration at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).
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