July 20, 2005

Keeping the kids safe: Two proven methods to guard against sex abuse in the church

UNITED STATES
Church Central

by Rebecca Barnes, editor 20 Jul 2005

In an average year approximately 3,500 churches respond to allegations of sexual misconduct in church programs involving children or youth, according to James Cobble Jr., executive director of Christian Ministry Resources and publisher of the Church Law & Tax Report.

And in a year when sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church in the United States topped $1 billion in settlement costs, it was anything but average. With all the media attention, more churches, denominations and the Catholic Church itself are implementing changes to prevent the problem.

Prevention policies

New standards for Catholic Church workers in Cleveland, Ohio took effect July 1 to set ethical boundaries for the nearly 50,000 volunteers and church employees who serve the regionís nearly 1 million Catholics. The new standards warn counselors against hugging clients and mandate that child sponsors have more than one chaperone on any trip.

"Itís part of our commitment to integrity in ministry Ö and to challenge the society we live in to do the same," the Rev. Lawrence Jurcak, diocesan vicar for clergy and religious, told Religion News Service.

Posted by kshaw at July 20, 2005 06:36 PM