February 24, 2006

Pastoral misconduct about power, ethics panelists say

American Baptist Press

By Ken Camp
Published February 23, 2006

WACO, Texas (ABP) – Sexual misconduct occurs among ministers at a rate higher than among other trusted professions such as doctors and lawyers, Joe Trull told ministers at an ethics conference at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary.

At its heart, sexual abuse among clergy represents betrayal by a minister who abuses the trust of a vulnerable and wounded person, said Trull, a retired ethics professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Trull participated in a panel discussion on clergy sexual abuse during the conference, sponsored by the Christian Ethics Today Foundation.

“Clergy sexual exploitation is not primarily about sex. It is an abuse of power expressed in a highly destructive sexual manner,” Trull said.

While pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church have captured much of the media attention, clergy sexual abuse is “not just a Roman Catholic problem,” he said.

Several studies during the last 25 years across denominational lines have demonstrated consistent results -- about 10 percent to 12 percent of ministers acknowledged they engaged in sexual intercourse with church members, and roughly one-fourth to one-third admitted to sexually inappropriate behavior, he noted. In more than 90 percent of the cases of sexual abuse in Protestant churches, the misconduct occurs between a male minister and female church member.

Posted by kshaw at February 24, 2006 07:58 AM