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Pastors often have unsupervised access to children

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Clergy Abuse

When there are cases of sexual abuse in churches, often involving pastors or clergy members and parishioners, people are sometimes surprised that something like this could happen. These cases often involve children. But when people imagine a Sunday service or another large church gathering, they’re just not sure how this could have taken place.

But the reality is that the church is involved in far more parts of people’s lives than just those Sunday services. Often, clergy members will have unsupervised access to kids that they are in charge of. There may not be any other adults involved, and it makes it easier for these abuse cases to develop. Safety experts recommend never having one adult and one child alone in the same room at the same time, but it’s something that does keep happening.

An issue of trust

Often, the root of the problem is that the child’s parents trust the clergy member. Maybe that person is a youth pastor. They’re supposed to be teaching and mentoring the child. The parents see these one-on-one meetings as a positive development for the child’s spiritual life. They think that the pastor or clergy member is helping.

But if sexual abuse is actually occurring, no one else will witness it. Children are often nervous to speak up. Young children might not even know what is and is not appropriate. Older children may be afraid of being blamed for causing the abuse.

There are many reasons why children stay silent, and this leads to sexual abuse cases that may not come to light for years or even decades. Those involved must be well aware of their legal options.