Current Events


Woman Abused by Pastor Awarded $1.4 Million 

A jury has rendered a verdict in a precedent-setting case. A pastor used his counseling position to sexually exploit a woman in the church, after the church and the denomination failed to put safeguards in place. Now the pastor and the denomination have been ordered to pay $1.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Hallelujah – From a Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivor

This You Tube video changes the words to the song Hallelujah to express the feelings and experiences of a clergy sexual abuse survivor. For those who don’t understand, this song movingly captures the reality of pastoral predation and its after effects.

Vienna Presbyterian Church Forces Out Executive Director In Face of Abuse Cases, Washington Post (June 15, 2011)

Yet more developments at Vienna Presbyterian Church as the elders clean house in response to reports of sexual predation by a former youth pastor. The church’s executive director has been forced to resign. “Eagan, according to some of the young women interviewed by the Post and others within the church, appeared to suppress reports of abuse and, at times, appeared to be blaming the girls for what happened.”

Shame in the Sanctuary: An Interview with Samantha and Steve Nelson, The Harvest Show (June 13, 2011)

This is an excellent interview with the founders of The Hope of Survivors, which explains the dynamics of pastoral sexual predation based on their own experience. The pattern of abuse they describe is very typical of what happens when a pastor grooms and exploits a vulnerable woman in his church – while also grooming the whole church to deny any problems. The interview begins at 20:45 into the video. Part two of the interview begins at 18:45.

Why People Stick by Scandal-Plagued Pastors, CNN (May 27, 2011)

A follow-up article on some recent pastoral abuse scandals and how they impacted various churches.

“While most church scandals revolve around the conduct of a pastor, there’s another question lurking behind the headlines that onlookers often ask: Why do some people stick by their pastor even when everyone else in the church seems to be leaving?”

The Alchemist in the Pulpit, The Presbyterian Outlook (May 16, 2011)

“If you’re addressing an incident of clergy sexual abuse, you may be dealing with a narcissist. Narcissists flock to the ministry because it provides the attention and admiration they need, plus an explosive combination of power, entitlement, and sexual and emotional predation.”

Church Abuse Cases and Lawyers an Uneasy Mix, USA Today (May 10, 2011)

“As churches nationwide struggle with disclosures of sexual abuse in their midst, many find inherent conflicts between the guidance they find in Scripture and the demands of the insurance companies and lawyers responsible for protecting them from legal claims.”

Vienna Presbyterian Church Seeks Forgiveness, Redemption in Wake of Abuse Scandal, Washington Post (April 2, 2011)

“Framed by the light coming through the sanctuary’s huge windows, Pastor Peter James spoke of sexual abuse by a youth director, of the church’s shortcomings and of the tormenting darkness that has been eating away at the church for nearly six years. A row of young women sat in a back pew as James apologized for just recently learning that their ordeal was “far more devastating and horrific than we had imagined.”

What’s Wrong with Nice Girls?

A review of the recent book Jennifer Degler, PhD, with the same title.

“Once you hear the truth of God’s Word and admit the truth about your own motivations, you can then speak the truth to others.”

When Wolves Wear Shepherds’ Clothing: Helping Women Survive Clergy Sexual Abuse, Social Work & Christianity, An International Journal  (Spring 2006)

By Diana R. Garland, Ph.D., Dean, School of Social Work, Baylor University

This article examines the problem of clergy sexual abuse with adult women and reviews resources for helping women, their families, and congregations survive the abuse of power and the betrayal of sacred trust embodied in clergy sexual abuse.

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