Sunday, June 10, 2007

Former Presbyterian Pastor Charged With Rape

This case is one that too many people want to see decriminalized since the defendant, a former assistant pastor for a Presbyterian church, didn't use a weapon to commit his alleged crimes and because his alleged victims were 16 and 17 at the time of the alleged crimes and didn't immediately report the crimes committed against them.

In far too many churches girls and women who are victimized are falsely labeled as people who led a good man astray-- if they are believed at all about the sexual contact.

It is also a situation which many people go to great lengths to pretend doesn't happen. I understand the wish that there is a place completely free of active sexual predators. But wishes and prayers don't wipe out the free will of those who appear to be good while they look for opportunities to harm others. What denial can wipe out is the opportunity for victims to speak up and know they will be heard and treated with the respect they deserve. Denial also gives those who only commit crimes when they are sure they won't be held accountable the freedom they want.

This former pastor was charged for crimes against 2 alleged victims, but a dozen women have contacted the church to report that they were also victimized. Most of those who came forward reported actions which took place long enough ago that the statute of limitations has expired. I understand why it would take years or even decades for victims to speak up. Perpetrators like this carefully plant the belief that the victims are responsible for what happened to them.

About two dozen members of First Presbyterian attended the preliminary hearing to support the women who testified, said interim pastor Byron Leasure, who described the hearing as "very powerful, riveting." The women say they were sexually assaulted while they attended a youth group led by Klever.

This part of the story caught my eye because this type of support is so often absent or the church members publicly rally around the defendant in opposition to victims. The members of this church who stood with these women are to be commended and they demonstrate that churches can acknowledge that not everything that happens in church or by church leaders is good.

It's easy to say that predators we have nothing in common with should be held fully accountable, it's much harder to say that those predators close to us should also be held accountable.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:08 AM   1 comments links to this post


At June 10, 2007 1:26 PM, Blogger Layla (aka Barbara) said...

Just wanted to let you know I am reading, even if I don't comment often. This is an important blog. I am making new blog rolls for my links and this will be categorized under "Important Issues"


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