Vigilant Steps Safe Adults Can Take To Prevent Sexual Abuse

Police arrest a 50-year-old Texas pastor for sexually abusing children. The local child advocacy center made contact with the first child victim.

According to the child, the pastor "put his hands down her pants" and touched her. The abuser allegedly told her to be quiet because he would go to jail if she talked about the incident. The child said this happened more than once.

Another child victim came forward and accused the pastor of doing the same thing to her and reported that he had also exposed himself to her.

Police think there may be other victims and have encouraged anybody with more information to contact them at their office. Sam Fowler "Brownwood Pastor Arrested on Child Sexual Assault Charges" (Jul. 30, 2018).

Commentary and Checklist

Being trusted and respected by the religious community and families gives sex offenders exactly the cover they need to be able to groom and target children.

Child sexual abuse occurs within all religions and sects; therefore, all religious organizations should take specific steps to help prevent child sexual abuse from taking place:

  • When a member of the church organization is meeting with a minor, require the office door to remain open or another person to be present.
  • Install windows in office doors so those passing by can look in to make sure no abuse is taking place.
  • Perform thorough background checks before hiring and never consider an applicant who committed abuse at another organization.
  • Multiple members of the organization should work with young parishioners so they feel comfortable confiding in someone else if abuse happens.
  • Train employees and volunteers to watch for changes in behavior among children, particularly after working with a certain leader, or a child who is uncomfortable around a certain leader because these could be signs of abuse.
  • If your organization takes a mission trip abroad, always send multiple adults and perform background checks before allowing adults to accompany minors.
  • Always make sure that more than one adult is always present when adults are interacting with children.
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