Risk management

Protestants confront sexual abuse

The latest wave of sexual abuse scandals crashing upon Catholic parishes and chanceries has apparently missed most Protestant churches. In fact, analysts and insurers give credit to mainline churches for adopting policies and practices in the early 1990s aimed at protecting minors from coercive intimacy in congregational settings. And from the Assemblies of God to Lutherans to Unitarians, denominational leaders are reiterating that their churches will not tolerate abusive acts.

Yet, the same experts warn, the stealth that accompanies sexual mistreatment of children and adults knows no denominational boundaries. Churches and other caring institutions engender trust, which can be either a blessing or a means of deception. Churches are being urged to focus not only on clergy behavior but on that of volunteers.


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