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More than 700 victims in church sex abuse scandal

by Kelvin Collado - Contributing Writer
Tue, Feb 19th 2019 04:00 pm
sunday school scandal An investigation into the Southern Baptist Church revealed there are more than 700 sexual abuse victims. This is now another incident wherein church officials have been accused or found guilty of sexual abuse. The victims do not seem to be receiving proper justice and situations like this need to be stopped, starting with preventing these people from working with children.
sunday school scandal An investigation into the Southern Baptist Church revealed there are more than 700 sexual abuse victims. This is now another incident wherein church officials have been accused or found guilty of sexual abuse. The victims do not seem to be receiving proper justice and situations like this need to be stopped, starting with preventing these people from working with children.

What do people go to church for? Most would say for prayers, reconciliation and the love of God. However, hundreds of Southern Baptist churches, priests, deacons, ministers, Sunday school teachers and church volunteers are being accused of sexual misconduct, with some cases dating back to the late 90’s.

According to the Houston Chronicle and The San Antonio Express-News, a six month period of investigations found about 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and workers were accused of sexual misconduct since 1998, leaving more than 700 victims scarred for life. Some offenders decided to take plea deals, allowing them not to serve jail time. To make matters worse, 35 of those 100 sex offenders were able to locate new jobs within the church. Others were made into an example, as 100 of those offenders were sent to prison.

That leaves many unanswered questions. Where were their supervisors while all of this was happening? According to the Washington Post, several past presidents and Southern Baptist Convention leaders were accused by the victims for mishandling and concealing information that related to their cases.

It’s incredible to think that some of these registered sex offenders could walk away with no consequences. A prime example would be the case in which a Houston preacher sexually assaulted a teenager. He is currently the principal officer of a Houston non-profit organization that works directly with student organizations. The fact that he was allowed in the presence of children again raises concerns.

Another important question that needs to be addressed is what happens to those children/teenagers who were molested, sexually assaulted or even raped? Some of those victims sued the church, while others went down a dark path due to these pastors stripping them of their innocence.

One of the victims, 14-year-old Heather Schneider, was molested by her pastor in the choir room at Houston’s Second Baptist Church. The effects of the molestation caused Schneider to slit her wrist the day after she was attacked.

Though she survived the incident, she ended up dying of a drug overdose 14 years after the attack. Schneider’s mother Gwen Casados criticized the Southern Baptist church for taking several months to act on the matter.

"I never got her back," said Casados.

For those 14 years after the abuse, Schneider never reverted back to the carefree girl she once was, forever altered by the tramautic experience.

The churches involved need to recognize their values rather than using their positions to take advantage of children. In order for the Southern Baptist church to make amends I believe that they need to issue an apology to the victims and also to the families who witnessed their child succumb to hard drugs and in some cases death because of the actions of some of the church’s employees.

The bigger issue lies in the churches being held accountable. These churches should be shut down as a whole when incidents like this occur. The main perpetrator should be held accountable but everybody else in the Southern Baptist church that hid the incidents from the police should also be held accountable.

The infection of molesters within the church leaves it with another serious problem. The Southern Baptist church as a whole needs to face the consequences because this recurring issue needs to be dealt with before another generation of paritioners fall victim to the predators that hide among them.

The Southern Baptist church needs to recognize its wrong doings and implement new policies in which mandatory background checks are put into place. It also needs to have stricter rules when it comes to the reporting of sexual misconduct by the authorities.

I hope the Southern Baptist Church will never be able to function again. The church slid all the allegations under the rug and it should have no right to continue serving the community.