Saturday, March 27, 2010

Clergy Sexual SINS Pt. 2


Often individuals can become desensitized to clergy sexual abuse and the real costs associated with sexual misconduct in general. These cases are often only considered in terms of monetary value and not the real human value and equity that is lost as a result of these incidents. Because things can be covered and "out of sight" is sometimes "out of mind" individuals can get a sense that there are no problems and that everything will simply just work out.

COGIC...Just In Case

The most easy thing to do is believe that incidents like this are confined to the Catholic Church. Quite the contrary is true. The COGIC has experienced sexual abuse and clergy sexual misconduct at what I consider to be an alarming rate over the last 20 years as documented Reportcogicabuse.com. This issue was addressed in the 2009 session of the General Assembly of the Church Of Gon In Christ. The official minutes record the following:

"He (Judge Enoch Perry) reported that in over 100 years, there have been 20-25 processed cases of sexual misconduct. He stated statistically the numbers are significantly small; however, there should not be one case among us. Judge perry reported there has not been one successful lawsuit against the church; cases have either been settled or dismissed. He further stated that Bishop Blake supports the church's zero tolerance policy against sexual misconduct." ~ [2009 COGIC General Assembly Minutes Pg. 2 Para. 2 parenthesis added]  

Later, Presiding Bishop Charles Blake remarks included the following:

"Presiding Bishop Blake thanked Judge Perry for his remarks regarding the church's policy in relationship to sexual misconduct. he pointed out that, on average, the church spends about $800,000 to settle legal matters many of which have to do with accusations of sexual misconduct. (Who made the comment? and that one singe lawsuit has the potential to bankrupt the church.)" ~ [2009 COGIC General Assembly Minutes Pg. 3 Para. 2 as it is in the minutes]

Now it seems to be somewhat of a disconnect. How can a settled lawsuit be unsuccessful when $800,000 on average is paid toward the settlement and legal matters regarding it? According to Perry's numbers,  this would mean that about $16,000,000 to $20,000,000 dollars (almost $200,000 per year over 100 years) have been paid out to adjudicate matters of this kind and this is only from the national church perspective. I believe these numbers don't even begin to tell the real story however, because the fact is that it has been documented that over the last 20 years there have been over 35 visible cases of clergy sexual misconduct and abuse among COGIC clergy. Some of these cases were highly publicized and ended in incarceration.

If we condense even Perry's numbers (which are more than likely understated) into the 20 to 25 year period of time in which we can document publicized cases of abuse and misconduct, that would mean that the church has paid an average of approximately $1,000,000 per year toward the adjudication of sexual misconduct cases. Remember this is $1,000,000 per year of national report and auxillary fund dollars collected and paid to defend and or settle sexual abuse, misuse, harassment, and other sexual misconduct cases.

None of those numbers include what has been additionally paid out to victims by way of insurance benefits. In other words, even for the COGIC this problem is much more serious than what one is led to believe and as the leaders point to deserves more attention and focus than it has normally received.

The True Cost

None of this mentions the spiritual cost which is far beyond the monetary costs of sexual abuse, misuse and misconduct. But even monetarily the cost is beyond belief. The church cannot be the church of Jesus Christ, sitting by counting coins while souls are being destroyed and damaged. It is time to loose our life in saving the lost. In losing our lives I believe we will find our souls!

Mark 8:35 ~ "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
 
The Real Proof Of Concern Is In The Pudding & Actions     

Recently COGIC has enacted new procedures and training for all Elders, Pastors and Ministers and clergy personnel in sexual harassment and how to identify it. (I'm sorry that I couldn't rotate the image).
Although we can say that something is certainly better than nothing, there is still yet NOTHING in place to address those who have been abused and victimized at the hands of the ungodly who have betrayed the delicate,  sincere and precious trust that they have been given. I believe this is to our shame!

This can be an opportunity for the church to make a difference because there is a storm brewing. We can see that within the Catholic Church it took decades for atrocities to come to light. I only pray that those in leadership down through the years have lived much more sincerely before Christ and that it does not happen within this church. However, if we experience a storm it cannot be said that the church was without proper and adequate waring and encouragement to set its house in order.

These are the times when we can be more excited about souls than enamoured with personal gain, popularity and the attention that visibility offers. We must prepare to heal broken hearts without being handicapped by what's in the bank or how we look! 

Blessed!

6/19/2010 Update: Recently Church Of God In Christ leader Supt. Derrick Hutchins was removed from his office as Chairman of the General Counsel of Pastors and Elders supposedly for multiple adulterous affairs. Discussion regarding this can be found HERE. I have also confirmed this with a leading bishop within the church.

Also See: Have You Been A Victim Of CSM?

4 comments:

  1. On pg. 5 of the presentation it distinguished the difference between flirting and sexual harassment saying that sexual harassment was harassment because it is "unwelcome"...

    I'm wondering outside of husbands and wives making eyes at one another and such the like, how could flirting be considered to be something acceptable within the church environment anyway???

    Have we fallen that much until now we are trying to find the line of balance that makes certain types of sins ok???

    I'm saddened by this myself, but alas, who am I???

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  2. You know what? I was wondering if Perry was referring to the 800k payout as occuring since CE Blake took office or since they have been accounting? Or since he has been legal counsel? Or all three or none at all??

    Perry cant keep up with the maze of lies and distortions he's cooked up. And then again maybe its all true. Maybe they have spent millions and millions of dollars on sex abuse cases. That would then make what Bishop Blake told the Commercial Appeal in essence a bald faced lie.

    What shocks me more is that all the so-called educated folk in COGIC (and there are plenty) havent peeped one peep of dissension or even called for a fuller explanation. As you noted if his numbers are true, its stunning. If they arent true, why would Blake praise an obvious lie that was ludicrous on its face?

    Oh, the madness of the saints.

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  3. Gcmwatch,

    I can't interpret his comments any other way than in those 20 to 25 cases, that they've paid out $800,000 or so on average per case.

    There is obfuscation on the numbers. Based on the Smith case however, if the payout was $1 Million, then once again it follows and confirms what I claim here.

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  4. Another way to view this is that if Perry is saying that over the last 100 years we've only had a small amount of such cases...well now he impugns the whole history of teh church...I mean he hangs all the pioneers of COGIC to protect the modern day individuals sins by trying to spread things out over all the years of COGIC.

    C'mon we know that's not plausible nor is it the case. This is some modern MESS that the church needs to and must deal with.

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