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Are we doing enough? Major story outlining abuse with the Southern Baptists

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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

I"m not familiar with that one (but I'll try to find more info on it).

If true, it's disturbing (just as the other case being discussed is).

Here is a deleted portion from his obituary:

Robert Ersol Berchtold (1936-2005) - Find A Grave …

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21312991

Robert Ersol Berchtold. He had a great love for the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities in the Church. He loved the seven years he served as a temple ordinance worker in the Las Vegas Temple. He was a very successful salesman and business owner.

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22 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Another area of change that *****I believe***** is crucial is that if the offender and the victim are in the same ward, the offender should always be ministered to by a different bishop.  No exception. 

How does that work in practice? 

In our ward a person attends with a daughter that he was convicted of sexually abusing (several years ago, time has already been served)

They moved in from another ward.  

Do we assign him a different bishop?

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Deleted for being too harsh even by my loose standards.

Edited by The Nehor

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

If you listen to the recording, or have the time, he does mention his going through the repentance process of these affairs and the timeline I believe, so definitely they knew before hiring him to film.

Actually, in the recording when asked if he reported these affairs to the church, his response was "no, I haven't always".  This happens around the 33:20 point.   So, we cant say definitively that the church new about these affairs when they hired him to make the videos in 1988, 1990, and 2013.   He did say that he spoke with his bishop 6-7 years ago, after he had been done acting out for some time, but we don't know if that was before or after making the 2013 videos.

I also doubt that the church investigates in depth about the past sins of people it hires for temple videos.  They probably only require an active temple recommend. 

Edited by pogi
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5 minutes ago, pogi said:

I also doubt that the church investigates in depth about the past sins of people it hires for temple videos.  

You're kidding right?  Have you ever known anyone who was called to be in one of the temple movies?  

Even the ground that the movie is filmed on is blessed (from what I've been told by two different actors who were in the movies) and the entire process is considered to be very sacred.

This man had been disfellowshipped for sexually abusing a child (that should have been on his church record).  And he should have been excommunicated for having extramarital affairs with both men and women.  Has he been excommunicated now?  That would be interesting to know....

I get that maybe they didn't know about the affairs, but they most certainly would have known about the sexual child abuse.

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

But just like the story of the man who abducted Jan Broberg Felt twice as a child, and had an affair with her mother and had her father do a sexual act on him, he was still able to be a temple worker later in life. It blows my mind that after knowing of someone that evil, the church allows them to do what they do. The guy held other callings that were shocking as well. 

In the case of Felt, my understanding is the kidnapper was sentenced to a mental facility and if so, if doctors placed him on medication and thought that allowed him to control his behaviours, it could explain why he appeared to have lived a relatively normal life afterwards with bizarre episodes on occasion.

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8 minutes ago, ALarson said:

You're kidding right? 

No, I'm not kidding.

11 minutes ago, ALarson said:

This man had been disfellowshipped for sexually abusing a child (that should have been on his church record). 

The question was specifically about the affairs.  That is what I was responding to.  Like I said, I doubt that they investigate the church records of everyone they hire/call (I don't know if it was a paid or not).  I am willing to bet that they only require an active temple recommend.

17 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I get that maybe they didn't know about the affairs, but they most certainly would have known about the sexual child abuse.

Local leaders probably knew, but I doubt those who hired/called him knew. 

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20 minutes ago, ALarson said:

And he should have been excommunicated for having extramarital affairs with both men and women.  Has he been excommunicated now?  That would be interesting to know....

He was not excommunicated (surprised me).  He confessed many years after his acting out was over and after all the work he had done in recovery.  I don't know if that played a role in not excommunicating him, of if it should play a role if it did.    He did have a disciplinary council.

I am surprised quite honestly that he wasn't excommunicated once for all that he has supposedly confessed to. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 9:08 AM, bsjkki said:

So, as a church, are we doing enough? Is there anything else we should be doing to protect kids?

No.

Publish the statistics on abuse cases within the church.

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19 hours ago, pogi said:

He was not excommunicated (surprised me). 

Well, he's on tape now confessing.....so I would imagine his leaders will take action now (or at least call him in to discuss him having had extramarital affairs with both men and women).  It's amazing the leaders were still inspired to call him to direct the two recent temple movies, IMO.  But they are human too.  This will be a case that many may be watching now though to see how the leaders handle it from here.

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1 minute ago, ALarson said:

Well, he's on tape now confessing.....so I would imagine his leaders will take action now (or at least call him in to discuss him having had extramarital affairs with both men and women).  It's amazing the leaders were still inspired to call him to direct the two recent temple movies, IMO.  But they are human too.  This will be a case that many may be watching now though to see how the leaders handle it from here.

According to him on this recording, he already confessed 6-7 years ago to his bishop about these affairs.  They held a disciplinary council but no excommunication.

That is why I am surprised, if that is indeed true. 

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23 hours ago, Calm said:

In the case of Felt, my understanding is the kidnapper was sentenced to a mental facility and if so, if doctors placed him on medication and thought that allowed him to control his behaviours, it could explain why he appeared to have lived a relatively normal life afterwards with bizarre episodes on occasion.

He went on to rape another chid (after he was released from the mental facility) and served prison time for this.

I did not know that he is the subject of the documentary now on Netflix "Abducted in Plain Sight" until looking more into him (after reading Tacenda's post).

Quote

The details are infuriating, and it's almost impossible to comprehend how Berchtold didn't receive a substantial prison sentence (he spent less than a month in jail before he was transferred to a mental hospital for approximately six months; later, he spent one year in prison after pleading guilty to raping another child).

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/robert-berchtol-now-abducted-in-plain-sight

He went on to get married in the temple after this and served 7 years as a temple ordinance worker (in Las Vegas).

Was he ever excommunicated, do you know (or anyone else)?  He ended up committing suicide (while awaiting trial for what I believe was stalking Jan  Broberg Felt even years later).

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to watch this, but I've now talked to a few members who have seen it.  It's a very disturbing story and I can't understand why church leaders didn't do more to protect this little girl....but I don't know all of the details.  If anyone has watched it or knows more, I'd be interested in hearing from them.

ETA:

I was wrong about his suicide...there was a trial and he had been found guilty:

Quote

 

Six women have since contacted Jan to say they, too, were molested by Berchtold. Berchtold was ultimately found guilty of the rape of one of those children and spent one year in jail.

After a violent altercation with BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) demonstrators opposed to Berchtold appearing at Jan's events, Berchtold was found guilty of possession of a firearm and aggravated assault. Fearing prison and rejected by the object of his obsession, Berchtold died by suicide before sentencing.

"Bob had gone to court that day and been found guilty," explained Berchtold's brother, Joe, in the documentary. "He says, 'If it's one day in prison, it's going to kill me. I'm not going there.' He had taken all his heart medicine and drank Kahlua and milk. He drank that and died."

 

 

Edited by ALarson

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My experience and beliefs center around this: What is being discussed here happens in all churches. It matters not if the church or denomination is Methodist, Catholic, LDS, Baptist, Jewish, or Islamic, etc. What differentiates "the church" (of whatever denomination) from other organizations in this situation is the greater desire and need for "the faithful" to protect the institution than the victim. I have seen this over and over again. The organization must be protected; so therefore the perpetrator is protected, the crime is minimized (not reported), or the hierarchy leaps at the chance to accommodate the repentance of the guilty. That not only protects the organization, it protects and validates the doctrine of repentance and forgiveness. The victim is isolated and suffers while the organization, and all too often the perpetrator are kept safe. This is terribly sad and happens when the organization, the structure, the hierarchy is valued way out of proportion to the people, the human beings who are entrusted to its care. Even the parents of the victim, when faithful members may cooperate in this. Religious organizations of all kinds (schools, colleges, churches, etc.) are especially susceptible to this loyalty and need to protect. Just my 02 cents.

Edited by Navidad
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8 hours ago, ALarson said:

haven't decided yet if I'm going to watch this

Well I suggest you watch it alone lest you should want a witness to you shouting profanities at your screen. 

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8 hours ago, Navidad said:

My experience and beliefs center around this: What is being discussed here happens in all churches. It matters not if the church or denomination is Methodist, Catholic, LDS, Baptist, Jewish, or Islamic, etc. What differentiates "the church" (of whatever denomination) from other organizations in this situation is the greater desire and need for "the faithful" to protect the institution than the victim. I have seen this over and over again. The organization must be protected; so therefore the perpetrator is protected, the crime is minimized (not reported), or the hierarchy leaps at the chance to accommodate the repentance of the guilty. That not only protects the organization, it protects and validates the doctrine of repentance and forgiveness. The victim is isolated and suffers while the organization, and all too often the perpetrator are kept safe. This is terribly sad and happens when the organization, the structure, the hierarchy is valued way out of proportion to the people, the human beings who are entrusted to its care. Even the parents of the victim, when faithful members may cooperate in this. Religious organizations of all kinds (schools, colleges, churches, etc.) are especially susceptible to this loyalty and need to protect. Just my 02 cents.

My *opinion* from my experience is that from a religious lens we see man as redeemable.  That is after all the mission of the church, to bring all men unto Christ.  Our focus is on the sinner.  

In these cases, yes, the victim can feel pretty disregarded and forgotten.  Even blamed. Not always , obviously.  

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11 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Well I suggest you watch it alone lest you should want a witness to you shouting profanities at your screen. 

Yes, I've talked to a few who have watched it.  They say it's infuriating the trust these parents have in this guy with their daughter.....and also how the church leaders handled the abuse.

I am now reading that he was never excommunicated but only disfellowshipped (even after spending a year in prison for raping another child) and that he did go on to serve in the temple and in a Bishopric.  

I do think it's good to shine a light on how trusting many church members (of all churches) used to be regarding other church members and leaders.  I've heard stories from some of the boys (now men) who were abused by Catholic priests who say their parents felt it was an honor their priest wanted to spend time alone with them and even drove them over to their homes.  Thankfully, most parents would not do that today.

Edited by ALarson

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9 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Yes, I've talked to a few who have watched it.  They say it's infuriating the trust these parents have in this guy with their daughter.....and also how the church leaders handled the abuse.

I am now reading that he was never excommunicated but only disfellowshipped (even after spending a year in prison for raping another child) and that he did go on to serve in the temple and in a Bishopric.  

I do think it's good to shine a light on how trusting many church members (of all churches) used to be regarding other church members and leaders.  I've heard stories from some of the boys (now men) who were abused by Catholic priests who say their parents felt it was an honor their priest wanted to spend time alone with them and even drove them over to their homes.  Thankfully, most parents would not do that today.

It appears that back in the day people didn't take sexual child abuse all that seriously, sadly.

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On 2/13/2019 at 8:36 AM, ALarson said:

Yes, I've talked to a few who have watched it.  They say it's infuriating the trust these parents have in this guy with their daughter.....and also how the church leaders handled the abuse.

I am now reading that he was never excommunicated but only disfellowshipped (even after spending a year in prison for raping another child) and that he did go on to serve in the temple and in a Bishopric.  

I do think it's good to shine a light on how trusting many church members (of all churches) used to be regarding other church members and leaders.  I've heard stories from some of the boys (now men) who were abused by Catholic priests who say their parents felt it was an honor their priest wanted to spend time alone with them and even drove them over to their homes.  Thankfully, most parents would not do that today.

I watched this and I literally felt dirty and violated after seeing it.  I can not understand what I saw.  It made me contemplate on many fronts.

1.  Are church members really as dumb, vulnerable, and ready to sin as the Brobergs seemed to be?  I have found myself being hard on myself all my life because I might have an irreverent sense of humor, watch movies that are a little edgy, and play guitar in a rock band (complete with long hair and an earring, in my 20s).  Yet, the older I get, the more I feel like I must be doing pretty well compared to so many stories I hear of prominent members behaving badly.  Now I find myself looking around at church meetings wondering which members have skeletons in the closets and/or current behavior that would be shocking.

2.  Just knowing that Berchtold could have ever been let in the temple again - especially without an excommunication, especially while others I know have been exed or disfellowshipped for MUCH less, makes me doubt the entire process of church discipline.

Like I said - I have felt gross since watching the documentary for over a week now.  YUK

 

Edited to add - the story about the director of the temple movies has me feeling the same way

Edited by Maestrophil
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1 hour ago, Maestrophil said:

2.  Just knowing that Berchtold could have ever been let in the temple again - especially without an excommunication, especially while others I know have been exed or disfellowshipped for MUCH less, makes me doubt the entire process of church discipline.

Church discipline is a tough topic. Repentence vs accountability vs protecting future victims vs forgiveness vs manipulation vs upholding the good name of the church vs Bishop roulette vs ministering to the perpetrator vs disciplining the perpetrator vs expert liars vs repentant sinners vs believing victims...I could go on. It is a hot mess.

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5 hours ago, Maestrophil said:

Are church members really as dumb, vulnerable, and ready to sin as the Brobergs seemed to be

If they were, this would not be seen as the extreme oddity that it is.

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On 2/10/2019 at 11:04 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Unlike the Southern Baptist Convention, the LDS Church has a central HQ and is very concerned with this problem. The Brethren don't like paying out millions of dollars in judgments for not doing due diligence.  That's tithing  money.

However, Judaism has no central HQ and cannot be dictated to.  Therefore, the Jews have established Jewish Community Watch to keep track of Jewish predators:   http://www.jewishcommunitywatch.org/ .

I don't know if you intended to make the inference that Southern Baptists don't care or are not concerned with this problem. I believe they are, but to some extent how much an organization cares is manifest in their actions, and to this extent you probably have a point about Southern Baptists. Many of their larger churches have had a tendency in recent decades of having "youth ministers" and as one may imagine this is an area ripe for sexual predators. I believe Southern Baptists have utilized at least some common sense in requiring background checks for youth ministers, although I don't know if this is a uniform requirement in the convention. Nevertheless, I have heard of instances of abuse or inappropriate behavior by youth ministers. 

But I have heard of such instances in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and disturbingly, even with a centralized HQ, sometimes the accused have continued in their callings without the accusers actually getting a fair hearing from what I have heard - this is largely due to the feeling that those called are called by the Lord, and therefore the calling can't be questioned. More recently the Church has instituted a call line, which I applaud, and is certainly a recognition that members, and those in callings are imperfect, and cannot be assumed to be passed off as innocent.

Perhaps both can take some cues from the Jewish Community's approach to the issue, and the degree of openness it engenders - it certainly seems a more honest approach to the issue than most organizations are willing to provide. As pointed out by Navidad most organizations are not prone to be open about abuse matters. However, we should not tip so far as to allow mere accusations to ruin innocent lives - that can lead to societal abuse which can be almost as tragic as sexual abuse.

 

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57 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

More recently the Church has instituted a call line, which I applaud, and is certainly a recognition that members, and those in callings are imperfect, and cannot be assumed to be passed off as innocent.

Since it was instituted in 95, we are talking more than twenty years, so I think "more recently" is a bit understated.

With the Church now putting up an abuse page that includes making it clear getting professional help is wise, I see it as possible a community watch program that is not also an activist group in purpose could be set up and seen as a positive resource for all involved.

https://www.lds.org/get-help/abuse/should-i-get-professional-help?lang=eng

However, a Wall of Shame might cause parents and children to report less out of fear of damaging the family or a close one's family in a way that can't be healed over time, especially if a father.  Big chance of losing a job and not being able to support the family, which means other parent has to work more during a time they need to be there with their family more...and since abuse tends to go up with unemployment, counterproductive in that way.

If there were limits on who was put up....maybe had to be confirmed as a valid charge by police, given permission by family if there were no nonfamily abuse victims, victims' wishes high priority.  Families of predators could so easily become targets of hate mail, death threats, etc.

Quote

During a case review, a director presents a summary of the case history and background, the investigation, its discoveries, and his own conclusions. The Committee is provided with copies of the case files and any evidence exhibits. The names of victims and any identifying information are redacted to protect their privacy, and the name of the alleged abuser is redacted to avoid any potential for bias. Additionally, if necessary victims are made available to the Committee for interviews. A unanimous recommendation of the seven-member investigative committee is required in order to place an individual on the Wall of Shame. If the recommendation is not unanimous, the investigation is closed unless and until new evidence comes to light.

If an individual has been arrested, charged or convicted with sexual abuse, the existing public record of their charges (including the case’s current status and disposition) may be posted to the JCW website within the blog/news area without a case review or unanimous vote of the IC. The IC only votes on placing individuals on the Wall of Shame.

http://www.jewishcommunitywatch.org/about-us/investigative-process/

From their FAQ page:

Quote

Q: Is JCW trying to bring shame to the Frum world? 

A: No. In fact, those involved with JCW work with the intention of improving the Frum world. As an organization, we feel that every community has its issues and as members of the community we are responsible to protect those that are the most vulnerable. We take every precaution to not bring stories to the media or other outlets that have demonstrated an intentionally negative association with the Frum world in the past. However, there is no doubt that the benefit of publication and exposure of potential threats to the community outweighs the potential risk associated with the same measures.

Q: So whose side are you on?

A: JCW supports and identifies with members of the Jewish community, the victims, their respective families, and the public, particularly those vigilant about keeping their children safe. JCW’s commitment is, and will always be, to tell the truth. We have turned down money from those that wanted to donate, but at the same time, wanted to negatively impact the community. Similarly, JCW has turned down money from those that wanted to donate but desired to keep certain names from being exposed. JCW is built on a foundation of EMES (truth). We will always stay vigilant but neutral, with a focus on the truth and protecting our children.

Q: Isn’t this a Chillul Hashem? 

A: On the contrary, the work we do is a Kiddush Hashem because it shows the world that we have the moral fortitude to bring honesty and safety to our community. When the rest of the world sees that the Orthodox Jewish community is acknowledging its issues and taking a moral and just position against danger, standing together with those that have been hurt, this causes our community to be a light unto the other nations and brings a true Kiddush Hashem.

Moreover, to pretend a problem does not exist while people are getting hurt is dishonest, deceitful, and cannot in any way glorify Hashem’s name. We must band together as a community and protect individuals that have been harmed and those that have the potential to be harmed. We are responsible for one another. Indeed, making certain difficult choices is absolutely necessary in order to prevent future harm towards our children, and violations of the Holy Torah, Chas Vesholom.

Q: What about the families of abusers? Why is JCW destroying their lives?

A: The responsibility for the pain of the family members of the abusers falls upon the abuser. The person that abused the child is fully responsible for the repercussions that his/her family faces. Hiding behind one’s own family, innocent victims, and blaming the pain they suffer on JCW, is not much different than the Hamas tactic of hiding behind human shields and then blaming the State of Israel for the casualties. In fact, at JCW, we consider the family of the abuser to be “secondary victims” and offer support to them when they reach out to us.

Q: Do you feel bad for the abusers’ families?

A: Yes. We feel horrible for every victim of sexual abuse because, unfortunately, the families of the abusers are also victims of the abuser. They are considered secondary victims of the abuser and also suffer from the abusers actions, forced to pay a price for the actions of their family member. For more information on secondary abuse, please see our Educational Section....

Q: If I report someone will he/she automatically go onto the Wall of Shame?

A: No. JCW conducts a thorough investigation, consults with its Board of Advisors (to assist on Torah, psychological, rabbinical, legal, and other issues), and consults with outside professionals concerning possible issues that may occur, including the impact it will have on the victims and their families. After the investigation is complete and a course of action is established by the advisors, the case is presented to the Investigative Committee, who reviews the case and all attending documentations, and presents a decision on the matter. You can read more about the investigative and exposure process here.

Q: Before an offender is posted on the Wall of Shame, are the allegations of the offense confirmed as factual?

A: Yes, to the highest degree of responsible certainty. Hundreds of cases were brought to JCW’s attention for review, but only a small percentage of those cases resulted in exposure of the offender. JCW conducts extensive investigations and would never rely upon the suggestions of mere allegations or hearsay.

Q: Is it an option for the offender to pay monetary restitution to the victim or to JCW in exchange for not be exposed?

A: No, that is not an option. We have never accepted money on this condition and never will.

Q: Have you ever exposed someone wrongfully?

A: No.

Q: Is it true that someone was listed on the Wall of Shame and later removed? Wouldn’t that be a case where someone was wrongfully exposed?

A: Yes, it is true that an individual was posted on the Wall of Shame as an offender and was later removed, however, it was not a case of someone being wrongfully or mistakenly exposed.

JCW received complaints regarding the individual from community members in Crown Heights that raised red flags. Subsequently, and with no relation to any information gathered by JCW, the same individual was arrested by the NYPD, and charged with sexually abusing a child. In line with JCW’s policy of warning the community of potential danger to its children, and with Rabbinical consent, JCW exposed the person. Later, when the charges brought by the State were dismissed, JCW removed the person’s information from the site, because JCW did not have enough independent information to maintain the exposure, and it appeared from the dismissal by the State that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

Q: Why expose someone for a molestation that occurred many years before?

A: 

The recidivism rate among child molesters is extremely high. Many professionals view child molestation as an illness or addiction that an offender is continuously at risk to reoffend. Therefore, once an abuser is a risk, they will always be a risk unless they actively choose to get the help they need.

In order to deter other potential predators by sending a clear message that they will be held accountable for sexually abusing a child, regardless of when they did it.

In order to provide justice and a sense of closure to their victims, because the damage that results from abuse often lingers and festers for 10, 20, 30 years, and even longer absent the requisite therapy.

In order to encourage other victims to come forward whenever they can, and to notify authorities of the abuse.

There is no Statute of Limitations in Halacha and a perpetrator is not absolved of his sin simply by passage of time.

Q: Can someone do Teshuva (repentance) for abusing a child in order to avoid being posted on the Wall of Shame?

A: Yes, in some circumstances there are measures that can be taken. Such measures would be considered during the evaluation by JCW when deciding whether an offender should be posted on JCW.

The concept of Teshuva is very complex and is discussed by most Halachic authorities and Chassidic leaders. Teshuva does not just mean feeling bad for what you did and asking Hashem for forgiveness. Teshuva also requires a variety of factors, including making a public acknowledgement of wrongdoings, paying restitution to your victims, and taking every precaution to avoid ever repeating the offense again. If an abuser is concerned that JCW may one day find out about their crime and expose them, they should do everything in their power to rectify the damage they have done, seek therapy for themselves, and deal with their perversion.

Taking the following actions could lead to an offender not to be posted on the site, provided it was done before they are caught:

Sincerely apologizing and making the appropriate amends to the victims and their families

Distancing oneself from children (i.e. does not work with children or the like)

Committing to therapy and regular monitoring by a professional

Working to combat child sexual abuse in the community

Q: If an offender is posted on the Wall of Shame, is there a way to be removed?

A: Yes, there are cases that would be reconsidered after time, but it is not a common practice. Each case will be determined individually by our board, focusing on the nature of the crime, the manner in which the perpetrator operated and groomed the victims, the impact the abuse had on the victims, the potential threat to the community, the actions taken by the perpetrator to repent for the crime, and other relevant information.

Q: If someone was removed from the Wall of Shame does that mean it was not true?

A: No. The Wall of Shame is a dynamic site based on the current threats to the community. One purpose of it serves to warn parents and the community of potential dangers. As a result, a situation may change and cause a reevaluation of an exposed perpetrator by the Investigative Committee. If, however, a person is wrongfully posted, JCW will issue a formal and public apology detailing the mistake.

Q: Are there instances where an offender would not be exposed by JCW?

A: Yes. There have been instances where the JCW board chose not to expose individuals. Some examples include:

When there wasn’t a unanimous vote by our board

When there was insufficient evidence that the crime was committed

When exposure causes greater harm to the victim than non-exposure

When every attempt was made at ensuring that the abuse will never re-occur (This is subject to the victim’s desire for justice weighed against the need to warn the community.)

Regardless, JCW maintains that all cases should be reported to the police and/or other law enforcement. Reporting the abuse may assist the police in getting corroborating evidence or other information to aid another case.

Q: In cases where it’s impossible or very difficult to gather legitimate proof (no witnesses, minors account, etc.), does JCW publicize the molester?

A: No, when the evidence is not reliable enough to be verified responsibly, JCW would not post information about the alleged offender on the site or in any public forum.

Q: What if you post someone on the Wall of Shame and then the evidence shows that the accused is innocent?

A: The person’s information would be removed from the site and JCW would post an apology.

The procedure and regulations that JCW has in place makes it virtually impossible for this to happen. In the unlikely scenario that this does happen, JCW will report that the person was innocent and he/she will be removed from the Wall of Shame and the newsblog. If there was a JCW investigation and it was determined that false testimony was provided, JCW will expose the people who lied and their accomplices. JCW will also write a public letter of apology to the innocent person and assist the wrongfully accused in any way possible.

Q: Do you contact a molester to hear his/her side of the story?

A: In some incidents we may contact the abuser in order to give him/her a chance to explain what happened. In cases where there is evidence for arrest and conviction, we leave it for the police to decide what to do.

Q: Have you had any false cases reported to you?

A: Yes, but none of these false cases resulted in a mistaken exposure because JCW investigated the claims and tracked down the truth. In one instance, a blog was created and a person was brought to JCW’s attention. JCW investigated the case and, realizing that the blog was offering information that was untrue, JCW tracked down the blog sources and had it removed. There have also been other scenarios where a thorough investigation determined that accusations were false. No publicity was drawn to those cases by JCW. In the former case, since the public was completely unaware of this incident, our Board chose to not draw unnecessary attention to the issue and expose it publicly. The perpetrator of this falsehood was confronted and he apologized for his actions.

Q: What do you do if someone reports falsely and you find out?

A: If it is revealed to JCW that someone made false accusations in an attempt to destroy an innocent person’s life, JCW will take all corrective measures to bring justice to the matter and the specifics steps of how to proceed will be decided and voted upon by JCW’s board.

Q: Why do you have people listed that have never been arrested?

A: JCW is not bound by the rights provided to offenders by the Criminal Justice System. JCW will seek to protect children in the community even in situations where the offender somehow circumvented prosecution.

The most common example of this is in cases where the Statute of Limitation (SOL) has expired, shielding the offender from prosecution. The SOL requires a victim to come forward with accusations shortly after they become adults. While many states have changed this, some states still maintain short SOL’s (NY, for example, has a 3 year SOL for misdemeanors, 5 year SOL for felonies). Most victims are unprepared to talk about their abuse until many years after the crime was committed. Consequently, victims are denied justice for an incident that occurred while they were young.

Likewise, a victim may be dissuaded from reporting an offense because they feel that there is a stigma and shame associated with being known as a victim or because they don’t want to feel pressure from the community or from the predator’s supporters. In these cases, JCW provides an outlet for these victims while taking the opportunity to warn the community of the danger in its midst.

Q: Why do you say “alleged”?

A: Even though we go through an extremely lengthy and thorough investigative process before a predator is exposed as a danger to the community, we use the word “alleged” in order to protect ourselves from frivolous lawsuits.

Q: Does JCW require consent from the victim before posting the offender to the Wall of Shame?

A: It depends. If the person is deemed an active threat to children (e.g. he/she works with children), we will expose the abuser with or without the victim’s consent in order to keep the community safe. JCW’s primary mission is to educate and protect the public.

Q: What legal actions are taken against the molesters who are posted on your site?

A: JCW encourages all victims to report their incident to the police and make a police report of the incident. In several cases, JCW was instrumental in getting individuals arrested, charged, and convicted for the abuse they committed.

Additionally, JCW encourages all victims to seek appropriate restitution from the offender. However, in both scenarios, it is not JCW’s mission or duty to assist in the legal proceedings.

 

 

Edited by Calm

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In my experience as a prison counselor, what the Church does to protect children vastly exceeds and is light years ahead of the government and other organizations of any type. Those who victimize anyone, and especially children, need to be punished to the full extent of the law the first time their criminal behavior is discovered. The problematic responses of our judicial system send signals to the guilty party that hand slaps are in order and we are winking at their crime. These types of criminals learn quickly how to keep their actions virtually undiscoverable, by hard-timing them the first time they learn that society is not going to put up with the behavior thus minimizing the chances of future victims rather than increasing the chances by giving them the chance.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Since it was instituted in 95, we are talking more than twenty years, so I think "more recently" is a bit understated.

With the Church now putting up an abuse page that includes making it clear getting professional help is wise, I see it as possible a community watch program that is not also an activist group in purpose could be set up and seen as a positive resource for all involved.

https://www.lds.org/get-help/abuse/should-i-get-professional-help?lang=eng

However, a Wall of Shame might cause parents and children to report less out of fear of damaging the family or a close one's family in a way that can't be healed over time, especially if a father.  Big chance of losing a job and not being able to support the family, which means other parent has to work more during a time they need to be there with their family more...and since abuse tends to go up with unemployment, counterproductive in that way.

If there were limits on who was put up....maybe had to be confirmed as a valid charge by police, given permission by family if there were no nonfamily abuse victims, victims' wishes high priority.  Families of predators could so easily become targets of hate mail, death threats, etc.

http://www.jewishcommunitywatch.org/about-us/investigative-process/

From their FAQ page:

I am pleased with the Church for seemingly better acknowledging this issue over the last 20 years, but in terms of history, I am speaking of that as "more recently." How lives of people I know would be different had the Church had a similar approach say 40 years ago, I cannot say. Nevertheless, as others have alluded the Church is doing a decent or a good job in this area imho - better than it used to. Certainly better than say the Southern Baptist Convention. 

I also share your concerns that innocent people don't become victims in this process, which is why I said "However, we should not tip so far as to allow mere accusations to ruin innocent lives - that can lead to societal abuse which can be almost as tragic as sexual abuse." As your quote from the Jewish Community Watch page I think shows, they seem to have an almost callous regard for the lives of the families of abusers saying they must bear the shame or some shame along with the abuser. Striking the right balance is perhaps trickier than I am going to be able to address on this forum, but I just want to address the complications of the issue. Again, I think the Church is doing a good job here, and should continue to try to lead the community in helping victims of abuse.

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42 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

As your quote from the Jewish Community Watch page I think shows, they seem to have an almost callous regard for the lives of the families of abusers saying they must bear the shame or some shame along with the abuser

I think you misread them.  They stated the opposite in my interpretation, though there is recognition that they are forced by the actions of the abuser to pay a price.

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