Alaskans, Clergy, and Mandated Reporting 3 of 3

 Law or no law, there are men and women of the cloth who understand that there are, as Sissela Bok puts it, “reasons sufficient to override the force of all these premises, as when secrecy would allow violence to be done to innocent persons” (qtd. in Fortune). I expect that all clergy members sincerely strive for what is best for everyone involved. When child abuse or neglect occurs it must be stopped; a stern talking to by a priest is not sufficient and may be seen as cheap grace. The pastor should have a “clear purpose: to protect the one who has been victimized and to hold the offender accountable” (Fortune).

            Alaska’s lack of legislation regarding this topic could be seen as placing confidence in Alaskan clergy. By giving them less law, and more room to deal with abusive situations, they can accomplish in private what the court system rarely accomplishes publicly – protecting the child and restoring the abuser. It is critical to note, however, that offenders minimize and deny their actions. Treatment is most effective when monitored by the courts, and most clergymen, educated in scripture, simply do not have the resources to deal with these issues alone.

Finally, it should be observed that it is rare for an abuser to come forward and confess to a minister. Most often reports of abuse to clergymen come from the child or a family member seeking help, and in this case the minister is not bound by confidence. Alaska law should no longer remain quiet on this issue; we must bolster our clergy by giving them a mandated legal avenue to pursue justice, healing, and safety.


About Roger

Roger lives in North Pole, Alaska, where he has served as Youth Pastor for 8 years. Married to his partner in life Kimberly, Roger enjoys being a family man and has two amusing children, the toddler Hollister Dean, and the baby Sterling Grace.
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One Response to Alaskans, Clergy, and Mandated Reporting 3 of 3

  1. I fully agree with this.

    There are many, many kind, loving and sincere clergy who have dedicated themselves to serving God through serving the people of their community. I am and my husband are just two of them. Sadly, there are many others who do not take this seriously. I have multiple friends who have been hurt by those they trusted and their attempts to reach out to clergy were dismissed, pushed under the rug or minimized. In one case, the victim was publicly accused of trying to spread rumors against the perpetrator. This can’t continue. I can’t imagine Jesus pushing aside a wounded soul in an attempt to save face, time or keep his hands clean. At least, not the Jesus I serve.

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