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    December 1999


    U.S.: Latter-day Saints Struggle with Question of How to Handle Sex Offenders. By Peggy Fletcher. All churches face challenges in improving their response to child sexual abuse, from a reluctance to discuss sexual issues to an aversion to screening their own members before allowing them to work with children. But the 10-million member LDS Church has a certain vulnerability to child molesters with its all-volunteer lay clergy, optimism about human nature and trusting environment. [The Salt Lake Tribune]

    U.S.: Iowa Appeals Court Orders Divorce Despite Religious Objections. The Iowa Court of Appeals has rejected a Polk County woman's argument that forcing her to divorce her pedophile husband in order to keep her children violated her religious freedom. [The Associated Press]

    U.S.: Bill Bans Clergy-Parishioner Sex. By Nedra Pickler. Sexual relationships would be illegal between mental health providers and their patients and clergy and their parishioners under legislation that passed a state House committee in November with bipartisan support. [The Associated Press]


    Ireland: Paedophile's Death Sparks Church Row. A parish priest who complained about a newspaper attack on Father Brendan Smyth, a paedophile who died in prison, has been interrupted during Mass by an angry parishioner. [The Tablet]

    September 1999

    Church of England Issues Report on Pastoral Care of Sex Offenders

      U.K.: Report Tells Churches How to Cope with Sex Offenders. By Helen Saxbee. Congregations should be prepared to welcome convicted child-sex offenders into their midst, says a new church report. But forgiveness does not mean condoning the offence. [Church Times]
      U.K.: Anglicans Told to Welcome Paedophiles. By Victoria Combe. Parish churches have a duty to welcome sex offenders, including paedophiles, into their congregations, says a Church of England report issued in July. [The Electronic Telegraph]
      U.K.: Church of England Welcomes Sex Offenders. The Church of England has described Christian congregations as a place where sex offenders can "mix with a welcoming community", and said they can play a key role in their rehabilitation. [BBC]

    Australia: Bishops Move to Counter Sex Abuse. The Catholic Church in Australia has issued a charter covering the behavior of its clergy and members of religious orders in the wake of revelations of sexual scandals and abuse spanning almost 50 years. [The Age]

    U.K.: Anglican Bishop Draws Line at Pedophilia. Pederastic and pedophilic behavior are "tragically impossible," the Most Rev. Richard Holloway, head of the Scottish Episcopal Church, announced in an interview published in the July 10 Scotsman. He added that adult attraction to minors "undoubtedly remains one of the mysteries of human sexuality." [Philia]

    U.S.: Christian Couple Becomes Center of Community Controversy Over Treatment of Sex Offenders. By Allen G. Breed. It's a story of a neighborhood losing its innocence, of a couple testing their faith, of an ex-con seeking a second chance. But it doesn't have a storybook ending. [The Associated Press

    U.S.: Child Molester's Plea of Guilty Provides Relief to Church Community. By Jason Spencer. Saying he wanted to spare his victims the trauma of an emotional trial, a former church youth volunteer pleaded guilty in September to molesting eight teen-age boys and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. [Austin American-Statesman]

    June 1999


    U.S.: Catholic Bishop Urges Faith Communities to Look at the "Root Causes" of Clergy Sexual Abuse. Faith communities that are facing the crisis of clergy sexual abuse need to move beyond "the medical triage model" and "look more deeply into its root causes," the Most Rev. John F. Kinney told participants at the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute Second Annual Conference. [Philia]

    Vatican: Pope Rejects Move to Link Child Abuse with Celibacy. By Paddy Agnew. While calling for prayers for both the victims and perpetrators of child abuse, the Pope insisted that the priestly vocation was a mystery of divine choice. [The Irish Times


    U.K.: Anger as Canon Takes in Paedophile. By Maurice Weaver. Canon Roger Williams, 60, took in Canon Terence Knight, a former member of the Church of England's General Synod, when he was released from jail. But villagers found out and their protests prompted Canon Knight to move. [The Electronic Telegraph

    U.K.: Cathedral Bars Paedophile. By Paul Wilkinson. Church of England leaders have taken the unprecedented step of barring from services a man convicted of sexual assaults on choirboys. Pastoral support has been offered to the man. [The Times

    U.S.: Leaders Respond to, Prevent Clergy Sexual Abuse in Lutheran Denomination. It may be one of the toughest jobs in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America listening very carefully to accusations of clergy sexual abuse, providing information about procedures to respond, providing pastoral care for all involved and taking action. [ELCA News

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    © 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
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