Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sex Crimes Rise Reflecting In Some Churches

Statutory Rape: An Immoral Reality in the Church 
Charisma News
by Jennifer LeClaire 

The church world is getting rocked by yet another sex scandal. But this time it’s not a high-profile leader who has fallen into adultery or homosexuality.

No, this time it’s an “average Joe” churchgoer who is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. And he’s not the only one.

I’ve been reporting for the past few days on rape allegations at Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Okla. A then-employee, Chris Denman, allegedly raped a girl in the stairwell during church summer camp. He was charged with several felonies, including first-degree rape, forcible sodomy, lewd molestation and use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime.

The 13-year-old girl’s mother just filed a lawsuit accusing four adult leaders at Victory Christian Center of intimidating the child victim so as to conceal her rape from the public and parent. Two of the adult leaders allegedly told the child victim the assault was her fault.

As horrific as this news is, it’s hardly an isolated incident. The parents of a 14-year-old rape victim last week filed suit against Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Taylor, Texas. That suit alleges the pastor and other church members opened the door for statutory rape. The music minister at the church was convicted in April for aggravated sexual assault of the girl during a sleepover with other church girls at his home.

Statutory Rape Reports in Church

I’m not here to weigh in on whether or not Victory Christian Center employees tried to cover up the rape or if the family is just so distraught (and rightly so) that it is lashing out at the church. I’m not here to lay blame or point fingers at anyone (except maybe the sick-minded wolf in sheep’s clothing who would use a position of authority in the church to rape a child).

I am here to point out an immoral trend of statutory rape in the church. I’m here to sound the alarm in hopes that someone will wake up and pray with me. I’m here to expose the spirit of sexual immorality’s work to attack our children.

The two incidents I just mentioned aren’t the only two recent church rape cases. In July, a Memphis minister was brought up on charges of aggravated statutory rape and sexual exploitation of a minor. He was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl, while another 15-year-old girl took pictures of the act on her cellphone. Although it didn’t happen in the church, one of the church’s preachers was the culprit. Also in July, a Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church in Whitwell, Tenn., was arrested for statutory rape.

The list goes on and on—and these are merely the cases that made headlines. How many other cases didn’t make the news? How many other cases were never reported to the police? According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 54 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. About two-thirds of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and 44 percent of rape victims are under age 18. Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and some of them are youth in the church.

Why are there so many instances of statutory rape in churches? What is going on? Rape has been a harsh reality since Old Testament times, but I believe the rise of rape merely mirrors the rise of sexual immorality in our culture.

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