On the front page of the Times-Dispatch this yesterday, were new allegations against a local pastor related to sexual abuse of two young girls. The story relates how the pastor was a “trusted spiritual leader” of the family. While guilt must still be proven, there are scars that will linger for years for families in Texas and church members in Virginia. I am afraid there are no happy endings to this type of story.
As our church searches for a Minister to Children and Youth, we must guard against the possibility of these types of issues. During the last update of our Personnel Handbook, the Personnel Committee has tightened requirements for items that must be in the personnel file, including pre-employment screening. Before hiring our new ministers, we will have done the following:
- Reviewed resume and application
- Conducted a local and national criminal background check
- Conducted face-to-face interview with the candidate
- Phone interviews with references
In addition, RRCB has an existing policy that covers all volunteers and paid workers who work with children and youth. These policies include the following provisions:
- Requirement that all classrooms have unobstructed windows to the hallway
- Requirement that all care and teaching sessions with minors have two unrelated adults present, when possible
We take these child protection guidelines seriously, and work diligently to be sure that the volunteers and workers with youth and children are properly selected.