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Home » CHFWeb Forum » TitusTwo » What would you do?
What would you do? [message #815716] Mon, 01 February 2016 11:19 Go to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
The other day my sister and I were at church chatting for a while after the service ended. Our 2 year-olds were roaming around the pews within eye sight when a man that has been attending for about 6 month (many people at church have known him much longer - since he was a kid) came in the auditorium . We'll call him "R". My sister immediately called the kids over and gave me a look. I was confused and asked what the problem was. She explained that, a few days before (on Jan 16th) there had been a post on R's FB page that said something to the effect of, "I love drinking and, yes, I did date an 11 year-old. If you ever don't see me, it is probably because I'm getting drunk." However, within a few hours the had been taken down and a friend of his who also goes to our church posted on R's page that, "To those who are friends with R....he has ask me to post the following..my phone was stolen and anything posted after Jan 10 is not of my doing."

He has publicly admitted that he is an alcoholic and fell off the wagon recently. So, I do know that this much is true. It is the rest I'm struggling with.

Here is my thought process:

1) What it if is true? Why would someone steal his phone and post that? Was it a) a stranger who just wanted to be cruel and there is no basis (but a pretty good guess about the alcohol), b) someone who knew him and wanted to ruin his life for some other reason, or c) someone who knew him and that he actually did this and wanted to warn others? And why would he not, sometime in those 6 days, change his FB password if he knew his phone had been stolen?

2) What do I do about it? Matt 18 springs to mind, but confronting him seems to be pointless. A pedophile is not going to respond well to that. Plus, I have no proof and I would hate to ruin an innocent man's life. But, at the same time, I feel like protecting kids in our church has to be a priority. R often talks to kids and jokes with them. What I used to see as a nice man joking around with kids, has now been sullied and I watch with wariness.

I generally ignore rumors because they aren't my business and I refuse to engage with slander. Most of the time, I have no clue something has even happened (another church member actually went to jail and I didn't know for months until she was released and I saw on FB that her family had a "welcome home" party). I really do hate gossip!

But, when it comes to sexual abuse, I think we need to protect kids. I have a 10 year-old daughter who R has talked to several times. In this case, there is so much more at stake on both sides. If he is innocent, his life could be ruined. If he is guilty, children could be in danger.

What should I do? Approach the pastor based on a rumor that has been denied? Something else? Please, help!

Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: What would you do? [message #815719 is a reply to message #815716 ] Mon, 01 February 2016 14:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Messages: 4138
Registered: April 2005
Senior Member
Stacy, there are stranger things - recently a man stood up in a city council meeting and admitted to molesting children in our city during the 80s and 90s. He wasn't drunk, and the admission I don't think was intentional...he was just on a roll talk-wise about HRO. I've also heard of angry exes or soon to be exes doing some dastardly bridge burning via taking over the other's social media accounts. Certainly, this could be a phone "stolen" that is atypical of what we would normally think of stolen property. It could explain insider information about his drinking and a lack of urgency on his part of finding the phone (perhaps figuring it was misplaced in the home and out of power).

I suppose, I would want to know if your sister saw this first hand or if she herself is receiving this information via gossip. I would wonder that because things get out of hand/exaggerated/misspoken.

I agree with Matthew 18, frankly. That should have been taken by the people in the congregation who actually saw the post and was concerned. Though, you are correct that most are not going to fess to a crime, but that doesn't mean this step is skipped. Your church/staff should already have things in place for security/safety of the children. You could speak to that to your pastor, I would think. I'm interested in what my husband has to say, and will ask him when we see him next.

Re: What would you do? [message #815721 is a reply to message #815716 ] Mon, 01 February 2016 15:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Based strictly on the information you have at this time, and specifically answering your question, "What would you do?" here are my thoughts.

I would be a bit more vigilant with my kids at church. I would speak to my older kids in general, just a reminder that, "We don't run off alone at church, stay in groups, etc." Whatever our normal safety rules might be (a 10yo speaking to an alleged child-molester in the public sanctuary of a church with many adults present doesn't concern me nearly as much as a 10yo speaking with any adult alone in a SS room).

I would go to the pastor and ask if he's heard the rumors or knows of any reason to be concerned. I would explain exactly what you've said...you don't want to ruin any man's life (and with a dear friend who just went through a year long horrific experience ending in a public trial in which he was rightfully exonerated, I'm very much in agreement with proceeding with caution!), but that you also don't want to just ignore what might be a warning flag and leave children unprotected.

Years ago, our young girls were chatting and horsing around a bit with a young man in our church. The pastor came to us and very quietly said, "You will want to keep a close eye on your girls. He is accused of child molestation, and is awaiting trial. We are not making any public statements until the verdict is in, but in the meantime, forewarned is forearmed."

That man went on to be convicted. I still find it hard to believe, and knowing how the justice system can work, I wonder if he was railroaded...but I do not regret keeping my girls close, just in case.

Lisa R.
Re: What would you do? [message #815722 is a reply to message #815716 ] Mon, 01 February 2016 15:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jen E.  is currently offline Jen E.
Messages: 4522
Registered: April 2005
Location: Northeast
Senior Member
I would submit this information to my pastor/elder, and then do what we should all be doing anyway... closely watching our dc. Church should be a hospital for sinners, and I just assume that there are those there (now or sooner/later) battling these kinds of sins.

When our boys were young, we befriended a local priest through a common community activity, and we invited him to our home (more than once) and onto our land. (He helped us tap our maple trees.) He was one of the priests sent back to Rome during the recent dark days of the Catholic church... but I am totally comfortable about what happened in our home, because he was NEVER alone with our dc. The adults we trusted with our dc made a VERY short list... we just could not get lazy in this area. Supervise, supervise, supervise. Be a joyful, peaceful presence near them. It's sometimes exhausting, but you won't regret it.

[Updated on: Mon, 01 February 2016 16:01]

Re: What would you do? [message #815736 is a reply to message #815716 ] Wed, 03 February 2016 00:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
Messages: 9593
Registered: April 2005
Location: Small Town New Hampshire
Senior Member
Did you check his name here?


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: What would you do? [message #815754 is a reply to message #815716 ] Thu, 04 February 2016 11:33 Go to previous message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
Sherry, yes I immediately checked the registry. He is not there.

I talked to someone in leadership about this. They were aware of the post and said they have been keeping an eye on him just in case. It seems as if there is also some further steps being taken that I don't know the details of, but I feel confident that this the person I talked to shares my concerns and does not take them lightly.

Thank you, ladies, for the advice. I've never dealt with something like this and you ladies helped me a lot. Thanks!

Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
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