Pastor: Turn the light on sexual abuse by Bob Allen, managing editor of the Associated Baptist Press:
A Texas Baptist congregation heard straight talk from its pastor in a recent sermon about how to respond to sexual abuse.
“There are so many people living in desperation and isolation, looking at the church being silent, and hearing that silence as even coming from God himself,” he said. “It’s time that they at least have an acknowledgment that what has happened to them has been soul-altering and life-changing.”Morgan gave similar advice to any in the congregation guilty of abuse – find a professional and report it – as frightening as it may be. “I don’t know what will happen to me. I could go to prison. Anything could happen,” he said, anticipating their thoughts. “That’s true, but you lost control of your life when you decided to abuse, and you will never get control of it back.”To bystanders, Morgan said, “To know something is going on like sexual abuse and to do nothing is to become an accomplice to the crime.”Morgan said family members who know about, or suspect, abuse are tempted to “leave it alone” because of ramifications for their family. But if they do they “will be remembered for what you did not do” when the accusations eventually come to light.“If you are the one to turn it on, there is at least hope for healing of you,” he said. “There is hope for the victim. Otherwise, there is only going to be darkness.”
Update on John Langworthy's criminal trial in Mississippi- new date is November 26, 2012:
We are grateful to law enforcement authorities who pursued the claims against Langworthy, resulting in a grand jury indictment. However, now is not the time to become complacent. The process of trial postponement can be a difficult time for victims. No court procedure is guaranteed a given outcome, so it is critical, now more than ever, that anyone with information about Langworthy’s child sex crimes come forward and report what they know to law enforcement.
The public message from Morrison Heights Baptist Church has been one of support for Langworthy, as from the pulpit last year, Langworthy was allowed to confess his actions and receive a public show of support. Since his arrest and indictment, no plea of support for the victims has been made by this church. We would hope they would consider publicly reaching out to the victims to offer support and encouragement for anyone else who may have been harmed to report the abuse to the police. We would gladly offer a representative of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, to come in person and assist them in this outreach.
We hope other victims who may be suffering in silence will come forward, call police, tell their story, get help and start healing. Given the nature of the charges in both Clinton and Jackson, as well as his confessed actions in Texas when he was on staff as the youth music minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church, we are sure that there are others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes, and we urge them to come forward as well. Silence is a predator’s best weapon, and we are grateful to those who have already broken their silence to ensure that justice is served. But Langworthy has pleaded not guilty, and is a long way from jail, and if history and research has taught us anything about child predators, it is that kids are still at risk, because predators do not stop. They actually become more skilled over time in grooming kids to become victims and keeping them silent.
The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids.