Thursday, July 19, 2012

Volunteer nursery worker arrested...

...for failing to report an allegation of abuse at church in a timely manner.

It hasn't happened yet but surely will one of these days here in Georgia because our state has expanded the list of mandatory reporters. This article explains the law and says:

Volunteers at churches, colleges, clubs, summer camps or soccer fields or parents who chaperone a field trip could go to jail if they fail to report suspected abuse under the new provision approved by lawmakers last week.

Consider the recent case of a local high school principal, a position that has been a mandatory reporter of abuse for quite some time. After an underage girl told her school counselor of inappropriate behavior by a teacher, the counselor reported to the principal, who promptly called the school system HR director. It took several days of missed phone calls before the principal finally reported the alleged abuse.

The principal was subsequently arrested, charged with a misdemeanor, and retired. Her photograph, a mug shot, found its way to the local newspaper and online side-by-side with the teacher charged with felony child abuse.

If a school principal was not clear on the law consider the knowledge level of our typical church nursery, vacation Bible school, or other volunteer church worker, including the occasional chaperone for a children's day trip. Such folks may find themselves charged with a crime.

School systems have mandatory training for their employees. Hierarchical churches (check this article on the Episcopal church) do the same.

Southern Baptists?

State convention folks talk about it and hope churches and pastors pay attention. Our state paper, The Christian Index, has a brief article about the new law but it is unavailable without a subscription.

Picture one of your children's workers in 'Bad and Busted' for failing to report in a timely manner. Better yet, pastor, picture your face in 'Bad and Busted.'

Better get in gear on this one.

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