I used to wring my hands over the fact that most of our children are not involved with a church. No more. Now, I feel much relieved as they can practice their faith and guide my grandchildren in far safer environments. And this comes from a girl who grew up in church, delighting in Bible drills. I loved church and my Dad was a deacon. However, my research for WS has led me to believe that pedophiles seek out positions in our churches in order to gain access to children. We do see pastors and clergy arrested but there seems to be an inordinately high number of youth ministers charged.
If you stop and think, the advent of youth ministers was in the 70s and 80s, IMO. That was also the decade of the mega-churches and fellowships, vibrant youth groups and youth retreats. These have become the norm. In some ways it's great as it breathed life into an often dry experience for kids. However, I think that certain vile people saw this as an opportunity to offend. That's a horrid affront to the wonderful and kind men and women who pastor appropriately.
Statesboro [GA] youth pastor charged with child molestation
"The youth pastor at a Statesboro church has been arrested on enticing a child and child molestation charges. Douglas Randall Pope, 31, of Statesboro, was charges with three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes and one count of child molestation. The Criminal Investigations Bureau of the Statesboro Police Department got a complaint May 20 that a 14-year-old girl was being molested by a 31-year-old man. The complainant told investigators that man was the youth pastor of Merrywood Baptist Church in Statesboro..."
"....The victim said inappropriate behavior and touching happened over the past two years and also involved other girls. More interviews were conducted with other girls and more complaints were received...."
more at link (plus mug shot)
LOTS of access to children and teens.
"....Pope is also listed as the drummer and back-up vocalist for Nearly There, a "praise band" promoted on the church website. According to the site, Pope has "served in ministry" for twelve years and started working at Merrywood in March of 2009. The site states that Pope mainly worked with youth and young adults. Pope is also currently enrolled in classes at Andersonville Theological Seminary...."
"...Pope also worked in leadership roles in various associations, according to the Merrywood Baptist website. Pope was an Associational Youth Minister for the Tattnall-Evans Baptist Association for two years. Pope also served as a volunteer firefighter for six years...."
more at link
Youth Minister, praise band. Wounded child.
i noticed the church website took him down off their "staff" section. the page for Nearly There is still up, though.
I'm assuming that the musical groups played at numerous churches and that children and teens would have been in attendance. IME, often kids attend without their parents. I hope families are thinking back to where this group appeared.