Re: Grace Episcopal Adds Panic Buttons in Preparation for Active Shooter
Date: August 13, 2019 11:34PM
Addressing the issue of the parish pedophile is something that needs to be handled by clergy, the vestry, and the diocese. I have personally raised my concerns directly with the diocese but to my knowledge no appropriate action has been taken.
So, if you are a parent, you need to be responsible for your child’s wellbeing. That means, if you choose to bring her or him to the church or school, you should not leave your child alone at any time. Even
You should also ask tough questions. For example, the diocese suggests that unused portions of the building be locked when not in use. Not only does the parish ignore this, but virtually all parishioners have 24/7 access to the building. Why is this? Are you comfortable with the answers? Are two unrelated adults with children at all times?
Apropos the school, if you are considering enrolling your child, you have many more tough questions to ask, as you are entrusting your child to other adults. I would ask staff if they know who this individual is, and if so, what steps they have taken to ensure safety. There should be a lot of transparency, and were I in your shoes, I would want to know about the big lawsuit from a few years back. Details were swept under the rug, with paperwork retained in the parish’s secret files. This should be a red flag to parents, and if the parish refuses to provide you with answers, you need to decide how you feel about the situation.
Regardless, parents should be aware that schools and youth programs, and churches generally, may be elevated risk environments. You should be aware of the possibility of grooming, and know the warning signs. Teach your child about appropriate boundaries, how to maintain them, and that it’s okay to alert you if something makes them uncomfortable.
In the case of Grace church, I’d also point out that one of the biggest issues I ran into with the place is that of boundary violations. It’s not okay for clergy to lie to parishioners. It’s not okay to bully other people. It’s not okay to subpoena the dying. It’s not okay for Bob Malm to commit perjury.
And environments where it is seen as disloyal to speak out about these issues are, by definition, high-risk environments, especially when, as at Grace, you have a charismatic figure in the position of rector.
So, you have the information you need. Now it’s up to you to make good decisions.