‘End the Silence': Texas House Advances Bill for Churches, Charities to Report Sexual Predators

AUSTIN -- The House on Tuesday tentatively approved a bill that would encourage churches and nonprofits to report suspicions of sexual misconduct to prospective employers of current employees and volunteers.McKinney GOP Rep. Scott Sanford, who is on staff at a Southern Baptist church in Allen, said he hopes his bill will lead to more sharing of information about sexual predators.The bill is a response to February news reports in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News disclosing that in the last two decades, 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers faced allegations of sexual misconduct involving more than 700 victims.Some of the leaders and other perpetrators were able to find jobs at churches despite convictions or pending charges, the Hearst Newspapers reported."Sexual abuse thrives in secrecy," said Sanford, executive pastor over stewardship and operations at Cottonwood Creek Church. "This bill shines a light so victims can come forward and charitable organizations can end the silence that allows predators to move between organizations."While state law requires various categories of caregivers, educators and professionals to report suspected child abuse to Child Protective Services, there is no legal obligation for a church, ministry group or other nonprofit to pass on information about possible sexual abuse or harassment involving an adult.  Continue reading...

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